2011 NBA Mock Draft: Updated 4/8

Steve O Speak

*Note: Players have until Apr. 28th to declare for the draft, and while some players like Sullinger and Patric Young have said they are coming back, we have already seen one player (Isaiah Thomas), announce he was coming back then change his mind. For now I’m keeping both of them in the draft. I am taking out a few players like Tyler Zeller, Jon Henson and Thomas Robinson, as well as a host of other 2nd round talent.


1. Cleveland Cavaliers: PF Jared Sullinger, 6’9″ Ohio State-

Sullinger isn’t a surefire number one overall pick but he is without a doubt in the conversation. He’s pretty advanced for a freshman, and is a fantastic rebounder. His wide base and strength will allow him to matchup with most 4’s and 5’s even as a rookie. Lack of great athletic ability means he doesn’t fit on every team, but he should do fine in Cleveland. He is an Ohio native so, the Cavs could look to use that to help get over the loss of their last Ohio basketball star taken first overall.

*Note I know Sullinger has made comments about returning to Ohio State, but since most of those were after their tournament loss, I’m waiting for a more official announcement to take him off my board. I especially think the fact that the Cavs very well could be taking him with a top pick could give the Ohio product reason to stay in the draft.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves PG Kyrie Irving, 6’2″ Duke-

Last week I moved point guard down on the T-wolves wish list with the assumption that Ricky Rubio would be coming over to handle the point guard position. Well now after watching the way Irving played in the tournament, I’m having a hard time imagining Minnesota passes up on him. They can’t just continue to hope that Rubio will be their savior and they need to be proactive in their response. If Rubio ends up coming over, Minnesota should still be able to trade him for some serious value (which is what he wants anyways). Irving came back strong from his injury, and while Duke disappointed in the tournament, it definitely wasn’t Irving’s fault.

*Note this pick could depend on the future of Ricky Rubio, if the T-Wolves know 100% that he is coming to the NBA then I think they take Derrick Williams, if not I say they go for the guard.

3. Toronto Raptors- SF/PF Derrick Williams, 6’8″ Arizona

Toronto needs to get a very good young player with this pick and Williams is the top guy on the board. While the Raptors traded for James Johnson they could use a dynamic wing player. One that has the ability to drive to the basket or hit the jumper, with excellent 3 point range. Williams really came on this past season and looks to be a star in the making. He would be a good fit for a rebuilding Raptors team.

4. Washington Wizards- SF Harrison Barnes, 6’7″ North Carolina

Although the Wizards aren’t set at a single position (except PG) so they could go in any direction, but I see Barnes being a very good fit for them. He might be a bit of a tweener, but he has the range and athletic ability for a 3 and the strength and the shooting potential of a 2. Barnes has really developed into an excellent shooter, which allows me to believe he can become the star that everyone thought he’d be.

5. Sacramento Kings- PF Perry Jones, 6’10” Baylor-

The Kings don’t have one single weakness as they have young talent at every position, but of all of them their Big’s are still the least developed. On top of that Dalambert is an FA, and I don’t think any team has ever had too many Bigs. Jones should allow Cousins and Thompson play mostly at the 5, where they might be the best suited to anyways. Jones has a ton of upside and great length. I think he might get out-muscled early on, but playing next to a wide body like Cousins should help.

6. Utah Jazz (via New Jersey Nets)- PG Brandon Knight, 6’4″ Kentucky

The Jazz might have gotten Devin Harris back in the Deron Williams deal, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to draft their future PG with this pick. Harris is good, but Knight has the potential to be special. Early on he could play the 2 alongside Harris, and when the time comes, Utah should have little trouble moving Harris in a trade. Utah might try to trade up to land Irving, but if they can’t get him Knight is a pretty good fit as well.

7. Detroit Pistons- PF Jan Vessely, 6’11” Czech Republic

Detroit needs a lot of help, but they really don’t have much in the way of big men outside of Greg Monroe. Vessely could develop into a very good 4, with the upside of a Dirk Nowitzki. He’s got good range, and a very good offensive game. He still needs to work on his defense, and right now is pretty raw, but the upside and size are legit.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via LA Clippers)- PF/C Enes Kanter, 6’10” Turkey

I’ve had Kemba Walker going here, but I just don’t know if he will actually be a top 10 pick. Although the Cavs will have already added Sullinger, Kanter will be a nice option next to him at the 5, and completely reshape their front court. Point guard will still be a need, but if Irving and Knight are off the board I see the Cavs going in a different direction.

