Tag:NBA Draft
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:18 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:07 am
 

NBA Mock Draft v.3.0 by Dave Del Grande

The NBA Lottery was held Tuesday night, with the Cleveland Cavliers landing the No.1 overall spot, and the UtahJazz moving up to the No. 3 position. Here's our immediate mock draft reflecting the lottery results. This mock draft is by Dave Del Grande, EOB Blogger. 

Posted by Dave Del Grande

derrick-williams


Where’s Jared Sullinger when you need him?

The Cleveland Cavaliers could sure use the homegrown Ohio State standout, much as they parlayed fellow Buckeye State native LeBron James into seven memorable seasons earlier this decade.

Alas, Sullinger has decided to return to Ohio State for his sophomore season, no doubt believing he’d be surrounding himself with better talent than the Cavs had on display this past season.

But now with the first and fourth picks of the 2011 draft, that could be about to change.

So what do the Cavs do with the top pick? The good news is: They could use a little of everything. OK, maybe a lot of everything.

The next James could be nice. Heck, even the next Kevin Durant.

That guy probably doesn’t exist in the 2011 draft crop. But surely the prospect who comes closest to fitting the mold is Arizona swingman Derrick Williams.

You might have seen the two-year collegian play, but chances are you’ve never noticed his height and weight: 6-foot-8, 241 pounds. Hmmm … very James-like.

Whether he’s got the feet to fit into those big shoes is another matter.

Here’s my first mock projection of the 2011 NBA Draft.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers) -- Derrick Williams, SF, Arizona.
If they’d known dealing Mo Williams was going to bring them the No. 1 pick in the draft, they’d have done it a lot earlier. Chances are, this Williams will have a far greater impact.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke. Falling out of the No. 1 spot isn’t a big deal for the Timberwolves. In fact, they’d probably like to see Irving go first, because, truth be told, they’ve drafted enough point guards in recent years.

3. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey) -- Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky. Don’t be surprised if the Jazz attempt to package their picks to move up, because the dropoff from 2 to 3 in this year’s available talent is sizable. No doubt, Utah has its eyes on a certain BYU little guy at No. 12, so a big man is the obvious choice here.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky. The best thing about being the least talented team in the league is it makes draft night easy. You simply take the best available athlete that doesn’t duplicate the guy you’ve already selected.

5. Toronto Raptors -- Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut. Several international prospects are projected in the Top 10, but the Raptors are already overloaded with them. The Big East Conference standout will give American fans in the Northeast a reason to cross the border.

6. Washington Wizards-- Jan Vesely, C, Czech Republic. Yes, it’s early, but here is where the 2011 draft becomes a bit anonymous. The Wizards need a big man, and arguably the best three available at this point are foreigners. Roll the international tapes.

7. Sacramento Kings -- Jimmer Fredette PG, BYU. Saved by the bell at the end of the 2010-11 season, the Kings' franchise desperately needs a ticket-seller more than any in the league. Few have fascinated the masses more than Fredette this past season.

8. Detroit Pistons -- Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania. Here’s another candidate to move up, dangling at least one of their underachieving, highly-paid talents. Yeah, that’s more likely to move them down than up, but given the early run on their position of need (point guard), the Pistons have to try something.

9. Charlotte Bobcats -- Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State. The Bobcats would love to discover a reincarnation of a young Gerald Wallace. They might have had to win the lottery to accomplish that feat, but at least Leonard is better than what they have.

10. Milwaukee Bucks -- Bismark Biyembo, PF, Spain. The Bucks believe they’re ready to win now, so they’re looking for experience. Biyembo is a far greater talent than the best remaining collegiate senior.

11. Golden State Warriors  -- Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania. You might recall the last Lithuanian the Warriors drafted – Sarunas Marciulionis. That worked out well. This could, too, as he would address the club’s greatest need.

12. Utah Jazz -- Alec Burks, SG, Colorado. If they knew Fredette would be done by 12, I wouldn’t put it past the Jazz to take him at No. 3. That said, Burks might be a better fit for what the club needs – a deadly long-range shooter who can actually defend a bit.

13. Phoenix Suns -- Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State. Dealing Jason Richardson for Vince Carter was a mistake, so the goal here is finding a Richardson facsimile. Remarkably, Thompson looks the part.

14. Houston Rockets -- Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas. The Rockets have to be careful here. Their chief need is a center if Yao Ming doesn’t return. But if they draft a center, then maybe they'd be giving the big guy a reason not to come back. Morris can be sold as a sidekick.

15. Indiana Pacers -- Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas. The early run on point guards helps some talented power forwards slip through the lottery. You won’t hear the Pacers complaining.

16. Philadelphia 76ers -- Markief Morris, PF, Kansas. The 76ers need someone more like Samuel Dalembert, but he doesn’t exist this low in the draft. So taking the most defensive minded power forward has to suffice.

