Tag:2011 NBA Draft
Posted on: June 23, 2011 7:46 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 12:42 am
 

NBA Draft: Wolves select Derrick Williams No. 2



Posted by Royce Young

(Follow along with our DraftTracker)

After weeks of posturing and talking, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended up doing pretty much what we all expected them to do: They drafted Derrick Williams from Arizona.

(Now, before I really get into this, keep in mind the Wolves could very well trade Williams later. Maybe by the end of the night, maybe tomorrow. Just want to get that out there.)

I think everyone agrees that the second best player in this draft was Williams, with some even seeing him as maybe the best. So to take him second overall makes sense. What didn't make sense for the Wolves, and the reason they shopped the pick so hard, is how Williams fits within the already jumbled roster David Kahn has assembled. It makes sense to move Michael Beasley now and clear room for Williams to play. But if that doesn't happen, the Wolves rotation is a total mess of raw talent without any rhyme or reason.

Which is what makes the most sense. A core of Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Williams isn't a bad trio. Love and Williams are a bit similar and with Williams kind of being a tweener forward, there could be some awkwardness in the two fitting together, but you have to go with him here.

It still makes a lot of sense for the Wolves to move Williams if a deal comes along, but for now, the idea is for Kahn to clear out the clutter a bit and really let his core of young, talented players take over. That's how the Thunder built around Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and at the same, Jeff Green. Those guys had room to fail, then grow and most importantly, develop. Give Williams and company room to breathe and the Wolves might eventually start to make some progress.

In all honesty, Williams may have the most star power of any player in this draft. Love is a very good player -- an All-Star. But I'm not sure he's a true building block star that can carry you. Williams very well might be. He shot 57 percent from 3-point range last season, can play above the rim and score the ball. It's a question of his defense at the next level and a question of where he plays.

There was talk of Enes Kanter at No. 2 as well, but that would've been a copout "fit" pick. Not necessarily a bad selection, but when you're the Wolves, you can't afford to potentially miss out on a star player. Williams was the obvious choice, and the right one.

Now we've just got to see if they hang on to him.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 10:13 pm
 

NBA Draft: Cavaliers select Kyrie Irving

Posted by Matt Moore

For complete draft coverage, check out our Draft Tracker

With the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Kyrie Irving, point guard, from Duke University.

Irving has been the top pick since last summer and after a brief dip after his injury in the winter, he returned to the top spot in a flurry of offensive firepower in the NCAA tournament. Irving gives Cleveland not just an athletic playmaking point guard with a jumper, but a franchise quality player with a humble attitude and great basketball IQ.

The question will be who the Cavs will build around Irving. Anderson Varejao is rumored to be being moved and with the No. 4 pick is expected to be used on a big man such as Jonas Valanciunas or Enes Kanter if available. Irving will function as both scorer and distributor for the team. He volunteered for a thorough physical to remove doubts about his toe and has been completely cleared.

Irving's closest comparison is Chris Paul, though he's not the player Paul was when he was drafted. Still, Irving is described by nearly every analyst as "special" and the kind of player the Cavs needed to get in order to kick off their rebuilding project. Landing the top pick with the lottery selection they got in a trade of Mo Williams to the Clippers, Irving represents what the Cavaliers hopes will be a change of luck for a notoriously fate-challenged franchise.

Irving's athleticism isn't of Calipari-point-guard caliber, but he also has a polished jumper and excellent vision. He's not elite at the level of John Wall, but he does have a great overall mix of abilities. Derrick Williams would have been a solid choice here, but Irving was simply the best player available. The question will be if he will reflect the overall quality of this draft, or if he truly is their franchise player to help rebuild the broken kingdom LeBron James left behind.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 6:17 pm
 

Signs point to Wizards taking Vesely

Posted by Matt Moore

From Michael Lee of the Washington Post:  
For what it’s worth, the Wizards have invited staff members from the Czech Republic Embassy to attend the team’s draft party at Verizon Center on Thursday. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Wizards will take forward Jan Vesely with the sixth overall pick, but it certainly is an indication that he is in strong consideration to join John Wall in Washington.
via Does Wizards’ NBA draft invite provide clue to pick? - Wizards Insider - The Washington Post.

With Vesely being A. Czech, B. the best available small forward (arguably, depending on your love of Kawhi Leonard), and C. the most athletic player who isn't completely raw (see: Biyombo, Bismack), this seems to make a lot of sense.

Vesely has gotten lost in the Kanter-Valanciunas-Motiejunas-Biyom
bo foreign player shuffle. He's not a good, let alone great, shooter, but he's got good footwork in the post, great length and athleticism, and incredible aggression. The kid plays with an outright fire you don't see out of a lot of the Euro prospects who come over, given that so much of the European game is guided by touch. Vesely is considered older at 21, but still has great upside and on the break with John Wall would be an absolute terror.

We'll have to see if this just the most elaborate smokescreen you're going to find.  
Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 1:26 pm
 

NBA Rumor: Blazers, Magic to swap Miller, Nelson?

The Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic are reportedly discussing a trade involving Andre Miller and Jameer Nelson. Posted by Ben Golliver. andre-miller

The Portland Trail Blazers are clearly looking for an upgrade at point guard. The Orlando Magic are always looking to shake things up, especially after the team bounced out of the NBA playoffs in the first round and now feels the pressure to do whatever it takes to keep franchise center Dwight Howard from skipping town.

Could the two teams find a deal that satisfies their mutual interest? DraftExpress.com reports that they are working on it: "Hearing Portland and Orlando are talking about swapping Andre Miller and Jameer Nelson, with the #21 pick going to Orlando." 

Miller is on the books for $7.3 million while Nelson's contract figure is at $7.8 million, so the two players could be swapped for each other without other contracts being thrown in. Nelson is on the books through 2012-2013 while Miller can either be waived before June 29 for salary cap relief or can be paid $7.8 million next season. The Blazers would have no issue taking on the additional salary because the team lacks depth at the point guard position and realizes Miller is not the long-term solution. The Magic, meanwhile, would likely keep Miller or flip him for another point guard rather than waive him, as Gilbert Arenas represents the only available option at the one. 

Miller is 35 years old while Nelson is 29, so the interest from Portland's side would come from getting younger at the point guard position. Nelson boasts an NBA Finals appearance on his resume and has actually played in the same number of playoff games (39) as Miller, despite being six years younger. He also is a career 39.0% 3-point shooter, a significant upgrade over Miller (20.4%). For years, the Blazers have repeated a desire to improve their outside shooting.

What he lacks in range, Miller makes up for in basketball smarts, consistency and play-making. In 2010-2011, he averaged 12.7 points and 7.0 assists -- compared to Nelson's 13.1 points and 6.0 assists. He is also one of the league's most durable players, and has not missed a game due to injury in eight seasons. He's also one of the league's best lob passers, an excellent weapon if he were to be paired with Howard. He has yet to win a playoff series in his 11-year career, though, a potential red flag or sticking point for a team like Orlando which is desperate to win now to appease Howard.

The Magic currently only have one pick, a second round selection at No. 53 overall. 

Given the difference in age between the two players, it feels like Orlando should be able to siphon off additional, minor assets if a Miller-for-Nelson swap were to go through. The No. 21 pick in a relatively weak draft wouldn't seem to make up for the difference in future productivity between the two players, especially given the affordable nature of Nelson's contract.
 
The Blazers have also been linked to San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, as recently as last night.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 11:43 am
 

Biyombo got a Green Room invite?

Posted by Royce Young

The invite list for the Green Room is already 14 long, but according to a tweet from Andy Katz of ESPN.com, add one more to the list.

Mystery man Bismack Biyombo is set to join the other projected lottery people in the Green Room for the draft tonight. The NBA invites players that it expects to be lottery picks to the Green Room. Biyombo either wasn't initially included or it just wasn't known, but the Congolese big man has been up and down the past few weeks with people trying to figure out where he'll land.

Right now, most projections have Biyombo going somewhere in the middle of the lottery, but a few mock drafts have him going as high as No. 4. Biyombo is an impressive athlete and potentially a game-changer on the defensive end. He's a raw talent but someone that a team looking for a big man will likely target.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:46 am
 

2011 NBA Draft LiveChat and Experience

Join us starting at 1PM EST for a marathon NBA Draft LiveChat and Experience, coming to you from Newark, NJ at the site of the NBA Draft. We'll have our NBA bloggers sharing the latest news and taking your questions. We'll also have guest appearances from our college basketball experts at 2PM EST, and we'll talk NFL and labor news at 3PM EST. We'll be talking draft all the live-long day. As the day goes on you'll get the live experience from Ben Golliver who's on the scene of the draft sharing audio, video, and images from the draft. Join us, starting at 1PM EST!

 
Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 11:33 am
 

Rockets looking to trade up in draft for big man

Posted by Matt Moore

The Houston Rockets may have a dilemma at their spot, but they have no intention of hanging around to bite their fingernails over it. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Rockets are shopping their two first-round picks, the No. 14 and No. 23, in order to move into the top ten. Specifically, Berger reports that talks have opened with the Detroit Pistons in a two-for-one swap that would allow the Rockets to get what they really want: a big man. Berger reports that late-riser Tristan Thompson is at the top of the list, along with Congolese phenom Bismack Biyombo.

The Pistons don't have an outstanding need beyond getting rid of their locker room-cancer vets, so this makes sense. It puts the Pistons in a position to gain more depth without getting stuck with a pick that's too good not to take, but only in a draft this low on star power. Still, that eight spot will have one of several good prospects available, especially with some of the reaches being discussed. However, it sounds like Detroit's not the only team Houston is chatting with in an attempt to move up. 

The Racine Journal-Times reports that the Rockets are also talking to the Bucks about the No. 10 pick, and this one is more than just a pick-swap, there are players involved: 
The teams have tossed around different trade scenarios with Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova being prominently mentioned.

It's hardly a secret the Bucks would be interested in Rockets forward Patrick Patterson, whom the Bucks were hoping to land in last summer's draft.
The Bucks could also have interest in Rockets forwards Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, yet another player they liked in the 2009 draft.
via BUCKS NOTES: Milwaukee, Houston discussing a deal.

