2011 NBA Mock Draft 2.0

Wednesday May 25th, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft 2.0
Parity is a pain when it comes to projecting, and that's certainly the case in SI.com's Mock Draft 2.0. The lack of any players who are perceived as truly special means that the teams are as unclear on what they want as ever before. It will be fluid until the end, but the post-Chicago predraft camp chatter is at the heart of this viewpoint.
Kyrie Irving
The fact that he might have love handles shouldn't detract from the love shown by the Cavaliers. Irving vowed to trim down after his body fat was measured at 10.2 percent at the combine. This draft is way too lean to go with another pick, although Cleveland is doing its due diligence while ensuring that Irving is fully healthy after he missed three months with a toe injury last season.
Derrick Williams
It should surprise no one that Minnesota is entertaining offers for this pick. Williams is considered by most teams (including Minnesota) to be the best player available after Irving, but it's hardly a fantastic fit. Michael Beasley has a similar skill set, and forward Kevin Love and swingman Wesley Johnson don't appear to be going anywhere. One source says the Wolves have considered moving down a spot or two to take Enes Kanter while getting additional assets in a trade.
Brandon Knight
That the talent in this class is so balanced means teams are more likely to make selections based on need instead of "best available player." That appears to be the case with Utah, which has Devin Harris on the books for two more seasons after trading Deron Williams to New Jersey in February but is looking to upgrade at the point guard position. Knight fills that need and would have time to grow into the role before the baton is officially passed.
Enes Kanter
There is some question as to whether the Cavs would opt for Kanter or Jonas Valanciunas at this spot, but I'm told they have the Turkish big man higher on their board at the moment. He only helped himself in Chicago in terms of showing off his size, motor and level of fitness, but the workouts that will soon begin will weigh heavily on where he ultimately lands. Teams have seen Kanter play live just once (last year's Nike Hoops Summit), as he was ineligible for all of last season at Kentucky.
Jonas Valanciunas
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
Valanciunas would complement Andrea Bargnani well in the frontcourt and join DeMar DeRozan as a new, young face of the franchise, although a buyout of his current contract is required to get this deal done. The looming departure of pending free-agent forward Reggie Evans makes the idea of adding Valanciunas even more appealing.
Jan Vesely
KK Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
Kanter has talked of being interested in teaming with Wizards point guard and fellow Kentucky product John Wall in the nation's capital, but it's an honor that I still see going to Vesely. It's likely to be Valanciunas' honor over Vesely if he slides to this spot, though. If it's Vesely, 21, his up-tempo style and offensive repertoire will fit nicely with Wall.
Kawhi Leonard
San Diego State
The Kings are wide open on their pick. Leonard is one of the few prospects whose potential impact isn't so hard to gauge, at least as it pertains to the defensive end and how his skill set will come into play. The question of fit is a bit tricky, because Sacramento has a glut of small forwards in Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi and Donte' Greene. Casspi has expressed a desire to play elsewhere, so maybe he leaves town and Leonard slides right in. Guard Kemba Walker is another possibility, but the Kings plan to re-sign Marcus Thornton while Beno Udrih (two years remaining on his contract, the final one a player option) remains in the mix with Tyreke Evans.
Kemba Walker
Rodney Stuckey is hardly a pure point guard himself, and the fact that he recently changed agents for the fifth time just six weeks before he becomes a restricted free agent is curious. Yet whether Stuckey stays or goes, Walker could add the sort of scoring, charisma and competitive drive that Pistons fans would appreciate. Congolese big man Bismack Biyombo remains a great fit here, too.
Bismack Biyombo
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)
The Bobcats need big men badly, especially if center Kwame Brown leaves as a free agent this summer. Biyombo fits that bill and should be able to keep up with coach Paul Silas' up-tempo style.
Alec Burks
The Bucks are desperate for offense after a season in which they finished last in scoring and field-goal percentage. Burks, who is working to prove that he can shoot consistently from three-point range, led the Big 12 in scoring last season with 20.5 points.
Marcus Morris
Add Jerry West to the chorus of Warriors executives who are touting the team's need for impact players in the post. The Lakers' legend joined Golden State's ownership team this week, and it didn't take long before he was discussing the deficiencies down low. Big man Ekpe Udoh, last year's lottery pick, and veteran David Lee were in the room at a San Francisco hotel when West said it, too, but even they would have to admit they need help.
Jimmer Fredette
This entry comes somewhat reluctantly, but a source who has spoken to the Jazz insists that they are seriously thinking about taking the BYU product this high. The departures of coach Jerry Sloan and Williams mean the business folks want a new addition about whom the fans can get excited. The basketball part would be challenging for new coach Tyrone Corbin, as the pressure to play Fredette even if he didn't always want to would be significant. Lithuanian big man Donatas Motiejunas is also a possibility with the second of Utah's two lottery picks.
