Finally, we are here! Tonight is the 2011 NBA draft and I will be bringing you the third and final version of my mock draft. There are plenty of trade rumors swirling along with teams sending out smokescreens on who they like and are now considering just hours before Commissioner Stern announces the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the clock. Let’s try to predict who these teams will select tonight, shall we?
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving – G, Duke
He’s been the No. 1 pick in all of my mocks and that won’t change. He’s the best prospect in the draft and will be the top pick, regardless if the Cavaliers have yet to inform him of that.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams – F, Arizona
He’s been two on my mocks the past month and whether it is Minnesota making this pick or somebody else, Williams will go No. 2.
3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight – G, Kentucky
The Jazz have been rumored to be decided on taking Enes Kanter at this pick, but I think that is a smokescreen to try to get a team like Washington to trade up to the 3rd spot, potentially in a 3-way deal involving Minnesota. Whether or not this happens, we won’t know until after the draft starts.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valanciunas – F/C, Lithuania
Valanciunas has reached a buyout with his European team, but will not be allowed to play in the NBA this coming season. Many thought this would make him slip down the draft, but the Cavaliers are so enamored with the big man that they will make him the No. 4 pick of this draft. Rumors are that Cleveland is looking to acquire a 3rd lottery pick to grab Tristan Thompson as well.
Pick in Previous Mock: Enes Kanter
5. Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard – F, San Diego State
Leonard will add some toughness to the Raptors lineup that plays as soft as a pillow. They could use a legit center prospect to play with Andrea Bargnani, so Bismack Biyombo is in the discussion here. Tristan Thompson, a Toronto native, could be considered as well, but I see that as a reach.
Pick in Previous Mock: Jan Vesely
6. Washington Wizards: Enes Kanter – F/C, Turkey
The Wizards’ dream comes true as Enes Kanter falls to them at No. 6. This is a guy that they want and, coincidentally, wants to be a Wizard. Will be a good building block with John Wall and Javale McGee.
Pick in Previous Mock: Kawhi Leonard
7. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker – G, Connecticut
As I am typing this, I read a tweet from Yahoo! saying that the Kings, Bobcats and Bucks have agreed on a 3-way deal. Whether Sacramento or Charlotte is drafting at No. 7, Kemba will be the pick. Walker is a winner and both teams could use a player with his intangibles.
8. Detroit Pistons: Tristan Thompson – F, Texas
The Pistons desperately need help in the front court and Thompson is a relentless rebounder, especially on the offensive end of the floor. They could decide to go with Jan Vesely here or even Marcus Morris. Either way, they’ll be taking a big man.
Pick in Previous Mock: Jonas Valanciunas
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Marcus Morris – F, Kansas
After losing Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats have a gaping hole at small forward. After landing Kemba Walker at No. 7 (total assumption), Michael Jordan goes with a safe pick and proven contributor at the major college level with Marcus Morris. This will look to be the best draft of the MJ era in Charlotte.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Klay Thompson – G, Washington State
I’ve had Alec Burks at this spot the whole time, but I think Klay has taken over the top SG spot on most teams’ boards. He’s been given the “next Reggie Miller” tag. I’d say Reggie is worth the 10th pick.
Pick in Previous Mock: Alec Burks
11. Golden State Warriors: Bismack Biyombo – F/C, Congo
The Warriors can score with any team, but can’t stop anyone from doing the same. Biyombo will be an instant impact defender in the paint.
Pick in Previous Mock: Chris Singleton
12. Utah Jazz: Jimmer Fredette – G, BYU
I’m not a Jimmer fanatic, but he has been killing it in every workout he has had. He’s the hometown kid and gives the Jazz a legit threat at shooting guard that they haven’t had in years.
Pick in Previous Mock: Klay Thompson
13. Phoenix Suns: Alec Burks – G, Colorado
Suns need some serious help on the wings to play with Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat and Burks is the best available player on top of it. If he develops a reliable jumper out to three-point range, he could be an all-star some day.
Pick in Previous Mock: Jordan Hamilton
14. Houston Rockets: Jan Vesely – F, Czech Republic
Vesely drops in my mock as I see him as the international prospect with the highest chance at being a bust. If not put into the right system, he will not flourish. Will Houston be able to get the most out of Vesely? Only time will tell.
Pick in Previous Mock: Markieff Morris
15. Indiana Pacers – Marshon Brooks – G, Providence
The biggest riser since the end of the college season continues to rise as he lands one spot out of the lottery. Brooks has the makings to be a very good (potentially great) shooting guard in the league.