Ilyasova is a promising all-around player still with upside at 24, and would give the Rockets a talented big man to pair with Luis Scola. Patterson seems like a high cost, though, as he showed a world of potential in his rookie season. Budinger is just the kind of player that GM Daryl Morey often raises the value of and then sells high on, while Hill is still somewhat of a project. Draft Express reports that the Rockets may have sweetened their deal by including Courtney Lee, which would likely get the Bucks' interest considering their desperate need for backcourt depth.

The Rockets' pursuit of a big man makes all the sense in the world, considering Yao Ming's highly questionable return to Houston and their glaring need for height. Thompson makes for an odd fit next to Luis Scola, but Thompson has been the one player who has made the hardest charge up the draft rankings in the past 24 hours, with some reports pegging him as high as No. 4. Biyombo on the other hand is a freak athlete with great work ethic and the <a href="http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/?year=2011&sort2=DESC&draft=0&pos=0&source=All&sort=5" target="_blank">second-greatest wingspan of any prospect in the draft. Fellow workout prospect Chris Singleton described Biyombo as being able to scratch his knees standing up yesterday, which is just circus-clown freaky.

The Rockets need a homerun. In a draft without really any of those types of pitches, the Rockets seem dedicated to fighting their way into the batter's box anyway.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 10:42 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 10:55 pm
 

Derrick Williams: Compare me to Dirk, not LeBron

Arizona forward Derrick Williams distances himself from LeBron James but welcomes a comparison to Dirk Nowitzki. Posted by Ben Golliver. derrick-williams

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Derrick Williams would rather be compared to Dirk Nowitzki than LeBron James.
 
In one of the most interesting scenes from Wednesday's NBA Draft media availability at the Westin in Times Square, Williams, a forward out of Arizona who is expected to be the second player selected in Thursday's 2011 NBA Draft, went out of his way to repeatedly distance himself from James.

Williams, who averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Wildcats as a sophomore, has done this through the pre-draft process any time someone asks him what it would like to be taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick. Clearly, there will be a huge burden that goes with filling James' sneakers after he abandoned the Cavaliers to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for the Miami Heat. The storyline takes on added emphasis in Williams' case because he throws down his fair share of highlight reel dunks and because he wore No. 23 -- the number James wore for the Cavaliers -- at Arizona.

"I don’t want to be LeBron, I don’t want to be anything like it," Williams said bluntly. "Whoever gets picked at the No. 1 spot, that’s what the city is going to be looking for. ‘The Next LeBron.’ If they pick me, I don’t want to be labeled next to him. He’s going to go down as one of the top 25 best players to ever play the game. I’m not trying to be like him. I just want to go out and play my game like I’ve been doing my whole career."

While Duke University point guard Kyrie Irving is the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall, Williams told the media that they shouldn't count him out yet.

"I think there’s always a chance," he said. "We’ll never know until that draft pick comes. One or two, it’s an amazing feeling."

As Wednesday developed, "one or two" started to sound less and less like a guarantee. The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the No. 2 pick and are reportedly shopping the pick hard while also giving consideration to Turkish big man Enes Kanter. Williams is considered a clear-cut top two player in this draft by most talent evaluators, but the Timberwolves already have forward Michael Beasley in place, who shares some similarities with Williams in that he is a combination forward who is a versatile scoring threat.

"Me and Mike Beasley probably play a little similar," Williams admitted. "I probably like to shoot a little bit more than him. On the advantage side of that, it’s hard to guard two guys that similar. You rarely have two guys that play similar on the same team."

It's unclear whether having two players who both need touches on the same team with Kevin Love would actually be an advantage or a disadvantage. At least it's clear Williams has given some more thought to questions about his position.

Soon after the Draft Lottery, Williams began steadfastedly maintaining that he is a small forward, even though his body -- 6-foot-9, 250 pounds -- and his college résumé pegs him as at least a stretch power forward, if not an undersized four. On Wednesday, he seemed to concede that his game probably isn't as clear cut as he might have wanted to make it. 

"I don’t want to be labeled as one position," Williams said. "My whole life I’ve been labeled as multiple positions and multiple spots on the offensive and defensive side. 

"There are so many types of different players these days. You look at Dirk Nowitzki, he’s a four but he’s never in the post, he’s on the wing. Lamar Odom, he’s a combo four. Hybrid fours like Antawn Jamison. I think I fit well in this league."

It's strange to hear a high-flyer like Williams compare himself to Nowitzki, and that's probably wishful thinking. There's only one Nowitzki. Physically, the two don't have similar body types and Williams definitely doesn't have Nowitzki's array of jumpers. The Odom and Jamison combinations fit a little better.

Williams knows that regardless of what position he plays, defined or not, he has an adjustment coming. "There’s a lot of bigger guys on the court. Strength-wise, I would probably say that [is my biggest fear]," Williams said. "Just not being as big as everybody else. At the college level I was bigger than most guys. I can’t use that to my strength now.

In this, Williams, who won't fall past the Utah Jazz at No. 3, is correct. If he's worried about his strength at the NBA level, he definitely shouldn't be compared to James.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com