2011 NBA Mock Draft 3.0

Tuesday June 14th, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft 3.0
With just nine days left before the draft, the chatter about who's going where and how it might all unfold is growing louder by the minute. Mock 2.0 was heavy on impressions gleaned from the mid-May Chicago predraft camp, but Mock 3.0 is all about the individual team workouts and the part they are now playing. League executives are still returning from Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, as well, with that event even more significant than before because of the increased international influence in this draft. Most of the actual decision makers still don't know which way they'll go, but there is plenty to be learned from the endless discussions and debates that are being had.
Kyrie Irving
There was some thought given to unseating the incumbent, because sources say the Cavaliers have not made their ultimate decision and the likes of Arizona's Derrick Williams and Turkish center Enes Kanter are still in the running. But Irving is just the kind of point guard Cleveland needs to spark its post-LeBron start. The fact that the agent for Ramon Sessions told the Akron Beacon Journal last week that "something has to give" if Irving is selected and Cleveland has three point guards (including veteran Baron Davis) shouldn't get in the way of what seems to be the most likely pick. VIDEO
Derrick Williams
Unless the Wolves can find an attractive package for their pick, it still looks like they will be adding Williams despite the obvious duplication of the Arizona star and forward Michael Beasley. That being said, sources say they have a real interest in Kanter and are intrigued with the possibility of putting him next to power forward Kevin Love on the front line. As has been written or said at least a few hundred times in recent weeks, the Wolves are considering trading this pick and their No. 20 as well. If they stay here and take Williams, trading Beasley becomes the eventual play as they are very high on second-year swingman Wesley Johnson. VIDEO
Brandon Knight
Even with the shenanigans surrounding his Jazz workout, the Kentucky point guard will be tough to pass up for a team that sources say wants a serious upgrade over Devin Harris at the position. As noted by Connecticut's Kemba Walker at a workout in Sacramento on Monday, Knight -- whose agent, Arn Tellem, has demanded one-on-none sessions only -- is not expected to take part in the Wednesday workout with the Jazz that includes Walker, BYU star Jimmer Fredette and UCLA guard Malcolm Lee. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Knight's workout won't come any earlier than Thursday. If he's sluggish or unimpressive, though, sources say it's conceivable that Utah could opt for Kanter or perhaps Czech Republic forward Jan Vesely. As we'll describe later, that could determine Fredette's fate in Utah as well. VIDEO
Enes Kanter
The dominoes will be officially falling by this point, and we'll see if I have them heading in the right direction. I've been told the Cavs will likely take Kanter if Knight indeed goes to Utah (as opposed to Kanter), but sources say Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas is also in the mix. Making matters even more complicated, one source says Vesely is getting a significant amount of support. VIDEO
Kemba Walker
With president and general manager Bryan Colangelo having received a contract extension recently, the word is that he might want to distance himself from the Euro-heavy reputation and go for an All-America like Walker. Point guard Jose Calderon has two pricey years left (combined $20.3 million), but Walker could fit in right away as a potent bench addition to play alongside DeMar DeRozan. Valanciunas, who held this spot in Mock 2.0, is still in play here along with Vesely. If Knight falls, Colangelo will take a hard look at him, too. VIDEO
Jonas Valanciunas
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
Here's the disclaimer that doesn't get mentioned nearly enough: The executives themselves won't solidify their short-list opinions until the final week, if not days, before the draft. As a result, it's a toss-up whether the Wizards would opt for Vesely or Valanciunas. I'm opting for Valanciunas simply because I was told weeks ago that he was above Vesely on the Wizards' board. Sources say Washington is also very high on San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard
San Diego State
If all goes according to my 3.0 plan, the Kings will have a chance to draft the player in whom they've shown a lot of interest. According to sources, they don't perceive Donte' Greene or Omri Casspi as the long-term solution at small forward and see Leonard as the sort of versatile talent that could eventually be just that. But here's the tricky part: They've gone to great lengths to scout Vesely, just as they have Leonard, and would have a touch choice in this scenario. Walker is another possibility, as is Fredette or Colorado guard Alec Burks. But the Kings plan to re-sign pending restricted free-agent guard Marcus Thornton and the backcourt minutes are already at a premium with Beno Udrih (two years remaining on his contract) in the mix. The Fredette possibility is tough to buy because it seems so high for him, but the Kings have marketing needs that he could fill and their basketball people think highly of his game. VIDEO
Bismack Biyombo
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)
Pistons officials are said to be fond of the Congolese big man, whom they see as the next Ben Wallace, and that should be enough to inspire them to pass up on the enticing chance to choose Vesely. The love affair with Biyombo runs deep, though Detroit is also believed to be considering Lithuanian forward-center Donatas Motiejunas and Texas power forward Tristan Thompson. Biyombo worked out for teams at the Eurocamp that concluded on Monday and was reportedly unimpressive. Nonetheless, the offense-heavy session was irrelevant for anyone who was already intrigued by the raw skill, length and athleticism that have been turning heads for some time.
