2011 NBA Mock Draft 4.0

Wednesday June 22nd, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft 4.0
The clock is ticking and the phones are ringing as draft day nears, and there is a strong possibility that fireworks of some sort could start flying any minute. Minnesota is far and away the most widely known firestarter, as the Timberwolves are looking to land a serious talent for their No. 2 pick and continue to exhaust all options. It doesn't even come close to stopping there, though, which makes it even tougher than usual to project how Thursday will unfold. Here's our best, and latest, attempt at investigating the likelihoods and possibilities.
Kyrie Irving
Well, at least we had something to talk about up top here. After nearly a week of chatter that the Cavs might not take the Duke point guard after all, rival executives are back to believing he's the pick. Irving will solidify the spot and be a very solid piece of the Cavs' core that must continue to be reshaped. VIDEO
Derrick Williams
Every time I'm asked if there's one player in this draft with All-Star potential, a Williams highlight reel from his March Madness run starts playing in my head. Unless the Timberwolves find the impact, veteran player they're hoping to acquire by trading this pick, it's continuing to sound as if the high-flying big man with a dangerous inside-out game will be the pick -- Michael Beasley be darned. VIDEO
Enes Kanter
The Jazz remain somewhat of a mystery, with sources saying it has come down to Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight or the Wildcats teammate he never played with in Kanter. But I'm told that general manager Kevin O' Connor sees Kanter as the third-best player in the draft (behind Irving and Williams) and is seriously considering going big here despite the fact that he badly wants a replacement for veteran point guard Devin Harris. VIDEO
Tristan Thompson
I'm admittedly shocked to be dropping this early bombshell, but a source said there are strong indications this could be the pick as long as Kanter is off the board by No. 4. The Cavs need a player who can contribute now, and I think Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas gets passed up here because he doesn't fit those parameters. Huge upside and all, his buyout with his Lietuvos Rytas team (which was first reported by DraftExpress.com) prohibits him from playing in the NBA next season, and that is a problem for Cleveland. If the Cavs don't opt for Thompson, I'm told it will be a surprise if he gets out of the top 10. VIDEO
Brandon Knight
This would qualify as quite a coup for the Raptors, who already had eyes for Connecticut's Kemba Walker but would likely nab Knight here instead. There have been rumblings that president and GM Bryan Colangelo is enamored of Congolese forward Bismack Biyombo and was thinking of taking him as high as No. 5, but that's not happening if Knight is here. VIDEO
Jan Vesely
KK Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
The Wizards have been eager to add the 21-year-old Czech for quite some time now, and they get their shot here. Vesely's athleticism, speed and offensive versatility would fit in nicely with the group headed by point guard John Wall. That said, sources told me the Wizards are offering the No. 6 and No. 18 picks for a chance to get into the top three and grab Kanter.
Kawhi Leonard
San Diego State
This is a somewhat reluctant pick, as there is reason to believe the Kings have moved away from the idea of taking Leonard and might opt for the likes of Walker or BYU's Jimmer Fredette. But in the absence of clarity on those fronts I'm opting for Leonard, whose defensive mindset and adequate offense are appealing to the Kings at small forward. If they don't take him, it will be because of his average athleticism and an outside game that might not be reliable enough for their taste. What's more, going with a guard will be a sign that the small forward void they want to fill will be done so by way of a veteran in free agency. VIDEO
Bismack Biyombo
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)
All those Ben Wallace comparisons will be put to the test, as Biyombo would be paired with the man himself in Motor City. Let's just hope he remembers to emulate the young Ben Wallace.

Valanciunas is a possibility, too, but new ownership could put the kibosh on drafting a player who can't produce right away (even if that might turn out to be flawed logic because a potential lockout could erase the season that Valanciunas would be missing as it is). Kansas power forward Markieff Morris played his way into contention for this spot during a Tuesday workout that also included Biyombo, but I'm not sold that he gets the nod.
Kemba Walker
Walker is in play even with D.J. Augustin already filling the role of diminutive point guard. The Bobcats' board could change Wednesday, though, as they are hosting a workout that, according to the Charlotte Observer, will give them a good look at Biyombo and second looks at Kansas forward Marcus Morris (Markieff's twin brother) and Florida State small forward Chris Singleton. Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton and Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson are also taking part.