17. New York Knicks -- Chris Singleton, PF, Florida State. The Knicks are another team desperate for a defensive presence in the middle. Maybe Singleton can turn into a Tyson Chandler type. Then again, maybe not.

18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta) -- Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas. The run on big men in the middle of the round helps convince the Wizards going big early on was a wise choice. The slick Hamilton has a lot more potential here than someone taller.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans) -- Nolan Smith, PG, Duke. Neither of the remaining Duke prospects is Kyrie Irving, who would be the answer to the Hornets’ dreams. Smith makes a lot more sense as a hometown selection at this point than Kyle Singler.

20. Minnesota  Timberwolves (from Memphis) -- Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee. Recent history warns us the Timberwolves are more likely to draft a point guard here now that they’ve just taken another. But this time around, brighter minds should prevail.

21. Portland Trail Blazers -- Tyler Honeycutt, SF, UCLA. The freshman has the potential to be taken a lot higher, but he doesn’t have the size most of the teams immediately north of the Trail Blazers in the draft covet. So Portland gets a nice value here.

22. Denver Nuggets-- Jordan Williams, C, Maryland. The run on foreign big men who’ll never come to America is about to start, but unlike many of the teams in the high-rent district, the Nuggets actually need a center who can play.

23. Houston Rockets (from Orlando) -- Lucas Riva Nogueira, C, Brazil. Luis Scola might be a South American rival on the international trail, but they’d make a nice side-by-side tandem on any court. Of course, the Brazilian will be Yao’s backup (wink, wink).

24. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College. The Mavericks are said to have a big depth advantage over the Thunder in the Western finals. This selection helps Oklahoma City close that gap.

25. Boston Celtics--Davis Bertans, SF, Slovenia. Replacing Kendrick Perkins is the club’s top priority. The slender European isn’t exactly the guy, but at least he’s tall.

26. Dallas Mavericks-- Kyle Singler, SF, Duke. The Mavericks are as deep as any team in the league, so it’s unlikely anyone taken at this point will crack the rotation. But rest assured the hard-working Singler will give it a go.

27. New Jersey Nets (from L.A. Lakers) --JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue. It’s going to sting watching the Jazz use the Nets’ pick to take the third-best talent in the draft. But this Big Ten standout has a chance to contribute right away nonetheless.

28. Chicago Bulls (from Miami) --Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State. Most teams consider low first-rounders as the worst picks in the draft because of their two-year guarantees. The only thing worse is having two of them.

29. San Antonio Spurs --Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia. Life could be worse than making a seven-figure guaranteed salary to learn the NBA game from Tim Duncan. It’s worked well so far for DeJuan Blair.

30. Chicago Bulls --Nikola Mirotic, PF, Serbia. It’s best-available-athlete-who’s-least-likely-to-cross-the-p
ond time. At least it’ll give Mirotic a rooting interest next spring.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:06 am
 

Post-Lottery NBA Mock Draft v.3.1 by Matt Moore

The NBA Lottery was held Tuesday night, with the Cleveland Cavliers landing the No.1 overall spot, and the Utah Jazz moving up to the No. 3 position. Here's our immediate mock draft reflecting the lottery results. This mock draft is by Matt Moore, EOB Blogger. 

Posted by Matt Moore

kyrie-irving-5

1. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Kyrie Irving: The Cavs have to start over and just got a chance to do that. Irving is the consensus best player in the draft. Young, explosive, with an actual jumper, Irving's only questions is a toe injury that he returned from to dominate the NCAA tournament. He'll make for a great building block. The only question now: "Who's dumb enough to take Baron Davis off our hands?"

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Derrick Williams. The small-ball lineups for the Wolves next year with Williams at PF and Love at C are going to be awesome. Wes Johnson may spend more time at the 2 with Williams on board. If David Kahn can connive Ricky Rubio to come over, the Wolves are going to improve, finally. If Kahn doesn't screw this up.

3. Utah Jazz -- Brandon Knight. Knight's going to play in combo sets with Devin Harris. If he develops into a better PG, great, they can move Devin Harris. If he doesn't, he'll be an undersized SG, but still a legit scoring threat.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Jonas Valanciunas. You've got the PG, get the big man. Valanciunas is the lone Euro big in this draft who really impresses on the glass and off the pick and roll. 6-11, 240, he and Kyrie can set a new tone in Cleveland.

5. Toronto Raptors -- Jan Vesely. 6-11 forward with aggression. He's a Euro, which is going to mean Colangelo catching flak, but he's the best option. DeRozan slides to the 2 and Vesely's aggression gives the Raptors some much needed attitude.

