Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 N.B.A. Mock Draft, 2 Man Weave Style

Will someone out-embarrass Tim Thomas from this year's class?

Welcome to the 2 Man Weave's 2011 NBA Mock Draft. The draft is a place where words like "upside" and "athleticism" get passed around like Ja Rule's jewelry. A place where ill thought out panic trades get made seemingly on the hour, their effects not fully known until months later. It's a night for the NBA's next generation to don bizarre outfits, showcase their girlfriends, and embarrass themselves on national T.V. But most of all, it is the night where these young men get to live out a dream eighteen plus years in the making. The night they make it big time. The night they make it to the N.B.A.

This years group is by no means a class like '84 or '03. Hell, they may not even produce a single MVP or All-Star starter.

But there is a chance that they will. See that's the beauty of draft night. We don't know anything yet. Maybe Kyrie Irving will be the next CP3, or Klay Thompson the next Chris Mullen. Until they step on the court and prove us wrong, there is no limit to how good these players can be. So please, keep reading and get familiar the class of 2011. Somewhere in here you may find the next Dirk Nowitzki.

Or Nicholas Tskitishvili.

Looks like Kyrie knew what number he was going to be picked all along

1. Cavs- Kyrie Irving, 6’3 PG, Duke.
Despite only playing 11 games for Duke last season due to a nagging toe injury, Irving seems to be the safest bet at #1. You know what you’re getting with him- stability at the point guard position for the next 10+ years, a level-headed team leader with excellent decision making skills. Cut from the same PG cloth as Chris Paul. Kyrie will provide immediate help for a franchise in shambles.

2. T-Wolves- Derrick Williams, 6’8 F, Arizona.

Williams has the most NBA ready game of any player in this year’s draft. A natural 4, Derrick really added to his game last season by improving his 3P% to a unbelievable 57% to go along with his 19.5 ppg and 8+rpg. It’s hard to find a flaw in his game.

Don’t be surprised if the T-Wolves end up trading this pick though. They are already entering this season with Ricky Rubio as their premiere rookie and would love to add some veteran help to a team that has been in the rebuilding phase for the better half of this century. Some teams that are potential suitors to trade for this pick are the Bucks (Andrew Bogut), Warriors (Monta Ellis) and 76ers (Iguodala). It’s also no small secret that the Cavs are very interested in Williams as well, and if they decide to go with Irving at #1, look for them to potentially swing a deal involving the #4 pick + assets to move up for Derrick. It has also been said that if the T-Wolves do stay put and take Williams, that Michael Beasley and/or Anthony Randolph will be moved before the season starts.

3. Jazz- Brandon Knight, 6’3 PG, Kentucky.

Knight averaged a 17/4/4 as a freshman at Kentucky, filling the void left by John Wall (last year’s #1 pick) without skipping a beat. He is a great shooter and scholar (4.0 gpa), who just needs to work on limiting his turnovers (3.2 per game). He can start right away in Utah and should continue Utah’s tradition of excellent point guard play (Stockton, Williams).

4. Cavs- Enes Kanter, 6’11 C, Kentucky.

The Cavs are a team with a lot of needs and after scooping up their PG of the future, Kyrie Irving at #1, I think the big man from Turkey makes the most sense for them at #4. Kanter had somewhat fallen off of the radar since winning MVP of the 2009 U18 Euro League and setting a Nike Hoops summit record with 34 points in 2010 (he was ruled ineligible at Kentucky last season), but scouts like what they have seen from him in workouts this spring and think his game will translate over very well to the league. Bold prediction but I think Kanter averages a double-double his rookie season.

Kanter wore #0 at Kentucky, which is appropriate because that is the exact number of games he played for them

5. Raptors- Jonas Valanciunas, 6’11 C, Lithuania.
So far Jonas has been the wildcard of the 2011 draft. Flip flopping back and forth about whether or not to enter, despite the almost unanimous buzz that he will be a top 5 pick. He’s only 19 and is under contract for his Euro team (Lietuvos Rytas) so we may not see him for a few seasons, but his size and potential are too much for Toronto to pass on. A beast around the rim, Jonas shot a mindblowing 70.8% from the field and 88% from the stripe. We may not see the results anytime soon but in the long run I love this pick for ever-rebuilding Toronto Raptures.