Pick in Previous Mock: Jimmer Fredette
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Nikola Vucevic – C, USC
The 76ers could desperately use some bulk and size in the post and Vucevic is the biggest player in the draft. He’s got great footwork and has a decent jumper, so he should be a welcomed addition to this roster.
Pick in Previous Mock: Bismack Biyombo
17. New York Knicks: Iman Shumpert – G, Georgia Tech
The Knicks need a shooting guard and Shumpert is the best available and has been shooting up draft boards into the first round. Some lottery teams brought him in for workouts and really liked what they saw. I’m sure the NY fans would prefer Marshon Brooks, but they’ll have to settle for Shumpert. He’s a defensive animal and if the Knicks want to win, they need to get stops on the defensive side of the floor.
Pick in Previous Mock: Marshon Brooks
18. Washington Wizards: Chris Singleton – F, Florida State
Singleton falls down this far, but the Wizards will gladly take the defense stud to pair up with Enes Kanter. This would be a great value pick for Washington.
Pick in Previous Mock: Tobias Harris
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Markieff Morris – F, Kansas
This pick will most likely be sent to the Milwaukee Bucks in a 3-way deal. Morris will give the Bucks an upgrade over Drew Gooden and will help them find their way back into the playoffs next season.
Pick in Previous Mock: Kenneth Faried
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Donatas Motiejunas – F, Lithuania
Motiejunas was considered a lottery pick last year and is seemingly a forgotten man this year. He could very well be the steal of the draft this late and Minnesota would not have to rush him along with their roster as currently constructed.
21. Portland Trailblazers: Kenneth Faried – F, Morehead State
The worst kept secret of this draft is that the Blazers love Kenneth Faried. He’s the best rebounder and would be an asset off of anyone’s bench. He makes any team better. This pick could possibly be dealt to Orlando with Andre Miller for Jameer Nelson.
Pick in Previous Mock: Darius Morris
22. Denver Nuggets: Tobias Harris – F, Tennessee
Nuggets like Harris, his versatility and his basketball IQ. He can play both the three and the four, which are two positions that Denver could use help at.
Pick in Previous Mock: Nikola Vucevic
23. Houston Rockets: Jordan Hamilton – G/F, Texas
Hamilton has the size and athleticism, but his questionable shot selection may scare some teams off. If he doesn’t get up the amount of shots that he was used to at Texas, can he be an efficient and effective scorer? Worth the risk down here.
Pick in Previous Mock: Nikola Mirotic
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nikola Mirotic – F, Montenegro
The Thunder have been linked to Kyle Singler and Reggie Jackson lately, but I still think that Sam Presti will go international and stash this pick overseas for a year or two.
Pick in Previous Mock: Lucas Nogueira
25. Boston Celtics: Jeremy Tyler – F/C, USA
Many have the Celtics linked to Jimmy Butler, but I’m hoping that the pick is Tyler. He’s young (19 years old) and a very athletic big man. He’s got good foot work but very questionable hands. Being mentored by Kevin Garnett would be great for this kid’s career.
26. Dallas Mavericks: Tyler Honeycutt – G/F, UCLA
Deshawn Stevenson is arguably the worst starter in the entire league. Honeycutt would be an instant upgrade at the position. He is a very good shooter and uses his great length to his advantage on defense.
27. New Jersey Nets: Reggie Jackson – G, Boston College
An injury has kept Reggie Jackson from fully participating in pre-draft camps and workouts, but the Bulls could use some depth at both the point guard and shooting guard positions. Jackson is freakishly long and is a dangerous scorer. He can be a disruptive force and could possibly play off the ball with Deron Williams.
Pick in Previous Mock: Josh Selby
28. Chicago Bulls: Josh Selby – G, Kansas
The Bulls could use some scoring in their back court and Selby could be that guy. His stock has been up and down like a roller coaster and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him end up outside of the first round.
Pick in Previous Mock: Reggie Jackson
29. San Antonio Spurs: Davis Bertans – F, Latvia
I’ll be honest. I don’t know much about Bertans and know that the Spurs love to draft international players and stash them. Looks like a good fit this late in the draft.
Pick in Previous Mock: JaJuan Johnson
30. Chicago Bulls: Darius Morris – G, Michigan
Selby is more of a scorer, so adding Morris would give the Bulls a legit point guard propect to allow Derrick Rose to play some off guard instead of dominating the ball at all times.
Pick in Previous Mock: Trey Thompkins