6. Washington Wizards -- Kawhi Leonard. Kemba Walker's too small to pair with Wall, and the Euro bigs don't help with JaVale McGee and Blatch on roster. Leonard gives the Wizards a talented all-around SF to build around with Wall.

7. Sacramento Kings -- Kemba Walker. Well, the Kings have great size in the backcourt already with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton. Kemba Walker's not a great fit. He's small, a scorer, and could be a defensive liability. But he's Best Player Available, and the Kings don't have time for a project center.

8. Detroit Pistons -- Enes Kanter. Twin towers with Monroe. 'Nuff said.

9. Charlotte Bobcats -- Donatas Motiejunas. Well the Bobcats' future isn't super bright, so they can afford a project. Motiejunas isn't a great rebounder, but with Tyrus Thomas, maybe he doesn't have to be. Having a versatile low-post big man will help them, provided Jordan doesn't Kwame him.

10. Milwaukee Bucks -- Alec Burks. Bucks need scoring. Burks is a pure scorer. Happily ever after.

11. Golden State Warriors -- Bismack Biyombo. A project for a team with a long-term vision. Incredible physical tools and some explosiveness. Right system, Biyombo's a star. Wrong system, he's a bust.

12. Utah Jazz -- Marcus Morris. A terrible spot for Utah with all the raw size off the board. Morris allows for a trade of Millsap or Jefferson if they don't move the pick itself.

13. Phoenix Suns -- Tobias Harris. Versatility is the Suns' game. Harris' biggest liability is defense. The Suns don't defend much. Convenient.

14. Houston Rockets -- Tristan Thompson. Rough spot for the Rockets as well. Thompson is high-upside, and the Rockets can hope that he can play in some versatile lineups.

15. Indiana Pacers -- Josh Selby. Hey, you can't swing and miss on every Kansas shooting guard, right? Selby's a reach here, but his impressive workouts at Impact in Las Vegas could push him here.

16. Philadelphia 76ers -- Lucas Nogueira. 7-0, high upside. The Sixers can afford to take a project with the core they have. Nogueira could replace Hawes by end of season if things go right, or be the long-term solution.

17. New York Knicks -- Jimmer Fredette. Big name star, explosive scorer, defensive issues limited by system (or exaggerated if you will). Fredette's an easy one here.

18. Washington Wizards -- Kenneth Faried. The Anti-Blatche.

19. Charlotte Bobcats -- Klay Thompson. Can spell Tyrus Thomas when he inevitably gets in foul trouble.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Chris Singleton. Best player available for the Wolves.

21. Portland Trail Blazers -- Reggie Jackson. Nate McMillan says the backcourt must change. It starts here.

22. Denver Nuggets -- Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton falls among all the small forwards, and the Nuggets swoop him up with some big free agent questions lingering for them.

23. Houston Rockets -- Tyler Honeycutt. A solid player to work off-ball with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. BPA theorem in effect (Best Player Available).

24. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Davis Bertans. High upside player falls to the Thunder. Perimeter scoring and good size. A Euro replacement for Jeff Green.

25. Boston Celtics -- Charles Jenkins. A versatile perimeter threat with handle, could provide the bench scoring that was so badly missing this year.

26. Dallas Mavericks -- Travis Leslie. Mavericks need wings. The end.

27. New Jersey Nets -- Kyle Singler. A high energy guy with touch to pair with Brook Lopez and never get any rebounds ever.

28. Chicago Bulls -- Nolan Smith. The Bulls need shooters. Smith's the closest thing to it at this point.

29. San Antonio Spurs -- Keith Benson. Anyone who rebounds will do here.

30. Chicago Bulls -- Darius Morris. Hey, they're loaded at every other position. Why not?
Posted on: May 17, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 5:46 pm
 

NBA Mock Draft 2.0, Pre-Lotto Edition



The NBA Draft Lottery will be held Tuesday night and as always, the ramifications of the event could dramatically alter the future of one or more franchises. Don't believe? Consider that the Bulls were huge underdogs to land MVP Derrick Rose. Even in a draft many consider weak, the lottery changes the course of a franchise's history with a simple combination of ping pong balls. 

Before we know who's going to be in the top spot for "The Kyrie Lottery," we ran one more mock draft with Matt Moore and Ben Golliver from Eye on Basketball and Matt Norlander from CBSSports.com's College Basketball Blog. Here's how things look from our perspective before the lottery balls shake everything up.



1. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Kyrie Irving. Eventually, probably in a dark, empty room, Timberwolves president David Kahn will admit to himself that Ricky Rubio isn't coming to the NBA next season and that point guard remains the most glaring weakness on his abysmal roster. Everything we've seen in Round One of the NBA Playoffs reinforces a point guard's transformative power in today's game. Rajon Rondo. Derrick Rose. And, most importantly for teams at the top of the lottery list like the Timberwolves, Chris Paul. In David West's absence, Paul has carried a talent-deficient roster to two victories against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, dishing out dozens of assists and getting his points when needed. Duke point guard Kyrie Irving might not be Paul but he's really, really good, a can't-miss, multi-dimensional offensive threat who works hard, exhibits leadership qualities and has an excellent understanding of the game. If Paul can carry a debt-ridden, league-owned on the verge of contraction into Staples and come out with a victory, surely Irving can be the guy who eventually gets the Timberwolves to the playoffs for the first time since 2003-2004. Irving simply makes everyone else better, and lord knows Minnesota's roster can put that skill to good use.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Derrick Williams. The Cavaliers talent. Any talent they can get. Whatever talent they can find. And Williams is clearly the best talent on the board in a phenomenally weak draft. It would be better to build with Kyrie Irving, but in the 2 spot, Derrick Williams isn't a bad consolation price. Let's just hope no one freaks about the uber-athletic 6-8 combo forward coming in. Awk-ward.

3. Toronto Raptors -- Enes Kanter. The Turkish center will probably adapt more to the 4, but he's got incredible talent. Because he received money that was seen as more than the bare minimum while playing pro ball overseas, the NCAA never let him play with Kentucky. But those who have seen him work out rave about his collection of already-honed skills. Lack of competitive game play in the past year is a little disconcerting, but Kanter's seen as a once-every-five-years type of big man with the multitude of weapons he has.

4. Washington Wizards -- Jonas Valanciunas. The Wizards' reported interest in Kanter leaves them a bit crushed at the Raptors' decision, but they switch to Plan B: Best available big. Washington was a bottom five rebounding team despite promising center JaVale McGee so filling out the frontcourt depth is a primary concern. Picking the Lithuanian big man -- who has good touch around the rim and NBA size -- is a fairly easy decision as the other elite prospects are mostly point guards who would serve no purpose with John Wall installed as the face of the franchise.

5. Sacramento Kings -- Brandon Knight. Kyrie Irving would fit so awesomely in with the Kings 1-2-3 combo with Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans, but Brandon Knight's not a bad alternative. Knight showed a lot more versatility and polish in the Wildcats' NCAA tournament run than he had in conference play. With a quality jumpshot (rare for point guards entering the league), Knight can work as both the initiator of the offense and an endpoint kickout shooter with Tyreke Evans working as the distributor. The upgrade of Beno Udrih to Knight could help the Kings move out of the lottery and rebound from a disappointing year.

6. Utah Jazz- Jan Veseley. The Jazz can't take a legitimate big, they're stacked with Millsap, Favors and Jefferson. They can't take a point guard, they've got Devin Harris and after Knight the drop off is significant. Veseley has crazy athleticism, he's like a more explosive Kirilenko and could wind up with the same kind of stat-stuffing abilities while he learns behind the dragon-backed veteran, expected to re-sign in free agency. Veseley has some exciting highlight reels and his aggression to the basket is almost, dare we say, American.

7. Detroit Pistons -- Kemba Walker. Well, Mighty Mouse has to go sometime. The best/second-best player in college basketball season goes to Joe Dumars finally giving him the impetus to trade Rip Hamilton now that he has ownership to approve such a move. An explosive scorer who's going to be a defensive liability due to his size won't be able to be on the floor with Will Bynum but could also allow the Pistons to let Rodney Stuckey get away if he shows better passing ability than expected at the pro level. A good start to cleaning house is drafting a recognizable star, and Walker's nothing if not that.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Bismack Biyombo. With the top three point guards off the board, Cleveland adds to its frontcourt by selecting Bismack Biyombo, the Congolese sensation who took the Nike Hoop Summit by storm. Biyombo plugs in as ready to play from day one as a defensive specialist. There should be plenty of minutes available to get to work on refining his phenomenally athletic but raw game.

9. Charlotte Bobcats -- Kawhi Leonard. Gerald Wallace is gone. Alec Burks is going to be incredibly tempting for Jordan to take here, but Gerald Henderson's late season promise makes it just a little too difficult. A 2-3-4 lineup of Henderson-Leonard-Thomas makes for a good mix of athleticism, polish, and versatility, varying on the spectrum, with Leonard in the middle. It's a rebuilding....er.... decade for the Bobcats, and it's more important for them to take the obvious picks rather than gamble on one of the bajillion Euro bigs available.