All of this is assuming the Bobcats keep this pick. They are said to be "fielding a ton of calls" and considering a number of creative options with the No. 9 and No. 19 picks. VIDEO
Klay Thompson
Washington State
The Bucks might see Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks as the better prospect, but every talent evaluator I've spoken with prefers the sharpshooting Thompson over the slashing Burks. Or perhaps the Bucks go big: Coach Scott Skiles is believed to be a big fan of Marcus Morris. Valanciunas will entice them as well if he slides this far. VIDEO
Jonas Valanciunas
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
Dreams do come true after all -- as long as ownership signs off on them. The Warriors didn't think they could find an impactful center in this draft, but they will get it in Valanciunas if he slides. They love his game and upside, but the contract situation means patience must be employed during a time when the pressure to turn things around quickly is substantial. Klay Thompson is a top option if Valanciunas is gone, and my Bucks and Warriors picks might very well wind up being swapped in the end. The Warriors are considering adding a strong defender, too, so Biyombo and Singleton are possibilities.
Jimmer Fredette
The Jazz might move back in the draft, but there will be immense pressure to take Fredette here if it shakes out this way. They lost the face of their franchise in coach Jerry Sloan and then shipped Deron Williams to New Jersey not long after, and Fredette would provide a jolt to the fan base. Singleton could get the nod as well. VIDEO
Markieff Morris
A source said the Suns would like to move forward Channing Frye back to a reserve role at some point, and the rugged Morris could eventually help to that end while adding some muscle to the front line. Klay Thompson, Fredette and Georgia Tech point guard Iman Shumpert are also believed to be receiving consideration.
Nikola Vucevic
The Rockets are desperate for a true center now, what with the chronically injured Yao Ming and 6-foot-6 center Chuck Hayes facing free agency, Brad Miller recovering from microfracture surgery and Hasheem Thabeet continuing his role as an incredibly tall question mark. Vucevic measured out as the biggest prospect at the predraft combine in Chicago and has impressed in workouts. Lithuanian power forward Donatas Motiejunas is a candidate, too. VIDEO
Alec Burks
The Pacers are looking for a potent player to replace Brandon Rush for the long term, and Burks could very well be that player. He declined to work out in Indiana, according to the Indianapolis Star, conceivably because his camp doesn't expect him to drop this far. But that shouldn't keep Indiana from snatching him up if he is available.

Providence point guard Marshon Brooks has no shortage of fans at Conseco Fieldhouse after his impressive workout there on June 7. Marcus Morris, Klay Thompson and Fredette are also being considered. VIDEO
Jordan Hamilton
For weeks, the Sixers told rival teams that they were going big with their pick. But now comes word that Hamilton is a strong possibility, a change that could be taken as a sign that Philadelphia officials are confident they can find a worthy taker for small forward Andre Iguodala sometime soon. Otherwise, Markieff Morris and Motiejunas would be seen as the most likely big men to be taken here. VIDEO
Chris Singleton
Florida State
The Knicks have attempted to move up to nab players like Fredette and Klay Thompson who fit the mold of coach Mike D'Antoni, but they also realize the need to shore up their woeful defense. Few, if any, do that as well in this draft class as Singleton. Motiejunas is also an option. A source said he worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday and played well. VIDEO
Donatas Motiejunas
Benetton Treviso (Italy)
The Wizards are badly in need of offensive help, and Motiejunas is one of the more skilled scorers in this draft. Singleton and Tennessee small forward Tobias Harris are possibilities, too.
Marcus Morris
The Bobcats will likely look to go big with at least one of their two picks, and Morris would be a quality addition to fit their needs. They were one of the league's worst rebounding teams last season, and Morris can do that and much more. He is expected to be a solid pro for a long time. He slides only because of the unexpected Tristan Thompson pick at No. 4, which made Walker available in the No. 9 slot previously reserved for Marcus. Luckily for the Bobcats, he was still here for the taking 10 spots later.
Marshon Brooks
The Timberwolves need help at shooting guard, and nabbing Brooks here would be a huge get in light of the way he has played of late. His workouts have been as impressive as any prospect's, adding to a résumé that already included his standing as the nation's second-leading scorer last season (24.6 points per game).