9. Milwaukee Bucks-G Alec Burks, 6’6″ Colorado

The Bucks need to grab a wing player and I think Burks is the best still on the board. He is a good mid-range shooter, but excels going to the basket. He has great length on defense, and rebounds very well for a guard. He’s not an outside shooter and probably won’t ever be, but has a very good offensive profile nonetheless.

10. Charlotte Bobcats- PF/C Donatas Motiejunas, 7’0″ Lithuania

The Bobcats desperately need (everything) a center and Motiejunas has the size they need. He isn’t a pure center, but he runs the floor and has a good shot. He is a good rebounder and should develop further in that area. It’s not a great pick for the Bobcats, but it is the best that is on the board.

11. Golden State Warriors- PG Kemba Walker 6’1″ Connecticut

The Warriors don’t need Walker, but he is a nice contrast to both Ellis and Curry who are better shooters. Walker will give Golden State a pesky guard, who will get a lot of steals and create fast breaks. Kemba isn’t a floor general type of player, but on the break he is good about feeding his teammates. It’s not a great fit, but I like the potential for Walker, especially with the Warriors.

12. Utah Jazz-SF Terrence Jones, 6’8″ Kentucky

Jones has a ton of upside and I really see him being a great 3 at the next level. It could take him a year, but the Jazz would do well to grab a guy with the talent and potential of Jones. Jones has both inside and outside range, and the ability to put it on the floor and take it to the basket.

13. Phoenix Suns- SF Kawhi Leonard, 6’7″ San Diego State

They Suns will likely need to replace Grant Hill this offseason, and although they already have Jared Dudley on the roster, they could use another young wing player. Leonard has a good bit of upside and looks like a very good two way player at the next level.

14. Houston Rockets- PF/C Jonas Valanciunas, 6’11” Lithuania

With Ming’s injuries and Thabeet’s inability to develop into an NBA player the Rockets are lacking a quality center. Their best options are all power forwards, and while some are pretty good ball players, none of them are real stars. Valanciunas is pretty raw but he could develop into a star center one day (he also has the ability to play the 4). His strength early on will be his rebounding and blocking ability, but he has the potential to develop a quality offensive game as well.

15. Indiana Pacers- PG Jimmer Fredette, 6’2″ BYU

Is there player that makes more sense and is a better fit for a team than Fredette and the Pacers (Fredette and the Jazz also make a lot of sense). I know people will probably knock Jimmer as the 2nd coming of J.J. Reddick, and basically just a 3-point specialist, but I think he has more upside than that. I think he is more Mark Price than Steve Kerr, and also very capable of handling the 2. His defense will be suspect against longer shooting guards, but his offensive game simply can’t be ignored.

16. New York Knicks- PF/C Markieff Morris, 6’10” Kansas

The Knicks need to get a big with this pick, and while Morris isn’t the best option, he will sure look better at center than Jared Jefferies. Morris isn’t as skilled offensively as his brother, but he does well on the defensive end and in rebounding. He will help New York’s thin front court, and should give them good minutes as a rookie.

With the Knicks needing multiple cheap players to round out a team don’t be surprised if they trade back to try to pick up an extra 2nd rounder or 2, in an effort to fill out their roster.

17. Philadelphia 76ers- SF Jordan Hamilton, 6’7″ Texas

The 76ers don’t necessarily need another wing player, but Hamilton is good value here and can help out at both the 2 and the 3. He is really starting to come into his own and looks to have a bright future.

18. Washington Wizards (via Atlanta Hawks)- PF Kenneth Faried, 6’8″ Morehead State

Faried is simply one of the most productive players ever in college basketball. He is an incredible rebounder, and simply owns the boards. His offensive game is basically dunks, put backs and tip-ins, but he’s highly effective at it, that it is hard to knock him down too much. He has the best work ethic and motor in this draft, but will likely fall. People will knock his offensive game (esp. his free throw shooting), his lack of great size and his competition, but the kid can play. Some may question if he is a fit for Washington as they will have already added multiple 4’s over the past 2 years and Faried compares favorably to Trevor Booker. While I understand the issues involved, I don’t see how Washington can pass up on a guy like him. If Williams can play the 3, than Booker and Faried can handle the 4 (with some help at the 5) and hopefully Kevin Seraphin can become a backup to McGee at center.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies)- SF Tobias Harris, 6’8″ Tennessee

If the Timberwolves shore up their PG position with their earlier pick, than Harris makes a lot of sense here. Harris can play multiple positions and despite being just a freshmen has very good court presence.