Marcus Morris
The Bobcats will have a new voice in this process after hiring former Portland general manager Rich Cho for the same position Monday. He will join Rod Higgins, who was promoted from GM to president and owner Michael Jordan in Charlotte's glass offices. The new-look brass is said to be looking hard at the more offensive-minded of the Morris twins after his strong workout there last week. Thompson is a possibility here, too, along with Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton after he "shot the lights out" in his Charlotte workout, according to a source.
Jan Vesely
KK Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
The slide stops here. The Bucks are looking for some offensive punch and they can find it with Vesely. Burks held this spot in Mock 2.0 and would be a quality pick that many around the league still foresee. Biyombo and Thompson are also believed to be options.
Alec Burks
Once again, I offer a reminder that lottery teams have many needs and thus the educated guessing game can be a bit tricky. But in the new Warriors era that includes the likes of consultant Jerry West, future GM Bob Myers and new coach Mark Jackson, it's clear that size in the backcourt is going to be a priority (along with the frontcourt desires I mentioned in 2.0 that led to the Marcus Morris pick). At 6-6, Burks is a sizable slasher/scorer who is looking to improve his versatility as a part-time point guard. Washington State's Klay Thompson is a major attraction here, too, although the 6-7 swingman is an outside threat as opposed to the penetrating sort. VIDEO
Tristan Thompson
Sources say the Jazz won't be adding two guards to their roster, meaning Fredette is likely out here if they opt for Knight at No. 3. In Thompson, they would have a younger, cheaper frontcourt option (a la second-year forward Derrick Favors) for the times when forwards Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap aren't taking up a combined $22 million of their payroll. Both players come off the books in 2013. Knight has drawn some physical comparisons to departed Utah point guard Deron Williams, and he would have to be the fan attraction instead of Fredette if it shakes out this way. Sources say Utah also likes Biyombo and Motiejunas.
Jimmer Fredette
Every so often, there's a pick that forces a team to re-evaluate its priorities because of the opportunity that presents itself. Such is the case here as a squad looking to improve its defense has a chance to add yet another sharpshooter. The Suns still might go big with the pick, according to sources, choosing either a Morris twin (I still have Markieff available here) or Tristan Thompson. VIDEO
Markieff Morris
The Rockets are looking to upgrade their defensive approach and scheme as part of this new regime under coach Kevin McHale (hence the ongoing courting of defensive specialist Chuck Person as an assistant who, if hired, would run Mike Brown's defensive system). But former coach Rick Adelman would likely argue that most of the personnel given to him in recent years was as offensive-minded as he tends to be. Morris would change that trend, as he is -- in addition to being a capable scorer -- a strong rebounder with the sort of athleticism that helps on both ends of the floor. Florida State small forward/defensive specialist Chris Singleton remains high on Houston's list, as does Hamilton and USC center Nikola Vucevic. And in the interest of full disclosure, inserting Morris here is a calculated move based on one interesting slice of information: A source says the Morris twins have been avoiding working out for New York at No. 17 and thereby sending a strong signal that they fully expect to be taken earlier.
Marshon Brooks
Behold the latest evidence that workouts truly matter in the eyes of NBA talent evaluators: Brooks is on the rise. One source says he was "ridiculous" in his Indiana workout on June 7 -- in a good way, of course -- scoring in a variety of ways that the Pacers could have used in their first-round playoff loss to Chicago. Boston College point guard Reggie Jackson is a possibility as well.
Nikola Vucevic
The Sixers are eyeing a big man, and there's strong reason to believe they hold Vucevic in high regard after his recent rise. And, no, the Philadelphia Inquirer report indicating that the Sixers will be issuing a qualifying offer to fifth-year center Spencer Hawes doesn't change that. Vucevic is taking advantage of the fact that centers are in short supply in this draft. He measured 6-foot-11¾ in shoes and weighed 260 pounds at the Chicago combine last month. Motiejunas is being considered as well.
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, Hamilton, Singleton, and Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried are also possibilities if Klay is gone and they are not. Ditto for guards Josh Selby of Kansas and BC's Jackson. A dark horse is Motiejunas, who has some internal support but has raised red flags with the apparent lack of progression in his game.
