Can you believe it, the 2011 NBA Draft is under 36 hours away and most teams have an idea of what they are going to do. A few picks seem locked in, but other than that, this is going to possibly be the wildest and most unpredictable draft in recent memory. With new information and chatter, here is how things look to shake out on June 23rd at the Prudential Center in New Jersey:
1. Cleveland (From L.A. Clippers) â€“ Kyrie Irving
6-3, 191 lbs. PG
In a point guard’s league, the Cavaliers are not going to pass on the next potential All-Star at the position. Irving may be the piece that starts the rebirth of a team that so desperately needs it.
2. Minnesota â€“ Derrick Williams
6-9, 249 lbs. SF/PF
At the end of the day, Williams may be the most talented player in this draft. He is a combo forward that can dominate at the wing or in the paint.
3. Utah (From New Jersey) â€“ Brandon Knight
6-3, 177 lbs. PG
Utah can go in a lot of different ways here, but the potential of Knight fills a need that the Jazz have. He is a very talented scorer and defender who has barely scratched the surface of his ceiling.
4. Cleveland â€“ Enes Kanter
6-11, 259 lbs. C
Kanter is the best center in this draft and may even be the best overall player, but his lack of playing time the last few years hurts. His size, rebounding and scoring will be a welcome complement to the No. 1 pick Irving.
5. Toronto â€“ Jan Vesely
6-11, 240 lbs. PF/SF
The need is at point guard, but those available bring the same skill set as current roster members Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa. With this pick, the Raptors need to get the best available basketball player and try to build a winner.
6. Washington â€“ Kawhi Leonard
6-7, 227 lbs. SF
San Diego State, So.
The Wizards have future stars in John Wall and JaVale McGee, but they need players like Leonard who are willing and able to do the little things needed to win. Defense, rebounding and hustle are what Leonard excels in, and those qualities would be welcome in Washington.
7. Sacramento â€“ Kemba Walker
6-1, 184 lbs. PG
The Kings are targeting a point guard or a small forward, and they will not pass up on Walker here if he slides this far. This move allows Tyreke Evans to slide to the shooting guard position where he can be at his best.
8. Detroit â€“ Tristan Thompson
6-8, 227 lbs. PF
Last year the Pistons started their ascent back to relevance by taking Greg Monroe; here they may find his perfect complement. Thompson is a great athlete who excels on defense with a developing offensive game.
9. Charlotte â€“ Marcus Morris
6-9, 230 lbs. PF
If the Bobcats want to win now and entice future free agents, they need more than Michael Jordan‘s name – they need winning basketball players. One thing is for certain, Marcus is ready to play and confident that he will be the best.
10. Milwaukee â€“ Alec Burks
6-6, 193 lbs. SG
The Bucks need a complementary player for Brandon Jennings in the backcourt to take some pressure off him, and they also need consistent scoring from the wing. With Burks they accomplish both. He is a great scorer and can create his own shot.
11. Golden State â€“ Klay Thompson
6-6, 202 lbs. SG
Washington State, Jr.
This summer the Warriors are going to do some soul searching. Is the current crew enough to win it all? Doubtful. Insert Thompson who has ideal size and skill to make the backcourt one of the best in the NBA going forward, and you’re heading in the right direction.
12. Utah â€“ Chris Singleton
6-9, 230 lbs. SF
Florida State, Jr.
With the contract of veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko expiring after this season, bringing in Singleton is like getting a stronger, more explosive upgrade.
13. Phoenix â€“ Markieff Morris
6-9, 241 lbs. PF
Phoenix loves him and he is the guy if everything turns out this way. As a team, the Suns are trying to switch mentalities to be more defensive oriented, and Morris will help that transition.
14. Houston â€“ Jonas Valanciunas
7-0, 245 lbs. PF/C
If he falls this far, the Rockets will not hesitate to grab the talented Lithuanian forward. He is a talented rebounder that competes on every play with the best talent in the world, and the best part is that he is only 19 years old.
