Dime NBA Mock Draft: Cleveland Snags The Top Pick, And Probably Kyrie Irving

By: 05.17.11  •  48 Comments
Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving (photo. Kelly Kline/Nike)

Following tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery at the NBA Entertainment studio in Secaucus, New Jersey, now we can begin to get an idea of how the rest of the draft will play out after the top spot. This is the first of many Dime mock drafts leading up to June 23. As usual, it’s a combination of what we think teams should do and what we think they will do:

1. Cleveland (via L.A. Clippers) – Kyrie Irving
6-2, 180 lbs. PG
Duke, Fr.
With only an 11-game sample, Irving was able to display why he may be the best prospect in the entire draft. His combinations of vision, shooting and scoring are maybe the best we’ve seen since Chris Paul. With the franchise in need of a savior, Irving is the best guy to build around.

2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams
6-7, 210 lbs. SF/PF
Arizona, So.
Using his versatility all season long, Williams became a viable option for a top pick as an inside-outside threat. Not sure there is anyone in this draft that can bring to the table what he can. And with the chance of Ricky Rubio finally arriving in Minnesota, the T-Wolves could be looking at a major talent upgrade.

3. Utah (via New Jersey) – Enes Kanter
6-10, 250 lbs. C
Kentucky, Fr.
After lighting up the world in the U-18 games and the Nike Hoop Summit, Kanter became a hot name before arriving in Lexington last fall. Since then, the Turkish big has played zero basketball and become a bit of a mystery in this year’s draft. Utah could use another big body after the loss last summer of Carlos Boozer, and the injury problems with Mehmet Okur.

4. Cleveland – Kawhi Leonard
6-7, 225 lbs. SF
San Diego State, So.
Playing on the West Coast hurts when it comes to publicity, but Leonard has the athleticism and skill to make his name known. For a young Cavs team that needs utility guys that can do just about everything, Leonard is the perfect piece to add to the puzzle.

5. Toronto – Brandon Knight
6-4, 183 lbs. PG
Kentucky, Fr.
A few months into the season Knight was still a project. Since then, he has become one of the most clutch players in the nation and has proven to be a multi-faceted offensive threat. The Raptors need a guy that can help them win, and Knight should be up for the job. Don’t think for a second that Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo – who just agreed in principle to a multiyear extension with the team – will pass on a guy like this who is one of the few players in the draft with star potential.

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6. Washington – Jonas Valanciunas
6-10, 220 lbs. PF
Lithuania
Valanciunas is the best European prospect in the 2011 Class. He has more of an American style game as a hustle player who excels in the paint. Once he fills out his body with strength he will be a very productive player. Pairing him with JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche makes for a dangerous frontcourt rotation in Washington.

7. Sacramento – Bismack Biyombo
6-9, 248 lbs. PF
Congo
You may not know who Biyombo is, but scouts are learning. He is a big-time athlete who can jump out of the building and protect the paint – someone the Kings are desperately in need of.

8. Detroit – Jan Vesely
6-11, 240 lbs. SF/PF
Czech Republic
Some see him as a small forward, others as a power forward, but either way Vesely is a big-time athlete that can shoot it with range. He will be a matchup nightmare once he adds some strength. And for a team that needs an influx of talent, Vesely brings just that.

9. Charlotte – Kemba Walker
6-1, 172 lbs. PG
Connecticut, Jr.
Walker is the fastest player with the ball in this class, and has a knack at getting in the paint. He may not be a pure point guard, but as a basketball player, he is a tough winner that will excel in the NBA. If he drops this far to Charlotte, the Bobcats will finally have the scorer they’ve been missing.

10. Milwaukee – Alec Burks
6-6, 185 lbs. SG
Colorado, So.
Burks is a smooth operator on offense who gets to the free throw line like no other. He also rebounds the ball for his position very consistently, making him the best all-around shooting guard in this class. Milwaukee has said they’ll take the best player on the board, and Burks is it. He’ll make Bucks fans forget they ever had Michael Redd.

11. Golden State – Tristan Thompson
6-8, 225 lbs. SF/PF
Texas, Fr.
Thompson will be next in line of phenomenal Longhorn freshman to go one-and-done. He’ll also become the first Canadian drafted in the first round since Jamaal Magloire in 2000. What he brings to Golden State is a strong rebounder who also provides a physical presence in the paint to play alongside Andris Biedrins and David Lee.

12. Utah – Jimmer Fredette
6-3, 195 lbs. PG
BYU, Sr.
The Jimmer has been compared to Mark Price, Steve Nash, Stephen Curry, Dan Dickau, Luke Ridnour and Eddie House. In reality, he is one of the most unique prospects we have seen in a long time. His future is up to him. And if the Jazz can snag him at No. 12, he’ll become one of the NBA’s most marketable players.

13. Phoenix – Marcus Morris
6-8, 220 lbs. PF
Kansas, Jr.
Like most big men with a good jump shot, Morris falls in love with it often in games and becomes very guardable. At the next level, we’ll see how his skills can develop in an NBA system. If he drops to the Suns here, he’ll be a steal.

14. Houston – Chris Singleton
6-9, 210 lbs. SF
Florida State, Jr.
Singleton was easily the best overall defender in the country last season before injures shortened his season. He is very athletic and can guard multiple positions on the court, making him a perfect talent for the Rockets.

Who do you think your team should draft?

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