6. Wizards- Jan Vesely, 6’11 F, Czech Republic.

Vesely is one of those guys who will benefit from Dirk Nowitzki’s stellar post season run, perhaps making teams a little more eager to roll the dice with a foreign prospect. But that’s not to say that Jan’s skill level isn’t deserving of such a high lottery pick. An athletic big who can run the court and shoot the 3. The only downsides with Vesely is that like Ricky Rubio in 2009, Jan is still under contract with his club team (Partizan) until 2013. Oh, and his Shaq-esq. 44% FT.

7. Kings- Kawhi Leonard, 6’7 SF, San Diego St.
Kawhi, an athletic wing from Riverside, CA, will make the perfect running mate for Tyreke Evans on this young Kings team. One knock on Leonard is his long range shooting (career 25%3P). That number will have to go up in order to be a successful wingman in the NBA. However, Kawhi still finds a way to get his buckets, averaging a double-double for his career in college. He will be an effective, do-it-all, Gerald Wallace type player at the next level.

8. Pistons- Kemba Walker, 6’1 PG, UConn.

One word comes to mind when describing Kemba- WINNER. He singlehandedly put the Huskies on his back in March, leading them to 11 straight victories en route to the Big East and NCAA championship (he won MVP of both tournaments). The only knock on Walker is his size (a generous 6’1), but he plays with enough heart to overcompensate. When I watch Kemba play, I can’t help but draw up the Allen Iverson comparisons. Great news for Pistons fans.

9. Bobcats- Alec Burks, 6’6 PG, Colorado.

Burks is listed as a PG but it’s highly likely he’ll move to the 2 once he gets to the NBA. He has the size (6’6 with a 6’10 wingspan) to cover three positions and can rebound (6.5rpg) to go along with his array of offensive moves. He averaged 20+ ppg last year for the Buffaloes and in 2009 was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Missouri.

10. Bucks- Tristan Thompson, 6’9 PF, Texas.

This 6’9 big from Ontario, Canada would make a great fit in Milwakee, a team with desperate needs inside. Thompson is young (20) and has tremendous upside. Hopefully he can provide the push needed for the Bucks to break through the cusp, and into that 8th playoff seed in the East.

11. Warriors- Klay Thompson, 6’7 SG, Washington St.

Klay (son of 1978 #1 overall pick Mychel Thompson) was a top 10 scorer in the nation last year for the Cougars, putting up over 22ppg. He has great range and at 6’7 can shot over many of the other 2g’s teams throw his way. His style of play compliments the Warriors nicely, a team that by no means shies away from the 3 ball. Not entirely sure if new head coach Marc Jackson is going to want a more up-tempo or defensive minded style of play, but regardless there will be always be room on the floor for someone who can make it rain.
12. Jazz- Jimmer Fredette, 6’2 PG, BYU.

If Fredette is still on the board at 12 there is no way Utah can afford to pass on the BYU folk hero. Jimmer led the nation in scoring with almost 29 ppg and took the Cougars to the Sweet 16. Disregarding the pressure that the fans will be putting on Utah management to make the pick, it also makes perfect sense from a basketball stand point as well. Jimmer is tough as nails and can shoot the lights out of the gym. If the Jazz can find a way to mask his poor defense, he will end up a better version of JJ Redick.
Something tells me Jimmer won't be abiding by that wacky BYU honor code once he gets to the league

13. Suns- Chris Singleton, 6’9 SF, Florida State.

No players stock has jumped higher since the college season ended than Singleton. At 6’9, coaches rave about his defensive ability. A stretch forward who can lock down 3 positions. Offensively Chris has a great motor and will be a solid replacement whenever Grant Hill decides to hang it up in Phoenix. Defense wins championships in this league and Singleton is Shane Battier 2.0.

14. Rockets- Marcus Morris, 6’8 PF, Kansas.

Morris falling to Houston at #14 would be a blessing for the Rockets, a team that has been desperately trying to beef up their front court since the loss of Yao. Marcus can score from anywhere within 18 feet and finishes with the best of them around the rim. For a team in need of help at multiple positions Marcus should be able to start from Day 1 and put up good numbers alongside Louis Scola down low (a la Chuck Landry in ’09).

15. Pacers- Marshon Brooks- 6’5 SG, Providence.

averaged the second most points per game in the country last year (24.6) while playing in the toughest conference ever assembled. A stone cold scorer that will bring immediate help from the SG position to a team that already has some good pieces to build around (Collison, Granger, Hibbert). Brooks is deceivingly long (7’2 wingspan is tops for all guards in the draft) and will make you pay if you don’t put a body on him when the shot goes up (7+rpg). Marshon will be an upgrade from the Brandon Rush/A.J. Price SG combo that we saw a lot of last year from Indiana.