15. Indiana â€“ Jimmer Fredette
6-2, 195 lbs. PG
This is Fredette’s basement, as he is not slipping past Indiana. The Pacers need a guard who can provide scoring, and Fredette has also proved to be a better passer and athlete than most thought.
16. Philadelphia â€“ Bismack Biyombo
6-9, 243 lbs. PF
Jrue Holiday said the 76ers need a big man, and with Biyombo they get the manliest big in the draft. Biyombo is a fierce competitor and will have an impact from Day One.
17. New York â€“ Marshon Brooks
6-5, 190 lbs. SG
As the season progressed, surprising rookie Landry Fields simply ran out of gas. With Brooks, the Knicks have another scoring option that has potential to become a lockdown defender.
18. Washington (From Atlanta) â€“ Jordan Hamilton
6-7, 228 lbs. SF
The versatility Hamilton brings to the table is like no other in this draft; he is more talented than every prospect on the board. The difference, he never put it all together. If the Wizards can get him to tap his potential, Hamilton is a steal.
19. Charlotte (From New Orleans via Portland) â€“ Darius Morris
6-4, 190 lbs. PG
The team has been public in saying they are behind D.J. Augustin as the point guard of the team, but it never hurts to have options.
20. Minnesota (From Memphis via Utah) â€“ Kenneth Faried
6-7, 227 lbs. PF
Morehead State, Sr.
Minnesota may have already found their stars, but Faried is the hustle player who does the dirty work that every good team needs to have.
21. Portland â€“ Nikola Vucevic
6-10, 230 lbs. PF
Very skilled and often overlooked, Vucevic is a talented big man who will provide an immediate impact to the Blazers who need a frontcourt counterpart to LaMarcus Aldridge.
22. Denver â€“ Donatas Motiejunas
7-0, 220 lbs. PF
Motiejunas will provide another good player for the Nuggets who seem to have a full team of good players. The difference is Motiejunas has the chance to develop into a very good player with time and patience.
23. Houston (From Orlando via Phoenix) â€“ Reggie Jackson
6-3, 203 lbs. PG
Boston College, Jr.
Jackson is a prototypical point guard in the new generation; a great athlete who can get up-and-down the floor with the best of them. You can only imagine Daryl Morey would love this guy.
24. Oklahoma City â€“ Tobias Harris
6-8, 223 lbs. SF
The loss of Jeff Green may have ultimately cost the Thunder a chance at a championship. Luckily for them, a player of similar versatility in Harris is on the draft board.
25. Boston â€“ Tyler Honeycutt
6-8, 187 lbs. SF
Depth was an issue for the savvy old Celtics all season. To keep up with the current NBA they need the talents of a versatile weapon like Honeycutt.
26. Dallas â€“ Justin Harper
6-10, 225 lbs. PF
Harper is more than just a tall shooter, he is very skilled with a good handle. Despite winning the championship, Dallas needs to start preparing for the future.
27. New Jersey (from L.A. Lakers) â€“ Jeremy Tyler
6-11, 245 lbs. PF
San Diego High School
Many forget how good Tyler was in high school and that he was on the rise to be a very special player â€“ he just took a different track. His athleticism, strength, readiness and potential are too much to pass up.
28. Chicago (From Miami via Toronto) â€“ Kyle Singler
6-8, 228 lbs. SF
The Bulls are close, they just need to fine tune a few things and they will be in the hunt for the NBA Championship. One of the biggest areas of concern is back-up small forward, and Singler locks that up.
29. San Antonio â€“ Davis Bertans
6-10, 210 lbs. SF
Should we pencil in the Spurs for the best available international prospect every year? This international star has a Toni Kukoc game and will fit in well with the Spurs when he comes to America.
30. Chicago â€“ Andrew Goudelock
6-2, 202 lbs. PG
College of Charleston, Sr.
The best shooter in the draft is not named Jimmer, he is a point guard out of an even smaller school making a name for himself. He has come a long way from being labeled a “non-athlete” to testing as a top-10 athlete at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, all the while maintaining that first-rate jump shot.
Who do you think your team should draft?
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