Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NBA Mock Draft

And here we are again! The playoffs are over (as are sports that I can care about until late August), and it’s time for one of my favorite times of the year: draft week! I love the NHL, but I’ve spent more time on the NBA this year and feel a little better versed, so here’s my first round mock draft, for your reading pleasure:

1.       Cleveland:          Kyrie Irving, Duke — As much as they want you to think they might take Williams one, Irving gives the Cavs a star to build around. He’s polished and skilled: exactly what Cleveland could use.

2.       Minnesota:        Derrick Williams, Arizona — If Minnesota actually draft here, I will eat my hat. Whoever drafts here will take Williams, a monster college player who is most useful as a stretch four for a team, not at the small forward like he wants teams to see him as.

3.       Utah:     Brandon Knight, Kentucky — With DWill traded to NJ, Utah needs a star to replace him at the point. Knight could be that player, although more of a scorer than Williams. He can also play some 2-guard with his outstanding shooting.

4.       Cleveland:          Enes Kanter, Kentucky —The best big in the draft, despite the fact he sat out the year from being rule permanently ineligible. Gives Cleveland another asset to build around.

5.       Toronto:              Jan Vesely, Czech Republic —Athletic and a huge 6’11’’ for a SF, Vasely gives Toronto an improvement longterm over anyone on the roster currently.

6.       Washington:      Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State —The Wizards have offensive firepower in last year’s top pick John Wall. Leonard gives them a versatile defender to continue building with.

7.       Sacramento:      Kemba Walker, UConn —Character, leadership, clutch performance are words to describe Kemba Walker, and all things that Sacramento could use with guys like Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins recently drafted.

8.       Detroit:                Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania — A great, polished big that can complement Greg Monroe well. Good building block for the Pistons.

9.       Charlotte:           Jordan Hamilton, Texas —A great shooter on the wing, Hamilton can step in and be a weapon.

10.   Milwaukee:       Klay Thompson, Washington State — Milwaukee need scoring on the wing, and Thompson brings that to the table.

11.   Golden State:    Bismack Biyombo, Congo —The Warriors need defense badly, and Biyombo can provide that. Questions abound on what he can do offensively, however.

12.   Utah:     Chris Singleton, Florida State — A very athletic 3 who can guard multiple positions. A replacement for soon-to-be free agent Andrei Kirilenko. A big man could also be an option here.

13.   Phoenix:              Marcus Morris, Kansas —Morris brings toughness to a mostly soft frontline.

14.   Houston:             Tristan Thompson, Texas — Houston needs size in the paint, and Thompson bring some to the table, albeit not a center.

15.   Indiana:               Alec Burks, Colorado— They need an improvement at shooting guard. They didn’t bring him in for a workout, but can’t pass on the talent at this point. They pray he can learn to shoot.

16.   Philadelphia:     Markieff Morris, Kansas —Brings size and some skill to the Sixers.

17.   New York:           Jimmer Fredette, BYU — There’s lots of talk that he’s going to go much higher. Personally, I just don’t see it as a smart move. He won’t fall past the Knicks.

18.   Washington:      Marshaun Brooks, Providence —Another shooter to play with John Wall? Sounds good to me!

19.   Charlotte:           Nikola Vucevic, USC —Charlotte needs size inside, and no player is flying up the draft boards like Vucevic right now.

20.   Minnesota:        Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania — If not here, where? He has a very North American game in his 7’0’’ Euro body.  

21.   Portland:             Kenneth Faried, Morehead State — The dominating rebounder goes to Portland, the exact player they’re rumored to have wanted last year before he pulled his name out.

22.   Denver:                Tobias Harris, Tennessee — A versatile player that can really give Denver someone who can do a lot at either forward position.

23.   Houston:             Jeremy Tyler, Tokyo Apache – Houston needs size inside (sorry Chuck Hayes, a 6’6’’ center isn’t cutting it) and Tyler, for all his problems, might be a good fit.

24.   Oklahoma City:                 Nikola Mirotic, Serbia— A talented foreign player will just stay overseas for a few years, to OKC’s contentment.

25.   Boston:                JaJuan Johnson, Purdue — Boston is getting up there in age and has had some issues with depth inside. Johnson’s an explosive player that can help out.

26.   Dallas:  Josh Selby, Kansas — I hate agreeing with ESPN, but I think this is a good fit. Dallas is getting older, and Selby, on a team full of vets, could really thrive.

27.   New Jersey:       Reggie Jackson, Boston College  — While I think Darius Morris is a better player, someone has given Jackson a promise to draft him, and this seems like the likeliest landing spot.

28.   Chicago:               Justin Harper, Richmond —He’s a great shooter who can stretch the floor, a welcome asset for the Bulls.

29.   San Antonio:      Davis Bertans, Latvia — If there’s a player in the draft who plays a similar game to Dirk Nowitzki, it’d be Bertans. The Spurs have a good track record with international projects, which also helps.

30.   Chicago:               Charles Jenkins, Hofstra —A dominant scorer who can play point guard in a pinch? Sounds like a great fit with D-Rose.

--Ryan Pratt

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