2011 NBA Mock Draft: Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams At No. 1?

As I was watching the epic comeback by the Memphis Grizzlies against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, I began to feel the urge to write something associated with the NBA.

Then I saw that Kentucky forward, Terrence Jones, decided to withdraw from the draft to return for his sophomore season with the Wildcats.

This furthered my urge to write something about the NBA, so I figured why not make it about the draft since it’s only two short months away?

Keep in mind that the order of picks have not yet been determined. The Timberwolves have the highest odds of the first pick, but they could wind up picking third, fourth or even later.

With that said, I will be determining the order of picks based on regular season record and not hypothetical guesses on who will be the first, second or third pick, and so on.

Also, not everyone has declared for the draft yet. Unlike the order of the picks, who I have actually being in the draft WILL be hypothetical.

Enough rules and rumbling, let’s get to the picks!

1. Minnesota Timberwolves- Derrick Williams, Forward, Arizona, 6’9″, 240 pounds

Kyrie Irving is believed to be the best player in the draft and the consensus No. 1 overall pick, but I’m not buying into it quite yet.

The Timberwolves made two terrible choices with the fifth and sixth picks in the 2009 draft, selecting Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. As we all know, Rubio hasn’t even dawned a Timberwolves jersey and Jonny Flynn has been a complete bust.

Minnesota can’t seriously expect Luke Ridnour to play at an elite level, because he’s simply a slightly above-average basketball player.

Kevin Love could and should be moved to center next year, which would allow Williams to start at power forward, Michael Beasley at small forward, Wes Johnson at the 2 and, hopefully, Ricky Rubio at the point.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers- Kyrie Irving, Point Guard, Duke, 6’2″, 180 pounds

The Cavaliers actually had great success at point guard last year— too bad that they couldn’t find a consistent starter whatsoever. Ramon Sessions, Daniel Gibson, Mo Williams and Baron Davis all received starts at various times.

If the T’Wolves don’t take Irving, and the Cavaliers have the second pick, they will take the Duke point guard. Cleveland just simply doesn’t have a point guard on the roster that warrants 35+ minutes a game, 82 games a year.

Irving missed a huge chunk of time for the Blue Devils last year, but returned during the NCAA tournament, and looked pretty dang good.

I’m not sure if he’ll become a Derrick Rose or a Chris Paul, but he’s going to be a successful basketball player if he receives consistent minutes.

3. Toronto Raptors- Enes Kanter, Center/Power Forward, Kentucky  6’11”, 255 pounds

The Raptors made a great choice in former North Carolina Tar Heel, Ed Davis, last year. He’ll be a solid starter at power forward for years to come, but Andrea Barnagni may not be back in Toronto next season.

Barnagni struggled early on in his career with the Raptors, but really excelled once he received consistent minutes as a starter.

If Andrea is let go, the Raptors will obviously be on the lookout for a center. Enes Kanter and Jonas Valanciunas will both received strong consideration for this pick, but I see Kanter as the better prospect right now.

I don’t know if Kanter will be thrown into the starting lineup right away, but like Ed Davis, Kanter will likely be in the starting lineup at some point during the season.

4. Washington Wizards- Jonas Valanciunas, Center/Power Forward, Internation, 6’11”, 250 pounds

The Washington Wizards’ backcourt is likely set for years to come with John Wall and Jordan Crawford, but Washington could use some depth at the 4 and 5 spots.

Andray Blatche can be one of the best players in the league when he puts in his best effort, but he’s sometimes a nuisance in the locker room and is injury-prone.

Javale McGee looks like he may starting to come around, so it’s likely the Wizards will see what he can bring to the table for another year.

Washington could definitely use a small forward, but with the lack of quality small forwards in the draft, the Wizards won’t reach for one.

5. Sacramento Kings- Brandon Knight, Point Guard, Kentucky, 6’3″, 185 pounds

In 2009, the Kings took Tyreke Evans in the first round, who went on to have a tremendous rookie season, winning the Rookie of the Year award.

Last season, Evans missed a significant amount of time, which really cost the Kings some games. That said, Evans is still a lock as the Kings’ shooting guard, but they need to find somebody that can run the point.

Beno Udrih can put up 25 point, 10 assist games every now and then, but that’s once in a blue moon at best. Brandon Knight can put up those type of numbers far more often than Udrih could even imagine.

Knight, in my opinion, will turn out to be the better pro than Irving. I was a huge fan of Knight’s in his freshman season with Kentucky.

6. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey)- Jan Vasely, Forward, International, 6’11”, 235 pounds

Utah took Gordon Heyward in the first round last year, which actually surprised me. Heyward wasn’t great in his rookie campaign by any means, but he had a sweet stroke every now and then.

Utah’s frontcourt is set with Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, and Derrick Favors for a while, but the Jazz need some help at the 3 and 2 spot if they want to contend in the Western Conference again.

I severely doubt the Jazz will reach for Colorado shooting guard, Alec Burks, here. Vesely makes the most sense for the Jazz, who could be losing Andrei Kirilenko in free agency this offseason.

7. Detroit Pistons- Donatas Matejunas, Power Forward/Center, International, 7″, 225 pounds

The Pistons were another team that took a great power forward in last years’ draft. Detroit selected Greg Monroe, who was voted sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Detroit has several quality guards that can manage their backcourt for a few more years. Rip Hamilton likely won’t be back, but the Pistons still have Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and Ben Gordon.

Donatas Matejunas, despite being 7-feet tall, is only around 225 pounds. If he wants to play center for the Pistons, he’ll obviously need to bulk up in the gym.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers)- Marcus Morris, Forward, Kansas, 6’9″, 225 pounds

With their second top-10 pick, the Cavaliers will look to find a starter at small forward. They used to have some guy named LeBron James or something, but then he decided to take his magical talents to some beach.

He hasn’t been heard from since.

Marcus Morris, along with his brother Markieff, led the Kansas Jayhawks to the NCAA tournament, only to be upset by a lower seed once again.

The Cavaliers’ roster will actually look pretty solid next year with Kyrie Irving at the point, a potential free agent (Jamal Crawford, Ray Allen or Marcus Thornton) at shooting guard, Marcus Morris at small forward, J.J. Hickson at power forward and Anderson Verajao or Samardo Samuels at center.

9. Charlotte Bobcats- Kemba Walker, Point Guard, Connecticut, 6″, 190 pounds

I have always been a fan of D.J. Augustin, but it seems like Michael Jordan doesn’t feel the same way. Augustin played in all 82 ganes for the Bobcats last year, which resulted in the best year of his career.

Augustin isn’t viewed as the future point guard of the Bobcats. Kemba Walker had a great NCAA tournament, resulting in the Huskies bringing home the NCAA championship.

Walker will have one year behind Augustin to learn the ropes of the NBA. He’ll likely step in to start in his second season in the league.

10. Milwaukee Bucks- Alec Burks, Guard, Colorado, 6’6″, 195 pounds

The Bucks are a good player or two from being one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Despite a lack of stars, they seem to coexist better than most teams in the league.

Alec Burks is one of the most underrated players in this years draft. He has the ability to play at eight point or shooting guard, but ultimately he will be a No. 2 in the NBA.

With Jennings and Burks in the backcourt, Milwaukee will have no trouble scoring big points. Look for the Bucks to be in the playoffs next season.

11. Golden State Warriors- Tristan Thompson, Power Forward, Texas, 6’11”, 230 pounds

Yes, I’m fully aware that David Lee is on the roster, but the latest trend in the NBA is to draft the best player available. In the NFL you draft for need, in the NBA you draft for potential.

Andris Biedrins is terrible, plain and simple. If he’s on the roster next year, I will be in complete shock. I think the Warriors will let Biedrins and his air-ball free throws walk.

Ekpe Udoh will likely start at center, despite being undersized. That said, Udoh has nearly a 7’5″ wingspan, therefore he can definitely be a factor at center.

12. Utah Jazz- Jimmer Fredette, Guard, Brigham Young University, 6’2″, 195 pounds

One of my favorite college basketball players of all time goes to the Utah Jazz in my mock draft. The Jazz acquired Devin Harris and Derrick Favors in the blockbuster deal that sent Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets.

Devin Harris can put up 30 points and 10 assists when he wants to, but that’s once in a blue moon. I just don’t see him as the future point guard for Utah.

Jimmer Fredette is a great shooter, but not much else. He doesn’t play defense, yet his offense is unstoppable.

13. Phoenix Suns- Markieff Morris, Power Forward, Kansas 6’10”, 250 pounds

The Suns have many options here, but their lack of depth at power forward is something that clearly needs to be addressed. Channing Frye can knock down three’s like nobodies business, but doesn’t offer much else outside of that.

Phoenix has had a terrible time with their first-rounders as of late. Robin Lopez is not even close to starting material and Earl Clark was traded to the Magic, along with Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus.

Markieff Morris, along with his brother Marcus, were huge factors in Kansas’ success last season. Expect Morris to receive 10-15 minutes per game in his rookie campaign.