10. Milwaukee Bucks -- Tristan Thompson. Fear the Deer. Has it already been a year since the Bucks were in the playoffs? Anyway, with Thompson, he's the prototype of Potential, Long NBA Prospect. Thompson lacks a fire, but he's got so much room to grow, has massive hands and will be a valuable Gumby for the Bucks -- and about 20 other NBA teams that'd love to have someone with his frame and 14 years of future. Beyond anything, Thompson has to go here because there's no way he slips below the 10 line. No way

11.Golden State Warriors -- Alec Burks. With questions about the long-term pairing of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, the Warriors opt to draft a potential Ellis replacement in Burks, whose size and skillset add up to that of a more traditional two. Burks can score in just about every conceivable manner and would work as instant offense off the bench should the Warriors decide to ride out the Curry/Ellis pairing for another season.

12. Utah Jazz -- Donatas Motiejunas. You're probably going to ask me what the difference is between Motiejunas, a 7-foot Euro who shot 46% behind the arc this season, and Mehmet Okur, a 7-foot Euro who is known for his perimeter shooting. Well, outside of Motiejunas' superior post-moves, not a whole lot. Motiejunas isn't a rebounding prospect, which is what the Jazz really need. But with the previous pick of Veseley, the Jazz don't need to be gambling on another SF, the good PGs are gone, and Motiejunas is the best available talent. Yes, Jimmer Fredette is there. But we refuse to sink to such a cliche'd level of analysis. (Note: The Jazz will probably take Fredette here.)

13. Phoenix Suns -- Trey Thompkins. Consider him a project, only you don't need instructions to figure him out. Thompkins has a lot of pure skill that's thawed out over the past year. If he had Kemba Walker's work ethic he'd be drafted in the top five. Thompkins is a 6-10 guy who can hit from 20 feet. You need him to post up? That'll do, too. He can also run the floor well; he certainly had his opportunities on the Georgia fast break here and there. Some may not expect Thompkins to go this high, but he'll likely impress in workouts and play his way into a good pick.

14. Houston Rockets -- Jordan Hamilton. With no readily available centers to fill their biggest need, the Rockets opt for Jordan Hamilton, a multi-talented wing scorer who might be a bit undervalued after a year away from competitive basketball as a high school senior and an up-and-down two-year career at Texas.

15. Indiana Pacers -- Marcus Morris. Roy Hibbert could use an offensively talented big to help on the glass, and Josh McRoberts may not be around very long leaving a lack of depth after Tyler Hansbrough. Granger works at either forward position, but this would free up the Pacers to move him if they wanted to build around the rest of the core, which would bring in a windfall of talent. If not, Morris can work in a small lineup alongside Granger with Paul George. Hey, you can never be too versatile right? This is another spot where Jimmer Fredette's going to be very tempting, but his inability to play the 2-guard spot hurts him; the Pacers don't need another PG.

16. Philadelphia 76ers -- Chris Singleton. Meet this draft's best defender. We've got a guy here who can be reliable and dominant -- yes, dominant -- in the paint for the next decade. Because of Singleton, Florida State was the best defensive team in the nation the past two seasons. His offensive game doesn't have much to it, but when you've got a player so good on one side of the ball this far into a draft, it's pretty hard to pass up. Experienced, mature and ready to play immediately.

17. New York Knicks -- Jimmer Fredette. If Fredette lasts to 17 it will be difficult for the Knicks to pass on the New York native, whose range and scoring acumen are an obvious fit for coach Mike D'Antoni's system. With high usage scorers Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony locked into the starting lineup for years to come, Fredette pencils in as instant offense off the bench.

18. Washington Wizards -- Markieff Morris. They can viably trade Andray Blatche to anyone who will take him. The end Morris is the lesser twin, but could be a solid bench forward to provide rebounding. He and JaVale McGee could make for some entertaining defensive sets. In a bad way, but still.

19. Charlotte Bobcats -- Kenneth Faried. He's rightfully considered the greatest natural rebounder to come out of college since Dennis Rodman. That stats back it up. Faried, who played at Morehead State, is also a deceptively good shot-blocker. He's transformed his body in the past two seasons and should average 10 grabs in his sleep. The Bobcats could use the beef and nose-to-the-grindstone mentality. Faried will bring that, and there's no question of character here. Charlotte should be so lucky to see him fall to 19.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Klay Thompson. The Timberwolves have nothing but questions in their backcourt and Thompson is a pure shooter who may be able to develop into more down the road. If the NBA thing doesn't work out, Thompson and Minnesota forward Michael Beasley can always star in a 21st century "Cheech and Chong" adaptation

21. Portland Trail Blazers -- Lucas Nogueira. Marcus Camby is getting up there. Nogueira is 7-0, 18 years old, a project Brazilian. So just theoretically, if Greg Oden were to not work out, hypothetically, the Blazers could develop Noqueira for the long-run while seeing if Oden's ever going to put it together. Insurance policy.