Jordan Hamilton
Jordan HamiltonThe Wizards would be just fine if Hamilton fell this far. Their offense could use the sort of scoring juice he can supply. Washington ranked 21st in scoring, 25th in field-goal percentage and 28th in offensive efficiency last season. Singleton and Tennessee small forward Tobias Harris are also believed to be on the Wizards' short list.
Kenneth Faried
Morehead State
I'm perplexed on this one. The Bobcats are expected to take the Utah route and opt for a scorer with one first-round pick and a bruiser with the other. And in light of the hypothetical selection of Marcus Morris at No. 9, I'm doubling up on frontcourt talent. But much like the Fredette pick with the Suns, the Bobcats might be forced to change their itinerary in this scenario simply because of the jolt of energy Faried could provide. To wit: Charlotte was among the NBA's worst rebounding teams last season, 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. Singleton would be enticing as a lockdown defender as well.
Donatas Motiejunas
Benetton Treviso (Italy)
The Wolves wouldn't mind trading this pick either, and they are believed to have Hamilton high on their list if they hold on to it. But a front office consisting of GM David Kahn and assistant GM Tony Ronzone wouldn't likely be able to pass on the versatile big man from Lithuania if he fell this far. UCLA swingman Tyler Honeycutt and Singleton would be tempting, too.
Chris Singleton
Florida State
Even without the widely respected Cho in charge anymore, the Blazers' decision makers are more than capable of knowing a steal when they see one. Singleton would make a team that is already tough to score on even tougher, with Singleton getting a chance to learn from veteran Gerald Wallace on the wing. I can offer a new name to watch here as well: A source says the Blazers have eyes for swingman Bojan Bogdanovic of Croatia and could gamble on the impressive shooter in this spot. VIDEO
Tobias Harris
Mr. Versatility could find a nice home in Denver, where coach George Karl would surely make the most of his varied talents. While it appears that the 18-year-old's lack of a "wow factor" has hurt his stock a bit, I say Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri & Co. bring him aboard. Faried is also a target.
Darius Morris
No, he's not related to the Morris twins. But the Michigan product is the kind of big point guard the Rockets are lacking in 6-foot starter Kyle Lowry. He's even bigger than backup Goran Dragic (6-3), which doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that a source says Houston is enamored with Darius Morris' on-court and off-court presence. Vucevic is also a target who would help with the much-needed depth at center, not only because of Yao Ming's looming free agency and career-threatening health issues but also because of Brad Miller's recently revealed microfracture surgery.
Kyle Singler
I'm sticking with Singler here for all the same reasons as before: He's an experienced, tough and accomplished player who could serve the Thunder bench well as Oklahoma City continues on this path to perennial playoff contention. Honeycutt is an option, too.
Reggie Jackson
Boston College
Apparently the Celtics aren't concerned about Jackson's minor knee surgery in mid-May, as a source insists he won't get past Boston. He would need some grooming, but the lengthy, two-way player could eventually be a dynamic option behind Rajon Rondo.
Justin Harper
I had Kansas' Selby here in Mock 2.0, but was reminded by an executive that the Mavs still love 23-year-old guard Rodrigue Beaubois and thus wouldn't be eager to add another young player who might want his minutes. Harper's inside-out game is among the best of the bigs in this draft, and I'm told he is prominent on the Mavs' radar. His shooting prowess would fit right in on the championship roster that's chock full of sharpshooters.
Nolan Smith
The Duke product could provide the kind of toughness, energy and poise that coach Avery Johnson covets. The move makes sense whether Deron Williams returns for more than one season or not (he can become a free agent after next season), although I do wonder whether Selby enters the picture here. He wouldn't come with the sparkling reputation of Smith, but his athleticism and upside are appealing.
Shelvin Mack
Don't be surprised if Mack sneaks into the first round. Derrick Rose simply can't be counted on to be the one-man show next season like he was in the last, and finding a mature and proven backup would be beneficial.
Jeremy Tyler
Tokyo Apache (Japan)
Tyler 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 he impressed in Chicago, with teams seeming to be comfortable with his lessons learned of late. It seems as if his stock has gone a bit stagnant, but I'm giving him this spot for the second straight time. Singler is an option if available.
Nikola Mirotic
Real Madrid (Spain)
I had 18-year-old Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira in this position the last time. But according to ESPN.com's Chad Ford, he withdrew from the draft on Monday. Mirotic, as reported by Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress.com, kept his name in and might very well be here for the taking. The 20-year-old from Serbia isn't expected to play in the NBA anytime soon because of his contract with Real Madrid, but the Bulls are deep enough that they can make an investment like this on a player who, according to some talent evaluators around the league, has All-Star talent.

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