1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving, PG DUKE (1)
The Cavs could get creative if they think Brandon Knight is comparable to Irving and as a result, take Derrick Williams here and hope for Knight at #4. In the end, I think they’ll go Irving. The NBA is becoming a league dominated by elite point guards, the Cavs can’t pass one up. The only question that remains: who wants Baron Davis?
Other possibility – Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter, likelihood of either: low
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, SF/PF ARIZONA (2)
If Ricky Rubio signs, as is rumored, getting the #2 pick is probably just the same as getting #1. There is no question they will shop this pick and it seems like there could be a fair amount of interest in either Williams or Enes Kanter, especially if the new CBA lowers the cap and teams around the league look to cut salary. If they can’t turn this pick into a borderline star they’ll probably take Williams, although Kanter also makes a lot of sense.
Other possibility – Kyrie Irving (steal) or Enes Kanter (reach)
3. Utah Jazz – Enes Kanter, C TURKEY (3)
In my opinion, there are three no brainer top 3 picks in this draft and they are represented by the top 3 picks in this mock. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if by June 23 Kanter has auditioned himself into the top 2. He’s big, strong, offensively gifted and quick for his size. As a prospect, the only thing he’s not is a shot blocker. This would create a bit of a jam in Utah’s front court but I’m guessing they’re done with Mehmet Okur and will try to move either Al Jefferson or Paul Milisap this offseason.
Other possibility: There’s a decent chance they’ll take Brandon Knight here instead. All depends on how they view Devin Harris in their long term plans.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jan Vesely, SF CZECH REPUBLIC (7)
If the Cavs don’t deal this pick I think they’ll go for a homerun. Any foreign player is tough to project in the NBA and so by default one taken this high is a big risk/reward pick. That being said, I think the Cavs view JJ Hickson as a solid big man to move forward with along with Irving. Vesely’s game has flashes of Dirk Nowitzki and Andrei Kirilenko and is fairly NBA ready. He'll be the first Euro after Kanter off the board.
Other possibility: If Enes Kanter falls there’s no doubt he’s the pick. Kawhi Leonard has an outside chance, as well.
5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight, PG KENTUCKY (4)
Truth be told, I don’t know what the Raptors will do here. Andres Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis are likely building blocks for the future. They have Jose Calderon at point but he’s not a long term option, so I think they take the best player available in Knight.
Other possibility: Kemba Walker is likely if Knight is already gone. Jan Vesely will get a long look, but there could be some redundancy issues with him and Bargnani.
6. Washington Wizards – Marcus Morris, PF KANSAS (14)
Morris isn’t anything to get excited about (that was last year when they got John Wall) but he could end up being one of the safest bets in this whole draft. He plays hard and is good at everything you’d want a PF to be good at. This, of course, assumes they aren’t sold on Andrey Blatche as a legit starting piece. If they are, this pick will be different.
Other possibility: Kanter has said he wants to go to the Wiz so they may find a way to move up and get him. Also, if they lose Nick Young I think Alec Burks has a great chance of going here.
7. Sacramento Kings – Kawhi Leonard, SF SAN DIEGO STATE (11)
The Kings have a lot of wing players but none of them are very good. I get the feeling they aren’t pleased with the development of Tyreke Evans, especially as a makeshift point guard. They’ll think about taking a true point but the next best one is Kemba Walker and a Evans-Kemba backcourt would probably set the record for all time fewest assists by a starting guard duo. Leonard is a safe and slightly boring pick but he has very little bust potential and will compliment Evans and DeMarcus Cousins well as a guy who doesn’t need the ball to be effective.
Other possibility: Brandon Knight is their #1 scenario. Their #2 scenario is probably trading the pick. Leonard is #3. Marcus Morris is #4.
8. Detroit Pistons – Bismack Biyombo, PF CONGO (6)
They’ll be looking for Ben Wallace v2.0 when they make this pick. It will be fears of Darko Milicic v2.0 that will prevent them from taking the better overall prospect, Jonas Valenciunas. At first glance, Biyombo would make for a slightly unorthodox pairing with Greg Monroe but their games actually complement each other well. Together, the pair could grow into one of the most defensively dominate front courts in the league.
Other possibility: They need almost everything. Taking an upside player like Jonas Valenciunas wouldn’t be a surprise.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Kemba Walker, PG UCONN (9)
Michael Jordan has a track record of drafting proven college players who have questionable upside in the pros. I suppose taking Kwame Brown first overall will tempt you to play things a little safe from there on out. Walker will fill a major need for the Bobcats at the very least, bring some excitement to a somewhat forgotten franchise.
Other possibility: Speaking of needing almost everything. The Bobcats can go in any direction. Kawhi Leonard to replace Gerald Wallace, or even better, a dude I love as a pro, Chris Singleton.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks, SG Colorado (5)
Michael Redd is technically still on roster. John Salmons was underwhelming at best last season. The Bucks need help on the wing. Burks isn’t a great shooter but he is underrated in almost every other regard. He’d be a great pick at this spot.
Other possibility: They might opt for the better shooting SG in Klay Thompson or look to replace the Drew Gooden mistake and opt for Tristan Thompson.
11. Golden State Warriors – Jonas Valenciunas, C LITHUANIA (13)
The Warriors will do everything in their power to get rid of Andres Biedrins and his bloated contract. That will leave them with a severe lack of size in their frontcourt. If, and this might be a big “if”, Valenciunas is guaranteed to leave Europe and play in the NBA next season they’d be getting themselves a heck of a center prospect. GSW has shown in past years that they aren’t afraid to take projects, like they did with Anthony Randolph and Brandon Wright.
Other possibility: Bismack Biyombo would be the rim protector they need. Or they take the other big Euro, Donatas Montiejunas.
12. Utah Jazz – Jimmer Fredette, PG BYU (12)
Last year the Jazz sniped the hometown destiny pick of Gordon Heyward going to Indiana. This year maybe the Pacers will find a way to move up and return the favor. Jimmer would enter into a great environment in Utah. The fans already love him and he could develop his game behind Devin Harris for a season or two before the reigns are fully handed over.
Other possibility: They look at a wing like Leonard or Singleton. Kemba, if he falls, is an option here, too.
13. Phoenix Suns – Tristan Thompson, PF TEXAS (15)
The Suns could go after Steve Nash’s replacement but there isn’t anyone available who fits the bill. Thompson will give them an actual inside presence to offset the entirely outside presence that is Channing Frye.
Other possibility: If The Jimmer falls they’d love it. Otherwise, they’ll be glad to take either Marcus or Markieff Morris, in that order.
14. Houston Rockets - Donatas Montejiunas, PF LITHUANIA (21)
Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of this guy. I do, however, understand why scouts like him so much. He’s basically a clone of Andres Bargnani, or rather a clone of what people hoped Bargnani would be come. With the team already having begun the gradual descent out of the playoff tier of teams in the Western Conference, the Rockets will look to replace the massive hole left by Yao Ming.
Other possibility: Hometown kid, Jordan Hamilton, is a lethal scorer and would fill a major need for them on the wing.
The rest of my Top 20 prospects not listed above...
- Kenneth Faried, PF MOREHEAD STATE (8)
- Chris Singleton, SF FLORIDA STATE (10)
- Josh Selby, PG/SG KANSAS (16)
- Klay Thompson, SG WASHINGTON (17)
- Jordan Hamilton, SF TEXAS (18)
- Marshon Brooks, SG PROVIDENCE (19)
- Reggie Jackson, PG BOSTON COLLEGE (20)