22. Denver Nuggets -- Tobias Harris. The 6-8 freshman out of Tennessee will play the 3 at the next level. He's a reliable scorer -- only three times last season was he kept in single digits -- and seems to fit Denver's offense-first style. Harris is not a tough player and doesn't have a post game, but he's the type of guy who'll bang 15-footers with deceptive efficiency. He's also able to put it on the floor from that far out. The Nuggets could use his maturity, too. Don't be deceived by his age -- many are impressed with how Harris handles himself.

23. Houston Rockets -- Davis Bertans. An underrated standout from the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit, this long, versatile forward can shoot the rock and will be a nice future asset.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Kyle Singler. The Thunder are too likable at this point. Getting a Duke guy will solve that problem (oh, and he's yet another versatile wing to add to their core for depth).

25. Boston Celtics -- Reggie Jackson. The Celtics go with the local product. Jackson, a junior out of Boston College, is the type of shooter Boston could use to help ease the inevitable transition from the New Big Three era. Probably never going to be a starter in this league, but he's got offense to keep things seamless coming off the bench.

26. Dallas Mavericks -- Josh Selby. With Jason Kidd aging, the Mavericks are willing to take a chance on Selby, who has fallen off a cliff since his days as a top-ranked high school senior. He could be paired with Rodrigue Beaubois to provide a fearsome but undersized future backcourt combination. Dallas is not in a position where it needs to rush his development.

27. New Jersey Nets -- Tyler Honeycutt. Low-risk, high-upside player with good athleticism who could become explosive if he develops right? Yes, please and thank you, say the Nets. Honeycutt needs to play off the ball, but with as many ball-handlers as the Nets have, that's not a problem.

28. Chicago Bulls -- Travis Leslie. Is it possible for the Bulls' backcourt to get even more athletic? You bet. Leslie was the college game's best dunker the past two years. He's very good off the ball and even better in transition. If the Bulls want to keep speed and defense the keys to their winning -- aside from that Rose guy -- then Leslie's a great fit, an absolutely great fit.

29. San Antonio Spurs -- Nikola Mirotic. The Spurs can't resist the intelligent, skilled and versatile Croatian forward. They need help now too but are willing to wait on Mirotic should his deal with Real Madrid keep him overseas in the short-term.

30. Chicago Bulls -- Charles Jenkins. 22 years old? Sure. Undersized at 6-3? Yup. 42 percent 3-point shooter for a team badly in need of them? Absolutely.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 3:24 pm
 

UK's Knight, Jones and Liggins declare for draft

Posted by Royce Young

Much like the Kentucky trio of players that played one year in Lexington and then took their talents to the NBA, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones have declared for the draft.

Neither has hired an agent as of yet, leaving the door open to return to school. However, with both projected to go in the lottery, I'd imagine they'll stick. They have until May 8 to withdraw from the draft and return to Kentucky.

(Also declaring is DeAndre Liggins, junior. He didn't hire an agent yet either.)

With this draft class seen as universally weak, Knight and Jones help things a bit. Knight will likely be the second point guard chosen behind Kyrie Irving with some projections have him going as high as three. Jones is a bit on the fringe of the lottery, but as a versatile, big swingman in a weak draft, he'll probably find a spot in the lottery.

However, neither of these two Kentucky super-freshmen look near as NBA ready as DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall or even Eric Bledsoe did. Knight has some clear holes in his game. There are a lot of concerns that he is the type of point guard that can step in and take over a team and run it. He's a solid scorer, but doesn't posess the same floor generalship that Irving does.

Jones is just inconsistent. He's incredibly skilled for his size (6-8 with a 7-2 wingspan). He can handle, pass, score inside and out, rebound and defend. His biggest issue is not doing all those things at once. He shot the ball poorly in the NCAA tournament and for most of the conference season. He just seems to have problems bringing it consistently, which in a league with 82 games and a game nearly every other night, is a bad thing.

Like I said, I'm assuming Knight and Jones will stay in the draft. Liggins might pull out, but he could see an opportunity to sneak into the first round with this being a weak draft. His stock rose with a solid NCAA tournament where he hit some big shots. Players like Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger likely influenced these decisions a bit with their decision to stay in school. Especially for Jones who is almost a lock for the lottery now.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 9:00 pm
 

Draft Update: Kemba in, Jones out

Kemba Walker is in, Perry Jones is out of the 2011 Draft.
Posted by Matt Moore




Some interesting draft news today. One star from the NCAA tournament is in, one star that was assumed to go top-five is out as the 2011 class gets weaker by the day. 

First up, CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reports that Kemba Walker will announce his decision to enter the draft on Tuesday. Walker is coming off a stellar college season and a magnficent tournament run that had him vault up the draft boards thanks to the most popular of all assessments: "He just knows how to score." With so many top picks dropping out of this class, Walker is a lock between 5 and 10, and may go higher if some GM gets to feeling like gambling on a reach. 

