ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Chad Ford agreed during Tuesday’s episode of “The B.S. Report” podcast that the 2011 NBA Draft will not produce a top-five player at any position, so teams must choose wisely to maximize their ROI. Here are the top 10 NBA mock draft picks for 2011, in case your team needs help.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG (Duke)
While not a superstar, Kyrie Irving is the kind of player who does many things well and should end up being a top-15 point guard. Considering that the Cavs still need the kind of leadership Baron Davis’ scraggly beard and oversized ego could not provide, Irving could serve them well.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Enes Kanter, C (Turkey)
While Kevin Love turned in a fantastic season under the boards for the Wolves, the team still has a great deal of rebuilding ahead. If the team is going to keep Love interested, they’ll need a big man to make them respectable. The 6-foot-11, 272-pound Enes Kanter is considered a gamble by some, but many scouts see him as a high-energy rebounder and defender who would make opposing guards think twice about strolling down the lane.
Utah Jazz: Derrick Williams, SF (Arizona)
Derrick Williams is a smart player who can shoot and penetrate, skills that translate more to small forwards in the NBA, despite the fact that he was a power forward as a Wildcat. However, if Utah throws up its hands over the remaining 2011 NBA Draft crop and decides to go for a popular pick, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette would be a PR slam dunk, if not a sound basketball decision.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valanciunas, C (Lithuania)
The Cavs need an active big man under the boards to help Anderson Varejao, and Jonas Valanciunas fits the description.
Toronto Raptors: Kemba Walker, PG (Connecticut)
Toronto badly needs a new point guard, and Kemba Walker brings the speed, athleticism and moxie the Raptors’ roster needs.
Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard, SF (San Diego State)
A relentless rebounder and explosive athlete, Leonard is the kind of wing player the Wizards need to run with John Wall.
Sacramento Kings: Brandon Knight, PG (Kentucky)
Knight’s speed, defense and a good outside shot from the point would allow the Kings to use Beno Udrih as the super backup or second ball-handler the offense needs to really get moving.
Detroit Pistons: Jordan Hamilton, SF (Texas)
With Tayshaun Prince leaving as a free agent, small forward becomes top priority. Hamilton can shoot and rebound the ball.
Charlotte Bobcats: Jimmer Fredette, SG (BYU)
If he’s still available, Charlotte will likely go for Fredette so that at least one player on the roster will be able to score consistently from outside. Otherwise, Bismack Biyombo from the Congo should amp up the frontcourt athleticism while aggressively challenging shots.
Milwaukee Bucks: Tristan Thompson, PF (Texas)
While undersized at 6-foot-8 and only 225 pounds, Thompson will run. If the Bucks aren’t gun shy following the failed Yi Jianlian pick from 2007, they may go international and snag Biyombo if he’s available.
Bleacher Report: http://bit.ly/kuOQ8z
Fox Sports: http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/2011-NBA-draft-lottery-winner-051711
The Sporting News: http://bit.ly/kYTnGq
2011 NBA Draft Lottery highlight: The final three
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