Gary Gramling

2011 NBA Mock Draft

  • Hoophead
  • Gary Gramling
  • May 23, 2011, 12:14 PM

I'm not gonna lie to you: This year's NBA Draft has one probable All-Star, one very good No. 2 player, and then a whoooooooole lot of question marks. Of course, that doesn't mean draft night will be any less interesting. I'll have an update in June when teams' draft plans become a bit clearer, but the first addition of our mock draft is more about what I think teams should do on June 23...

NBA Mock Draft
1 Cleveland Cavaliers
(from Clippers)
Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
You can etch this pick in stone. Irving was the best player in college basketball before he suffered a major toe injury last November. He’s a true point guard who can create and score in the halfcourt, or make plays in the open floor. And, yes, this is the pick the Clippers gave up in order to dump Baron Davis and his bloated salary.
2 Minnesota Timberwolves
Derrick Williams, PF/SF, Arizona
The T-Wolves will do everything they can to trade this pick (man they needed a point guard like Irving!). But unless someone really shines during the pre-draft process, Williams is clearly the second-best player in this draft class. He’s not a carry-your-franchise superstar, but he’s an incredibly explosive power forward with improving skills. He’ll make a good No. 2 scorer.
3 Utah Jazz
(from Nets)
Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky/Turkey
This is where the draft starts to get interesting. The Jazz got this pick from the Deron Williams trade, so they need to hit a home run here. That’s why they should roll the dice on Kanter. Because the NCAA declared him ineligible at Kentucky, he hasn’t played in an organized game in more than a year. But he’s a crafty power forward who can play center as well. He’s not super-athletic, but he plays physical and can also step out and make jump shots.
4 Cleveland Cavaliers
Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic
The Cavs will land their next franchise player in Irving with the first pick. They should be willing to take a chance with this selection. Vesely is a super-athletic forward with lots of upside. At worst, he should be a solid defender who can get some transition baskets playing alongside Irving. And if he continues to develop his skills, he could be one of the most well-rounded forwards in the league.
5 Toronto Raptors
Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut
The Raptors might grab Brandon Knight instead, but here’s why I think Walker is the second-best guard in the draft. First, he’s incredibly athletic and quick. He’ll be able to create on his own at the next level. At the very least, he’ll provide instant offense as a great sixth man. Second, he’s a proven winner who can take and make the big shots. Knight, on the other hand, wilted in his Final Four loss to Walker’s Huskies.
6 Washington Wizards
Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania
The Wizards are pretty bummed out getting only the sixth pick. They should be thinking upside, upside, upside here. Valanciunas is raw—he still needs to add some muscle, but has the frame to do so. But he’s also very long and very athletic with good skills around the basket. As a teenager he was a solid contributor in the Lithuanian league, one of the highest-level leagues in the world.
7 Sacramento Kings
Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
A lot of experts have Knight going much higher than this, but I’m not buying it. He does have better size than Kemba Walker, he has a sweet three-point stroke, and he is young (remember, Walker had a nightmare game at the Final Four when he was Knight’s age). But I don’t think Knight is a good enough athlete to get his shots off consistently (or defend top point guards). And I don’t think he has the natural point guard instincts to be a game manager point guard. I see him as an undersized shooting guard whose role will be to catch-and-shoot, which could make him a solid player alongside aggressive combo guard Tyreke Evans.
8 Detroit Pistons
Bismack Biyombo, PF, Congo
When the Pistons were one of the best in the NBA during the mid 2000’s, they were built around Ben Wallace. Well, Biyombo could be a poor man’s Big Ben a few years down the road. He’s a strong, athletic, shot-blocking force. He’s worked his way into significant minutes in Spain’s ACB league. And considering ACB is the second-best basketball league in the world after the NBA (it’s a much higher level than college basketball in the U.S.), that’s no small feat for an 18-year-old. If he ever develops any sort of offensive game (right now, all he can do is dunk), he’ll be one of the best in this draft class.
9 Charlotte Bobcats
Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas
The Bobcats are searching for a replacement since trading Gerald Wallace to Portland at last year’s trade deadline. Morris isn’t on the same level as Wallace, but he’s an athletic forward who could be an intriguing No. 2 or 3 option if he continues to improve his jump shot.
10 Milwaukee Bucks
Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
Leonard is a big, powerful small forward who can bring what head coach Scott Skiles wants most: defense. I think he’ll fit right in with Milwaukee’s style.
11 Golden State Warriors
Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Free agent addition David Lee didn’t make much of a difference last year, as the Warriors were still one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA. Enter Faried, a rebounding machine who spurred Morehead’s upset over Louisville in last year’s NCAA Tournament. He’s not much of an offensive player, but he’ll bring what the Warriors need.
12 Utah Jazz
Alec Burks, SG/PG, Colorado
If they don’t grab a point guard with that No. 3 pick, Burks makes a lot of sense for the Jazz. He’s a combo guard who can score, but he was also making some strides as a game manager last year. He’d fit well alongside Devin Harris, a point guard with a scorer’s mentality.
13 Phoenix Suns
Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
The Suns’ window for a championship in the Steve Nash era has just about closed. They should make one more desperate run by picking up a player who can help immediately, like Thompson. He’s a long-armed, left-handed power forward who could pick up some points and rebounds off the bench next season. And maybe Nash could teach him to shoot free throws.
14 Houston Rockets
Chris Singleton, SF/PF, Florida State
I think Singleton should go higher than this, but I’m not sure he will because he’s not much of an offensive player. What he is is a relentless defensive stopper with the size to guard some power forwards and the athleticism to stay with a lot of shooting guards. The Rockets couldn’t stop anyone last year, but Singleton could put an end to that.
15 Indiana Pacers
Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania
The 7-footer has a rare blend of size and perimeter skills. He started to add some muscle last season, though he still needs to add a little more if he’s going to bang on the boards in the NBA. He’s been a great inside-outside scoring threat in Italy despite his youth (20 years old last season). But the worrisome part of Motiejunas’s game is a seeming lack of intensity. He shies away from contact too often, and doesn’t show a lot of effort on defense.
16 Philadelphia 76ers
Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State
The Sixers need someone who can knock down a three-pointer, and Thompson, son of former Blazers and Lakers forward Mychal Thompson, could step into that role. He’s a little one-dimensional, but at this point in the draft teams aren’t going to find a future All-Star.
17 New York Knicks
Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
Every year it’s the same thing: The Knicks need defense. This year, they’ll get it in the “other” Morris twin. Markieff was more of a role player to twin brother Marcus at KU, but he’ll do the dirty work that—defense and rebounding—the Knicks need alongside star Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
18 Washington Wizards
(from Hawks)
Tobias Harris, PF, Tennessee
Harris didn’t dominate as a freshman, but he showed flashes. While he doesn’t have the athleticism of a op forward, H\he has a nice inside-outside skill set and could be a valuable role player for the Wiz.
19 Charlotte Bobcats
(from Hornets)
Jimmer Fredette, PG/SG, BYU
If there’s one thing the Bobcats are lacking, it’s excitement. Fredette is far from a perfect prospect, but he’ll definitely bring some excitement. He can score, so he’ll at least be a nice guy to have on the bench. What the Bobcats will try to do is improve his defense and get him to trust his teammates. Remember, Jimmer didn’t have much talent around him at BYU. Playing alongside NBA-caliber players should make him a more willing passer, and possible the Bobcats’ point guard of the future.
20 Minnesota Timberwolves
(From Grizzlies)
Josh Selby, PG/SG, Kansas
Many thought Selby would be the best freshman in college basketball last year. But because of eligibility issues, then injuries, he didn’t fulfill his promise. He was also asked to play off the ball, which isn’t his strength. The T-Wolves could try to make him into a point guard, and he could add some explosive scoring to their team. This late in the first round, he’s definitely worth the risk.
21 Portland Trail Blazers
Trail Blazers
Kyle Singler, SF, Duke
The Blazers would do well to bring Singler home. An Oregon native, he’s a versatile forward who plays hard on the defensive end. He’d be a nice guy to have in the second unit.
22 Denver Nuggets
Lucas Nogueira, C/PF, Brazil
Tapping into the Brazil pipeline worked once for Denver. That’s where they found star big man Nene. Nogueira is years away from being ready to contribute, but the Nuggets are already loaded with a deep roster of young talent. The last thing they need is another young role player. Nogueira is very raw and very skinny, but few 7-footers can leap like he can. He could develop into a great compliment to Nene.
23 Houston Rockets
(from Magic)
Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
I have the Rockets going defense with Chris Singleton earlier in the first round, so why not go offense with pick No. 2. Hamilton has an NBA build and has shown the ability to catch-and-shoot. He needs to learn to move the ball more effectively and give better effort on defense, but he could at least help out as a role player off the bench.
24 Oklahoma City Thunder
Tyler Honeycutt, SG/SF, UCLA
Honeycutt is intriguing to me. He has good size and a high basketball IQ, and a lot of UCLA players have proven to be better in the NBA than they were in college. With the ability to do a little bit of everything, he would seem to be an ideal guy for a Thunder team that has their young stars in place.
25 Boston Celtics
Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia
The Celtics have to get younger in the frontcourt. They added Jeff Green at the trade deadling last year, and Thompkins could be another piece to the puzzle. He’s not much of an athlete and is likely only a part-time player in the NBA. But he has a very nice shooting stroke for a big man. He could definitely finish off some Rajon Rondo passes with some made jumpers.
26 Dallas Mavericks
Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
Brooks was a great player on a bad team last year, but can he become a role player on a good one? It’s worth finding out late in the first round. Brooks has a reputation as a hard worker, and with his scorer’s mentality he could definitely provide some scoring punch off the bench.
27 New Jersey Nets
(from Lakers)
Jeremy Tyler, PF/C, San Diego High School/Japan
Right now, Tyler’s story is a sad one. Like Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, he decided to play overseas rather than going to college. Though, unlike Jennings, Tyler left before his senior year of high school. He had a disastrous stint in Israel and ended up quitting midseason two years ago. Last year, he was a solid reserve for a team in Japan. He’s still a teenager and has loads of potential. He’s huge an an elite athlete, and some NBA teams feel he would have been a lottery pick if he had stayed in the U.S. There are concerns about his maturity, but Tyler’s upside makes him worth the risk this late in the first round, especially for a rebuilding team like the Nets.
28 Chicago Bulls
(from Heat)
Davis Bertans, SF, Latvia
Bertans is a long (6’ 10”) wing player who’s still growing into his body. The 18-year-old told Draft Express that he grew eight inches in the past two years! While it could be a while before he’s ready to hold up to the physical pounding of an NBA game, his shooting is definitely at an NBA level. Bertans is deadly from pretty much anywhere on the court. The Bulls could use a second deep threat (along with Kyle Korver) to stretch opposing defenses, and Bertans could be that guy a few years down the road.
29 San Antonio Spurs
Nikola Vucevic, PF, USC
The Spurs need to replace frontcourt enforcer Antonio McDyess, who will likely retire during the offseason. Vucevic could fill the role nicely. He’s not a great offensive player, but he’s tall with long arms, and he showed a willingness to get physical at USC.
30 Chicago Bulls
Travis Leslie, SG, Georgia
The Bulls should keep surrounding Derrick Rose with athletic role players, and they don’t come much more athletic than Leslie. He was a human highlight reel with his dunks at UGa. While he’s never going to be much help at the offensive end of the court, he definitely has the size and strength to become the kind of gritty defender Chicago craves.
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No he didn't... Its Celtics