The problem is that Walker is badly in need of the combine's measurements. Some scouts have pegged him as short as 5-11. Walker's not a point guard, he's a shooting guard, but he'll have to play point guard in order not to get swallowed alive. It isn't that he doesn't have the quickness or scoring ability to make teams pay in the NBA, just that his size is going to be a huge concern. You can't pair him with a point guard under 6-3 unless you're fine with getting rolled in the post. Still, Walker does score, and teams fall in love with scorers with speed. His stock will never be higher than it is right now. 

Then there's the bizarre decision of Perry Jones. Our Eye on College Basketball's Jeff Borzello brings word that Jones will return for his sophomore season. Jones was a top-five lock. There is no question. Even if Jared Sullinger hadn't elected to return to Ohio State, he was going to go top-five. Jones' question marks were on bulk and defensive effort, along with rebounding. But he's a big man with a hook shot and nice touch around the basket, and those guys are a premium. By returning to school, it's hard to see him improving his stock. Especially considering he's serving a five-game suspension for improper benefits. You'd think that alone would push him to the draft. But Jones is out, meaning the best bigs in this draft are pretty much Derrick Williams and a bunch of guys whose names you can't spell. 
Posted on: April 8, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB 4.8.11: Balance and time

Posted by Matt Moore 



In this week's edition of the Friday 5 with KB, we see if the Celtics have time to get things right, if the Lakers should be concerned at all, and who needs Kyrie most?. All this and more in this week's Friday 5 with CBSSports.com's Ken Berger.  



1. Boston gets rolled by Chicago, and you write about how they're searching for an identity right now. Is the first round going to be easy enough for them to find it? Will the playoffs heal all wounds?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: I'm not so sure it's that simple with Boston this time. I do think if Doc can get the combinations right with the second unit, featuring Green, Krstic and Delonte, the Celtics can have a better second unit than they've had in the past. But without Perkins, they're going to struggle against bigger teams. It probably won't matter in the first round, and the value of gaining some confidence shouldn't be underestimated. But Boston has more flaws and uncertainty than they've had entering any other postseason with the Big Three.

2. The Lakers are stumbling backwards, and pretty much laughing it off. Is there any conceivable reason for the Lakers to try through these last four games, other than not messing with ticket holders?

KB: At this point, it's about finding the right balance of rest and sharpness -- especially where Kobe is concerned. Phil is a master at achieving this balance. Popovich is another coach who comes to mind who is great at it.

3. Knicks are a little banged up, and not deep at all to begin with, as we head towards the playoffs. What would be a reasonable result that would be considered a "good" end to the Knicks' season?

KB: The Knicks have many of the same flaws that they possessed before the trade -- lack of size and depth and no lockdown defender -- so a quick playoff exit shouldn't be considered a referendum on the Melo deal. I think stealing a game on the road in the first round would be a solid building block. Getting swept in four close games wouldn't be terribly disappointing or unexpected, especially against Boston or Miami. The fact is, whatever happens in the playoffs, the Knicks are ahead of where anyone could've reasonably expected them to be when Donnie Walsh took over for Isiah. They tore it down to the floorboards in two years, and have two superstars to build around going forward. If Anthony is engaged at both ends and Stoudemire is healthy/rested, they could create some real problems. But you have to take the long view.

4. Kyrie Irving came out in the draft this week. He's our No.1 overall pick. What lottery team needs him the most?

KB: Cleveland, for sure. The Cavs need to parlay one of the picks they've stockpiled into a superstar, and Irving fits the bill. They also have a good record of developing young players and a veteran point guard in place, so they don't have to rush Irving -- who clearly will need some seasoning. Minnesota, Toronto and Utah are the others. Sources say there's no way Irving slips past No. 4. Wolves GM David Kahn's confidence that Rubio is coming will be put to a serious test if Irving is on the board when Minnesota picks. With a lockout coming, it would be franchise suicide to pass on a talent like Irving and then have Rubio stay overseas.

5. NBA owners meeting next Friday. What are the hot points that could come out of that meeting?

KB: Depending on how long it takes for league execs to review all the documents associated with the Pistons sale, which was finalized Friday, that could come up for a vote -- but league sources say it there's no chance things will be ready in timen. If it can't be put to a vote next week, owners could always vote by other means at a later date. The other issue up in the air is the Kings' relocation. As of Friday, there was still nothing final to vote on. Much of the discussion figures to center around everyone's favorite topic, labor.
Posted on: April 6, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 5:25 pm
 

Likely No. 1 Kyrie Irving to enter NBA draft

Posted by Royce Young



It looks like the Cavs definitely have a little something to tank for now. Duke has announced that guard Kyrie Irving will enter the NBA draft.