20. New Orleans Hornets- PF/C Patric Young, 6’9″ Florida

Carl Landry is a free agent this offseason, and if the Hornets don’t think they can retain him, then another big makes a lot of sense here. Young is probably best suited for the 5, but he can help out as a 4 as well, if the Hornets aren’t facing an athlete at PF. Young is a bit of a project, but his upside is immense.

Note: I know Young is rumored to be heading back to Florida, but given the lack of big men in this draft he looks to be at worst a top 25 pick and could even go higher.

21. Portland Trailblazers- PF Trey Thompkins, 6’10” Georgia

Size has become an issue for Portland as it is apparent that Greg Oden will never be the answer for them. Thompkins gives the Trailblazers a big man with a ton of upside to play alongside Aldridge, and hopefully bring Portland back to serious contention going forward.

22. Denver Nuggets- SF/PF Marcus Morris, 6’8″ Kansas

The Nuggets could use some of their front court players this offseason and Marcus Morris would be a very good addition to Denver. He can help at two positions and projects to have a good offensive game, with solid defense and rebounding to go with it.

23. Phoenix Suns (via Orlando Magic)- SG Travis Leslie, 6’4″ Georgia

The Suns love athletes and they need some youth in their backcourt. Even if Vince Carter does come back Leslie should be a great role player off the bench and his eventual successor. I love Leslie’s athletic ability and shooting prowess, and he looks like a great fit for the Suns.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder- C/PF Mason Plumlee, 6’10” Duke

The Thunder have their guards and SF covered, but know they need to get bigger and stronger to win the West. Adding Kendrick Perkins and Aldrich was a start, but Nazr Mohammed their other addition this season will be a free agent, so adding another center is key. Plumlee isn’t a star, but by the same token that is kinda a good thing in this situation. He is the type of guy who will be quite alright just playing a role off the bench. Plumlee has additional value since he can also back up the PF position as well, which should help him get minutes.

25. Chicago Bulls (via Miami Heat)- G Reggie Jackson, 6’3″ Boston College

While Jackson would typically be what you’d expect the Bulls to go after as he is more of a tweener, but I love his upside. He is flying up draft boards and would give the Bulls an athletic shooter on the perimeter. At the same time he could also give valuable breaks to Derrick Rose and help keep him fresh for more important games.

26. Boston Celtics-C Lucas Noguiera, 7’0″ Brazil

Celtics made an odd move trading Kendrick Perkins this season, and while they do have some big man depth, most of them are impending free agents or guys who are on the downside of their career. Getting a young potential star like Nogueira would be a steal this late in the draft. While he looks to be a raw talent the upside and obvious size is there that should make him a 1st round pick.

27. Dallas Mavericks- SF Jereme Richardson, 6’7″ Illinois

The Mavs don’t have much in the way of needs, so I think they’ll take the best player on their board. They might prefer a big man, but they should be quite happy with Richardson, who has big time upside. He’s a developing 2/3 and should quickly work his way into the Mavs rotation. I love his inside-outside scoring ability, and he as the potential to develop into a star.

28. New Jersey Nets (via LA Lakers)- PF JaJuan Johnson, 6’10” Purdue

The Nets traded away what many thought was their PF of the future to land Deron Williams, and now they are a bit thin at the position. Johnson doesn’t have the potential of Derrick Favors, but at the same time he might be better right now. Johnson is a fierce competitor who consistently gets the job done. I love his basketball I.Q., and think he will be a solid NBA player and at the very least will be a role player.

29. Chicago Bulls- SG Doron Lamb, 6’4″ Kentucky

The Bulls are desperate for shooting guard help which makes me believe that they will potentially double up on the position. There aren’t any great options here, but I think Lamb is the best one on the board (assuming he comes out). Lamb is incredibly athletic and looks to be a great 3-point shooter going forward. He should be a good option for Rose to kick the ball to when he penetrates.

30. San Antonio Spurs- G Nolan Smith, 6’4″ Duke

The Spurs don’t have any major need, but do need to keep adding young contributors around their top stars. The Spurs guards aren’t getting any younger, so adding a guy like Smith who can play two positions makes a lot of sense. Smith is a good shooter and a decent ball handler. He isn’t a star at the next level, but he has the basketball I.Q. to be a very good 6th man type.

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