14. Houston Rockets- Trey Thompkins, Power Forward, Georgia, 6’10”, 250 pounds

Houston will have a solid team next year with the returning Yao Ming, but they could still use some depth in a few key areas.

Luis Scola is the most underrated power forward in the NBA, and it’s not even close. That said, he’s not exactly that young. Scola is already 31 years-of-age.

Trey Thompkins likely won’t see a ton of time in his rookie season, but will be eased in during his second year.

15. Indiana Pacers- Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward, San Diego State, 6’7″, 225 pounds

The Pacers don’t really have that many needs they need to address. At this point, Indiana should just find some depth behind Danny Granger and Paul Geroge.

Kawhi Leonard was a huge part of San Diego State’s success last season. His leadership will be a huge factor in where he goes in the NBA draft.

Mike Dunleavy’s chances of being on the team next year are pretty slim. He’s injured far too often, and his days as a starter are long behind him.

16. Philadelphia 76’ers- Tyler Honeycutt, Shooting Guard/ Small Forward, UCLA, 6’8″, 195 pounds

The 76’ers seem intent on trading Andre Iguodala this offseason. Evan Turner will be a starter next year at shooting guard, but the small forward spot is in question.

Thaddeus Young is a free agent, but if Philadelphia is smart, they’ll bring him back. At only 22 years old, Young’s best days are yet to come.

Tyler Honeycutt likely won’t be a starter right away, but with the right training, he can become a great role player off the bench.

17. New York Knicks- Klay Thompson, Shooting Guard, Washington State, 6’6″, 205 pounds

Despite making the All-Rookie first team, the Knicks don’t believe Landry Fields is the best option to start at shooting guard for the Knicker-bockers.

Fields is a great rebounder and defender, but his shooting ability is seriously limited. I, like the Knicks, view him as a role player that can defend and get boards (think Raja Bell or Tony Allen).

I don’t know a ton about Klay Thompson because of the school he goes to, but he’s the best option for the Knicks right here.

18. Washington Wizards- Jordan Hamilton, Small Forward, Texas, 6’7″, 230 pounds

With their second first-rounder, the Wizards should look to find a starter at small forward. Maurice Evans, Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis are not legitimate starters any longer.

Washington’s frontcourt is set for years with Andray Blatch, DeAndre Jordan, and Jonas Valanciunas, and the Wizards’ backcourt looks pretty strong with John Wall and Jordan Crawford anchoring it.

Jordan Hamilton might be pushed to start from the get-go if Washington doesn’t address the small forward position through free agency.

19. Charlotte Bobcats- Bismack Biyombo, Center, Congo, 6’10”, 245 pounds

Charlotte took Kemba Walker with their first pick, solidifying the point guard spot. With their second first-rounder, the Bobcats will look to find a replacement for Kwame Brown at center.

Bismack Biyombo’s stock has been rising and falling all the time lately, but it looks like he’s a definite top-20 pick at this point.

Unless you live under a rock or know nothing about basketball, you know that Kwame Brown has been a bust his entire career. I’d be surprised if he’s in the starting five next year.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves- Nolan Smith, Guard, Duke, 6’3″, 190 pounds

This could be a slight reach for the Wolves, but Minnesota really can’t afford to pass on the potential of Nolan Smith, who was one of  the best college basketball players last year.

Ricky Rubio looks like he will actually be coming to Minnesota next year, which is obviously a great sign for the Wolves. Either way, the Timberwolves will be looking for depth at point guard.

I fully expect Jonny Flynn and Sebastian Telfair to be off the roster next year, leaving Rubio (potentially), Ridnour and Nolan Smith as Minnesota’s point guard depth situation.

21. Portland Trail Blazers- Tobias Harris, Forward, Tennessee, 6’8″, 235 pounds

Portland clearly doesn’t have that many needs. I would go with a center here, but the best one available is Jordan Williams, who would be a serious reach here.

The Blazers are set at point and shooting guard. The small forward spot will be held by Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge will start at power foward, but who starts at center?

If you seriously think Greg Oden is going to be the Blazers’ starting center next season, remember this: he breaks a bone whenever he stands up off the couch.

22. Denver Nuggets- Chris Singleton, Forward, Florida State, 6’9″, 230 pounds

Nene Hilario (did you know his last name was Hilario?) has a good chance of not being on the Nuggets’ roster next year, which would be a detrimental blow to the team.

The Nuggets don’t have a legitimate starter on the roster, currently, that could come in and replace him. Chris “birdman” Andersen has absolutely no shot.