16. 76ers- Bismack Biyombo, 6’9 C, Congo.

Biz Markie has been the hardest player to project this year, with some mocks having him go as high as #5, others well into the 20’s. At just 18 years old Biyombo has lots of room and time for improvement. However, his defensive skills/instincts show that the future is bright for this Euroleague import. In a few years I could see his career replicating that of former 76er enforcer Sam Dalembert.

This upcoming season watch as Bismack Biyombo competes for both a starting job, and the title of “N.B.A.’s best name” (currently held by Serge Ibaka).

Knicks- Jordan Hamilton, 6’8 SG, Texas.

Hamilton, who played high school ball at Dominguez H.S. (Tyson Chandler, Brandon Jennings) in South Central L.A. would be a great wing addition to Mike D’Antoni’s high octane Knicks offense. He averaged 19 ppg as a sophomore at Texas and is said to have range “well beyond the N.B.A. three.” Jordan also grabbed 7.7 rpg for the Longhorns and would fill New York’s void for a gunner nicely. This pick would upgrade them offensively from the Fields/Walker/Williams combo they utilized last year.

Although point guard and center are the Knicks biggest liabilities at the moment, at this stage in the draft picking players based on talent over need can yield the best results.

18. Wizards- Dontas Motiejunas, 7’ PF, Lithuania.

The Wizards are a team on the rise (can’t go anywhere else but up, right?), and after selecting Vesely at #6, #18 is a great spot for them to take another gamble with Motiejunas. Dontas has a great inside/outside NBA game and has lottery level talent. The only thing he needs to improve on is his attitude. It’s been said that he can get complacent (lazy) at times and doesn’t always dominate the way he should. However, a change of scenery (continent) could go a long way in fixing that problem.

19. Bobcats- Kennith Faried, 6’7 PF, Morehead St.

The Bobcats, a team with many needs, should go with the safe play here and take Faried, the nation’s top rebounder. Faried is a one of those guys who has a keen skill for reading angles and knowing where the ball is going to bounce off of the rim. He comes from the Dennis Rodman school of rebounding. A hardnosed, athletic banger who broke Tim Duncan’s All-Time Division 1 rebounding mark this past season. Faired was also Second Team All-American, averaging 17+ppg to go along with his 14.5 rebounds.

20. T’Wolves- Tyler Honeycutt, 6’8 SF, UCLA.

After David Kahn’s abysmal ’09 draft, look for him to continue (Williams at #2) to play it safe again here and take Bruins sophomore Tyler Honeycutt (a small risk, big reward player). Honeycutt looks to continue the trend of UCLA players who overachieve at the next level (think Trevor Ariza, Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love). Although his numbers don’t wow you (3.0 TO’s/2.8 apg), his athletic ability will. Tyler is incredibly versatile and crashes the boards well for a swing man (7+ rpg). Also, being around an N.B.A. weight room should do wonders for his 187 pound frame. He will certainly need to bulk up if he wants to be productive on either end down low. Look for Honeycutt to contribute off the bench for a new look Minnesota team next season.

21. Blazers- Darius Morris, 6’4 PG, Michigan

Morris led the Big 10 in assists per game (6.7) during his sophomore campaign in Ann Arbor and should be able to crack the rotation right away on a deep Blazers team. Andre Miller doesn't have too many quality years left in him, but he will make a great mentor for the L.A. native point guard. Scouts have been raving about his length (6'7+ wingspan) and court vision. However, like Josh Selby and Kawhi Leonard, Darius needs to work on his long range shooting (25% from behind the arc). If the Blazers decide to go with a different PG here, keep an eye on Norris Cole from Cleveland State. They are very similar players who will both have productive careers as floor generals in the NBA.

22. Nuggets- Tobias Harris, 6'8 PF, Tennessee.

Harris, the versatile, lanky big man out of Long Island ranks 3rd amongst all big-men on John Hollinger's Draft Rater (usually a good indicator of next level success) behind only Derrick Williams (#2) and Tristan Thompson (#10). He had a great freshman year for the Vols and was the lone bright spot on a season plagued by turmoil. The Nuggets are pretty set at positions 1-3 and would love to add depth to their front court to help out Nene and Kenyon Martin. At just 18 years old, Harris has one of the biggest upsides in the draft.