I wanted Brandon Kinght to go to Boston!!!!!!!1

wizards will win the playoffs

omg Davis Bertans is on the bulls

The title says mock draft. They're predictions. Not all of these picks are true. Davis Bertans is not on the Bulls.

Kyrie Irving was not the best choice in the NBA Draft. By the way anybody know who GoofyThunder5 is.

OMG!!!! Jimmer Fredette is on the Kings!

the jazz should have got him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thomphsons gonna have a preety good year with the Celtics.


This is great.Now I know Kemb Walker is on the RAPTORS!LETS GO RAPTORS!

I think if Cleveland gets Enes Kanter 1st then the Jazz at #3 will get Jimmer Fredette that the only thing I Disagree with Jimmer Fredette will not go to the Bobcats, how I know this. Jimmer has not worked out with the Bobcats only The Jazz, Kings, and Pacers.

Mavericks all the way. I hate the Heat cuz of LeBron. But Dallas won the playoffs

idk about irving going first i think it should be williams

i LOVE the mavs

dudee nets all the way this year if only they hadnt given up their first round pick

Selby + Rubio=an amazing young duo at guard

i think that we haven't seen enough of kyrie irving for him to be the #1 overall

The Cavs should get Derrick Williams because he will be the next Lebron.

No he won't

Basically saying D-Will's gonna become a fan favorite superstar and one day break the hearts of his fans by leaving his team for a star studded disappointment-of-a-team and become hated by almost the whole NBA? He's not a guy who would do that. But I don't know enough about him yet, so the T-Wolves are gonna find out.

Jimmers the next Jordan except the dunking and SG part. He is going to shoot 3's like CRAZY!

jimmer will be the next john stockon

Trailblazers are the best team ever esppicily with Gearled Wallace on their team!!!!!!!!!!!!

no chance they r good but not the best

gearled wallas isn't very good

Icant believe what happend in the finals

go celtics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

you like the celtics

You spelled Celtics wrong and my favorite team is the Trailblazers

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