Shumpert, UCLA point guard Malcolm Lee and Michigan point guard Darius Morris are all being considered. UCLA small forward Tyler Honeycutt could be a possibility as well. VIDEO
Kenneth Faried
Morehead State
The Blazers are believed to be very eager to land Faried. He'll do in Portland what he does everywhere else: rebound with the same ferocity and creativity that helped him average 14.5 per game last season. VIDEO
Tobias Harris
This is one of the few picks that didn't change from the last mock draft. Harris works for the Nuggets for all the same reasons as before: versatility, coachability and the fact that coach George Karl would make the most of an 18-year-old who seems willing to fit whatever role necessary. Faried is also an option if he's still available. VIDEO
Darius Morris
The Rockets don't necessarily have a need at the point with Kyle Lowry signed long term, but the playmaking Morris is believed to be on their radar. He would be worth the relatively minimal investment. VIDEO
Reggie Jackson
Boston College
No one in the draft has made teams do more detective work than Jackson, who underwent a minor knee procedure on May 17 under a cloud of darkness that sparked his disappearing act. He pulled out of Chicago predraft camp and a group workout immediately after in Minnesota, but was expected to start team workouts midway through this month.

That hasn't happened, and ESPN.com reported that Jackson's camp won't share medical records with teams. What's more, executives have been hearing word that he has a promise somewhere late in the first round or perhaps with Miami at No. 31, but they have struggled to pin down exactly where. The Thunder are one such person's best guess.

All that said, there is some buzz that Duke forward Kyle Singler has a promise somewhere in the late first round and it could very well be coming from Oklahoma City.
Jeremy Tyler
Tokyo Apache (Japan)
You can't teach size, as they say, and Tyler fits that bill. He has measured well, comported himself well and is believed to be a project that the Celtics are hoping to take on. Tyler, to review, skipped his final year at San Diego High School and had a disastrous experience playing in Israel before doing moderately better in a subpar league in Japan. He was billed as a lottery-type talent not too long ago.
Justin Harper
Harper's inside-out game is among the best of the bigs in this draft, and sources continue to say he is prominent in the Mavs' thinking. His shooting prowess would fit right in on the championship roster that's chock full of sharpshooters. Power forward Nikola Mirotic (Real Madrid, Spain) is also a possibility, but he isn't expected to play in the NBA anytime soon. VIDEO
Malcolm Lee
The combo guard might slip into the second round, but the Nets are looking for the sort of athleticism Lee can provide and they spoke highly of him after his workout in New Jersey in early June. Duke point guard Nolan Smith still makes sense, but there is so much parity among the guards down here that it's worth exploring another option. VIDEO
Davis Bertans
Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia)
The 18-year-old from Latvia could be a low-risk, high-reward pick for the Bulls, who are more than deep enough already that they can let Bertans continue to develop with his Euroleague team for a year or two before reaping the benefits later.
Nikola Mirotic
Real Madrid (Spain)
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 Spurs 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. Georgia power forward Trey Thompkins is expected to be considered here as well.
Shelvin Mack
The Bulls might not wind up with this pick or their No. 28. Sources said they are offering both to a number of teams with the hopes of moving up. If they do stay here, though, Mack is said to be on their radar as an underrated player who could evolve into a backup for Derrick Rose. VIDEO

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