Markieff Morris
The Suns are looking for a power forward, even if it could be decades before they find the next Amar'e Stoudemire. This Morris twin would assist on defense and stretch the floor as needed.
Chris Singleton
Florida State
Singleton is the sort of versatile defender who would help address Houston's weaknesses at that end, where the Rockets ranked 19th in defensive efficiency and 22nd in points allowed and opponents' shooting.
Tristan Thompson
The athletic big man known for his offensive rebounding and ability to finish around the rim could fill in the frontcourt gaps for the Pacers. Boston College point guard Reggie Jackson is a possibility here as well.
Donatas Motiejunas
Benetton Treviso (Italy)
Motiejunas might not be the prototypical big man the Sixers are looking for, but he's a good value this deep. There are questions about the 20-year-old's drive and lack of progress that appear to be pushing him in the wrong direction on the draft board.
Klay Thompson
Washington State
Coach Mike D'Antoni would love to add another shooter, and Thompson may be the best one in the whole lot. Tristan Thompson, Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton, Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried and Singleton are also candidates if Klay Thompson is gone and they are not. Ditto for guards Josh Selby of Kansas and BC's Jackson.
Jordan Hamilton
The Wizards would be just fine if Hamilton fell this far, and their offense could use the sort of scoring juice he can provide. Washington ranked 21st in scoring, 25th in field-goal percentage and 28th in offensive efficiency.
Kenneth Faried
Morehead State
The Bobcats were among the league's worst rebounding teams, and no one in this draft class pounds the glass better than Faried. He blocks shots, too, and his performance at the predraft camp seems to have marginally improved his stock.
Tyler Honeycutt
The Wolves could wind up trading this pick, but they also wouldn't mind adding the player who has drawn comparisons to Tayshaun Prince. And if Honeycutt's self-scouting turns out to be accurate, he should be even better. Honeycutt told me in Chicago that he's "very similar" to Prince defensively but also said, "Offensively, I still think I can handle the ball a little better [than Prince], shoot the ball better [and am] a little more athletic."
Nikola Vucevic
True centers are at a premium in this crop, and Vucevic gained serious notice in Chicago when he measured at 6-11¾ in shoes and 260 pounds. His skill level and motor impressed, and he is now considered by most to be a first-round pick. It's a good get for the Blazers considering how the Greg Oden era has gone.
Marshon Brooks
He was on the short list of prospects who helped themselves in Chicago, and the likely departure of gunner J.R. Smith this summer means he could be needed to bring some scoring punch off George Karl's bench.
Tobias Harris
He's no Shane Battier, but he is a solid player who can play both forward positions and score in a variety of ways. His shooting form is considered suspect and unorthodox by some, but the combination of his youth (he's just 18) and upside is intriguing here.
Kyle Singler
He's an experienced, tough and accomplished player. That combination could serve the Thunder bench well as Oklahoma City continues on this path to perennial playoff contention. We said it last time around and it remains true.
Nikola Mirotic
Real Madrid (Spain)
The Celtics need to add talented young pieces sooner rather than later, but there is serious upside in nabbing Mirotic this late in the first round. Mirotic might still pull out of the draft and isn't expected to actually enter the league for a couple of years, but he could become part of Boston's core in the next generation.
Josh Selby
Jason Kidd is playing incredible basketball no matter his age, but he will retire at some point in the near future and leave an enormous opening at point guard. Selby might not be the one to fill the void, but he could be good. BC's Jackson is another player to watch.
Nolan Smith
The Duke product could provide the kind of toughness, energy and poise that coach Avery Johnson covets. He impressed in Chicago and is believed to have earned a spot in the first round for now. The move makes sense whether Deron Williams returns for more than one season or not (he can become a free agent after next season).
Reggie Jackson
Boston College
He pulled out of the combine and the Minnesota group workout that followed, leaving executives to wonder what he knows that they don't. But on talent and body of work, Jackson's size and shooting could come in handy behind Derrick Rose.
Jeremy Tyler
Tokyo Apache (Japan)
We have a mystery big man at the top (Kanter) and another here near the bottom, and both players still have a lot to prove. Tyler, 19, once fancied himself as a high lottery pick, but his humbling time playing in Israel and Japan after leaving San Diego High School early now means he has catching up to do. But Tyler impressed in Chicago, with teams seeming to be comfortable with his lessons learned of late. More important, the sheer scope of his frame and athleticism moved him up the board rather quickly.
Lucas Nogueira
MMT Estudiantes (Spain)
Great chance to nab a huge 18-year-old with a ton of upside. There are questions about Nogueira's motor, but that might be a product of his environment (level of competition) more than anything else.

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