Denver’s depth situations are great in all areas except for power forward and center. While Singleton clearly can’t play center, he will provide a boost at the 4 spot.

23. Houston Rockets- Darius Morris, Point Guard, Michigan, 6’4″, 195 pounds

Kyle Lowry was an absolute stud last year after replacing Aaron Brooks in the starting lineup. Many people were giving up on Lowry after he was traded from the Grizzlies to the Rockets. It’s a good thing Houston doesn’t listen to the fans.

That said, can you name Lowry’s backup? For those unaware, it’s Goran Dragic. Dragic is great for a spurt off the bench, but I don’t see him as a 35-minute per game type of guy.

Morris has great size for a point guard. He may wind up as a member of the D-league for his entire rookie campaign, but that’s definitely the best thing to do for him.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder- Kenneth Faried, Forward, Morehead State, 6’8″, 225 pounds

The Thunder have basically zero needs at the moment, therefore they will look to add depth to whichever area needs it the most.

Oklahoma City doesn’t have a great option behind Serge Ibaka. They had Jeff Green, but he was traded to the Celtics, along with Nenad Kristic for Kendric Perkins and Nate Robinson.

Kenneth Faried, who happens to go to my favorite school because of its hilarious name, will likely be the third option at power forward for the Thunder next season.

25. Boston Celtics- Jordan Williams, Power Forward/Center, Maryland, 6’11”, 265 pounds

The Celtics, who were recently eliminated in the playoffs by the Miami Heat, are the oldest team in the NBA today. All, but one, of their starters during the playoffs, is over the age of 30.

It’s clear that the Celtics intend to get younger and quicker for next season, which likely spells the end for Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal.

I have absolutely no idea who will start at center for the Celtics next year. Nenad Kristic has a shot, but he rarely even saw the court during the postseason, so I very much doubt that he’ll get the nod.

26. Dallas Mavericks- JaJuan Johnson, Power Forward, Purdue, 6’10”, 225 pounds

Dirk Nowitzki, despite being one of the best basketball players in the NBA today, is nearing the end of his illustrious career.

He’ll likely stick around for another two years, but the smart thing for the Mavericks to do is to groom a young power forward that can take Dirk’s place.

I’m not sure if JaJuan Johnson has starter potential, but he’s a solid player that will be able to contribute right away. I see him pitching in for the Mavericks from the start.

27. New Jersey Nets- Shelvin Mack, Guard, Butler, 6’2″, 215 pounds

The Nets would have had the sixth pick in the draft this year had they not traded it to the Utah Jazz, but at least they still have a first round selection.

New Jersey, with their large cap space, will be big spenders in free agency this year. Deron Williams will be their point guard of the future. Also, Brook Lopez is locked in as the Nets’ starting center.

The Nets could use depth and explosiveness off of the bench. Shelvin Mack is most famous for helping his team, the Butler Bulldogs, reach the NCAA championship two years in-a-row.

28. Chicago Bulls- Kyle Singler, Small Forward, Duke, 6’8″, 235 pounds

Chicago is arguably the best team in basketball, and as long as Derrick Rose is running the point, the Bulls will be on top for years to come.

The Bulls don’t have many needs whatsoever, so they could look to trade this pick. If Chicago stays put, Kyle Singler should be the pick.

Singler is an intelligent, young and talented kid that will be a great role player for whoever drafts him. I see Singler receiving the Chase Budinger treament. No, not just because they’re white, but because they aren’t viewed as starting material.

29. San Antonio Spurs- Davis Bertans, Small Forward, Latvia, 6’9″, 215 pounds

San Antonio, like the Celtics, are a team that is looking to get younger and quicker. Antonio McDyess plans to retire, Tim Duncan has about one good year left in him and Richard Jefferson isn’t a spring chicken.

The Spurs are notoriously known for their great late-round draft picks. George Hill was a late first-rounder in 2009, and he’s turned out to be a stud.

I know absolutely nothing about Davis Bertans, but I hope to find out more in the near future.

30. Chicago Bulls- Josh Selby, Guard, Kansas, 6’2″, 185 pounds

I know I’ve already stated this, but the Bulls don’t have any needs whatsoever. They own the 28th and 30th overall picks, but one of those two is likely to be traded.

Josh Selby’s stock has been rising quite a bit lately. Many thought he would go undrafted, but now he’s viewed as a late first-rounder. Oh, what a difference a week can make.

C.J. Watson is a decent back-up to Derrick Rose, but he’s not the best option. Selby is young enough that the Bulls can use him as a project for two or three years.

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