TSS 2011 Mock Draft

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Here’s my mock draft, if it means anything:

1. Cleveland

Kyrie Irving

Cleveland cannot afford to play games with their picks. With that roster, taking the best player available is always the choice at the top of the draft. So even with a “glut” of point guards, Irving seems to be the top guy.

2. Minnesota

Derrick Williams

I’m always weary of “tweeners” – very few eventually find a position and stick to it. As much as I love Thaddeus Young, it took 4 years to discover that Thad was a 4, not a 3. If Williams can find his position early and excel there, Williams could be great. But there’s some risk here.

3. Utah

Brandon Knight

This pick depends on whether you believe in the current makeup of the Utah frontline: Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and Paul Millsap. If you don’t like it, you’d put Enes Kanter here. If you do, and I do, then they go with Knight. I’m not sure there’s anyone else they would take here aside from Knight and Kanter.

4. Cleveland

Enes Kanter

A Kanter-Varejao-Hickson big combo with Kyrie Irving is a nice start to the rebuilding process. Now they’ll need some wings, which they can fill via trades, free agency, or the 2012 Draft.

5. Toronto

Kawhi Leonard

If there’s anything that Toronto could desperately use, it’s a defender at almost every position. Leonard fills that hole at about 3 of them. I could see them taking a chance on Biyombo as well, but my guess is that they’ll take Leonard, the better fit. A Calderon-DeRozan-Leonard-Bargnani-Ed Davis lineup can use some tweaks, but with Dwane Casey it’s a nice start to getting that franchise back on track.

6. Washington

Jan Vesely

Kawhi Leonard is probably the perfect fit here, too, with his defensive versatility on a team with players who don’t know how to play defense (JaVale McGee) or simply don’t care about it (Andray Blatche). As such, their biggest hole is either forward position, so Vesely gets the nod here. Him and Wall on the break should be fun, provided Nick Young passes the ball to them.

7. Sacramento

Jimmer Fredette

Don’t underestimate the lack of sensibility of owners without money. Otherwise, I’d just switch Fredette and Kemba Walker. I’ll believe the reports about the front office overruling the Maloofs when I see the pick come around.

8. Detroit

Bismack Biyombo

Valanciunas would be great here, but Joe Dumars is trying to keep his job. Jonas being in Europe will not help Joe. While Biyombo won’t be an instant contributor, he’ll play behind Ben Wallace for a year and maybe start a few games when the players engage in another mutiny.

But in all seriousness, Biyombo just fits here too perfectly, even though I’d like the chance to grab him.

9. Charlotte

Tristan Thompson

Haven’t heard Thompson in Charlotte before, but it works. Thompson’s arrival can move Boris Diaw back to the perimeter (and maybe get him into shape) and add a physical, active player to the team. Marcus Morris is probably a better fit here, with Tyrus Thomas on the squad and all. But Thompson is too talented to pass up, I believe, for Rich Cho and crew, and he would be my pick for them.

10. Milwaukee

Alec Burks

Milwaukee, at the wings, is older and unathletic. It was either Burks or Klay Thompson here, and I went with in my opinion the better fit.

11. Golden State

Jonas Valanciunas

Golden State needs size, and while Jonas will take at least a year to move to the NBA, his talent will be too much to let pass at this point.

12. Utah

Chris Singleton

The natural replacement for Andre Kirilenko as the versatile defender for this Jazz team, whose main weakness is on the wing positions.

13. Phoenix

Kemba Walker

I had a hard time putting Kemba this far down. He’s more talented than Jimmer, but I’m expecting the Maloofs to take Jimmer. And none of the teams in between is in position to take a point guard, except maybe Detroit. So Kemba will slide here. As I mentioned before, if drafting on talent, simply switch Kemba and Jimmer.

14. Houston

Nikola Vucevic

Houston desperately needs size, and Vucevic, the biggest player in the draft, brings that at the very least. Unless you consider Hasheem Thabeet to be a rotation player here, this is the logical pick.

15. Indiana

Klay Thompson

I don’t like this pick for Indiana, but the remaining 4s in this range aside from Kenneth Faried are redundant to the Pacers. They need a shooter, but I’m not sure this is much of an improvement over Brandon Rush.

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