23. Rockets- Markieff Morris- 6’9 PF, Kansas.

Admittedly it is a bit of a stretch that Markieff will fall this far in the draft, but the possibility of two brothers (Marcus at #14) playing together on an N.B.A. team is be too cool for me to not hypothesize over. Markieff has an N.B.A. ready body, and although it’s unlikely to see him take over a game offensively, he shoots well from 3 and can give you a hard 18-24 minutes a night. A three-headed attack down low consisting of the Morris twins and Louis Scola would be a nightmare for Western Conference foes.

24. Thunder- Nikola Vucevic, 7'0 C, USC
Nikola, the 20 year old big man out of Montenegro, would be a great fit in Oklahoma City. Although they just locked up center Kendrick Perkins to a long term extension, Perk hasn't been able to prove that he can stay healthy for back to back years, making Vucevic a great safety asset to have moving forward. He has a very good jump shot to go along with his wide arsenal of post moves. It's not every year you that you get the chance to pick up a serviceable 7-footer this late in the draft.

25. Celtics- Nikola Mirotic, 6'10 PF, Montenegro (Real Madrid)
The Celtics are aging fast and will be looking to hit a home run in this draft by taking Nikola, the 6'10 sweet shooting Euro (As opposed to the safe play- Trey Thompkins, JaJuan Johnson etc.). Mirotic shot 45% from 3 last season and is versatile enough to guard both forward positions. He's not as good as Danillo Gallanari but they have similar games. He is still under contract in Europe for another two seasons (the reason he isn't projected higher) but that time frame should coincide nicely for when Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal retire.

26. Mavs- Josh Selby, 6’3 PG, Kansas.

Selby is a classic example of a guy with lottery level talent, that will drop in the draft because he came out of college a year or two too early. In this case though I think it will actually benefit him in the long run. The Mavs, fresh off their first championship ever, need to find an apprentice for Jason Kidd and one or two years as an understudy could do wonders for Selby’s game. Despite being more of a combo guard (think Eric Gordon with a worse jumper) I think in time Selby could become a starting point guard at the next level.

27. Nets- Kyle Singler, 6’9 SF, Duke.

The Nets, who are entering their last* season before they cross the Hudson and come back into New York, don’t have time to mold players and coddle them for a few years before seeing results. Which is why they need to take Singler, a true leader, national champion and four year starter from Duke. Singler doesn’t have a high ceiling (he’s already 23), but in the right system could end up a poor man’s Keith Van Horn (I bet you never thought you’d read that sentence in your lifetime). Uber competitive, with great touch inside and out, Kyle will rack up some points playing alongside Deron Williams. He’s joining a Nets team that routinely saw Sasha Vujacic put up team highs in scoring last season, so it goes without saying that Singler will get his fair chance to contribute.

Singler and Psycho T will be back at it again next season, battling for an Eastern Conference playoff spot

28. Bulls- Shelvin Mack, 6’2 PG, Butler.

Shelvin followed in ex-teammate Gordon Haywood’s footsteps by leading the Bulldogs back to a second straight Championship game appearance and will now follow him into the N.B.A. The Bulls are in dire need of a backup PG to spell Derrick Rose (Keith Bogans anyone?) and Mack could contribute right from the get go. The Bulls achilles heel in the playoffs was their lack of players who could create their own shot (sans D-Rose) and that just happens to be what Shelvin is best at (16 ppg as a junior last season). I picture Mack’s career arch playing out much like the great Bobby Jackson did in the previous decade.

29. Spurs- Jeremy Tyler, 6’10 C, USA.

Tyler is a very gifted, yet interesting player. He left high school after his junior year to go play professionally in Europe, a move that was highly scrutinized by basketball fans and analysts alike. After an unsuccessful Euro tour in which he quit after just 10 games, he then spent the following season (10-11) playing in Japan where he rediscovered his confidence and excelled once again. If not for his bizarre path that led him to this year’s draft Tyler could have easily been a lottery pick. He has an N.B.A. ready body, a perfect combination of size and strength, and will be a decent replacement for Tim Duncan whenever he goes the way of “Old Yeller”.

Will Jeremy Tyler excel at Greg Popovich University?

30. Bulls-Keith Benson, 6’11 C, Oakland.

Keith Benson epitomizes both the terms "raw" and "upside". At 6'11 (7'4 wingspan) Benson could very easily become a serviceable backup in the Chicago, a team that preaches defense. He showed much progress in his years at Oakland and in his senior season boasted an impressive 18/10 (Granted the Summit League is no Big East, but you can't knock those numbers). The Bulls are in good shape moving forward and can afford to take this chance on a minimal risk, high reward player like Benson.


-fresh (@danye33)

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