Irving isn't a sure thing to go No. 1 overall because it'll depend a bit on who gets the top pick (what if it's the Wolves -- would they dare?) but he is the agreed upon best player on the draft.

In CBSSports.com's first mock draft, Irving is going first overall to the Cavs. Ben Golliver wrote:
When you're as desperate as Cleveland is in the wake of LeBron James's departure, reliability is the surest route to a comeback. Kyrie Irving is the risk-free pick at the top: He clearly has an NBA position, he has his head on his shoulders, he displays all the leadership qualities and intangibles to build around, and he can shoot the rock. The Cavaliers have needs everywhere but they need to walk before they can run. A reasonable best-case scenario in the short term is that Irving blossoms to carry a lesser cast to big things, a la a young Chris Paul; The worst-case is that you have a solid floor general locked in for years to come.
He's a 6-2 point guard from New Jersey and despite playing in just 11 games because of a toe injury, Irving displayed a wide range of ability in the NCAA tournament. In those 11 contests he averaged 17.5 points 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and 46 percent from 3.

In Duke's final game of the tournament, Irving scored 28 against Arizona for the Blue Devils.

Again, it's not a sure thing that Irving will go No. 1, but he definitely will be the best available player. A lot of the bad teams though are sort of settled at point guard, so it'll be interesting to see what happens if Washington or Sacramento (depending on your perspective of Tyreke Evans) or New Jersey lands it. If Cleveland or Toronto win the lottery, I'm sure it's a no doubt situation.

The draft is June 23 in New York City.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 4, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 7:11 pm
 

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Here's an early look at the potential lottery picks in a 2011 NBA Mock Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver and Matt Moore.

kyrie-irving

With the NCAA Tournament wrapping up on Monday night, it's time to turn our attention to the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft. While many top players have still yet to declare their intentions, here's an early look at how the draft lottery could shake out. All vitals are courtesy of DraftExpress.com. Matt Moore and I take turns making picks for each team that isn't headed to the NBA playoffs.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke, 19 years old, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds

When you're as desperate as Cleveland is in the wake of LeBron James's departure, reliability is the surest route to a comeback. Kyrie Irving is the risk-free pick at the top: He clearly has an NBA position, he has his head on his shoulders, he displays all the leadership qualities and intangibles to build around, and he can shoot the rock. The Cavaliers have needs everywhere but they need to walk before they can run. A reasonable best-case scenario in the short term is that Irving blossoms to carry a lesser cast to big things, a la a young Chris Paul; The worst-case is that you have a solid floor general locked in for years to come. -- BG

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania, 18 years old, 6-11, 240 pounds

Valuncianas should not go 2 here. He just shouldn't, not with Derrick Williams and others still on this board. The problem is Williams is 3/4 combo forward. The Wolves spent multiple assets to acquire small forwards, to the point where drafting Williams or even Harrison Barnes would simply create a further logjam at the position. Considering David Kahn's comments in March about rebuilding being "over," they're not looking for that next piece. A shooting guard replacement would be ideal, but there's not a suitable fit on the board. Brandon Knight would be a slight reach, and projects better as a scoring point guard. Kemba Walker doesn't have the size. Point guard is out with Ricky Rubio notched as the franchise savior and the Wolves can't risk anything to push him away from coming over next year. Which leaves us with Valuncianas. A Euro center with great size and extreme upside. A project. Eventually the Wolves will want an upgrade over Darko Milicic and drafting Valuncianas as a project would allow for just that. Darko can mentor him! .. Please don't throw things, Wolves fans, we're trying to spin this nicely. -- MM

3. Washington Wizards -- Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina, 18 years old, 6-8, 210 pounds

The Wizards have been extremely active in overhauling their roster and they find themselves, finally, at the point where they can turn the corner and enter the upward arc of a rebuilding effort centered around point guard John Wall and promising (although sometimes perplexing) big man JaVale McGee. Barnes, a multi-dimensional scorer that can shoot, fills a huge need for a team whose offensive efficiency was third worst this season. He has the ability to play off of Wall but also create for himself, lessening the burden on Wall to be a one-man show. That was often the case this season, especially as injuries ripped apart the second half of Washington's season. Barnes has excellent size and his work ethic has drawn lots of praise, a huge plus for any young player entering a dysfunctional situation like Washington, a team that very well may have a new coach next season. -- BG

4. Toronto Raptors -- Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona, 19 years old, 6-8, 235 pounds

Bryan Colangelo can't believe his luck as Derrick Williams falls to the fourth spot here. Even with Ed Davis a promising young power forward, the Raptors go for Williams, the best overall prospect. A center with great rebounding abilities would be preferable, but there's just not one with talent to match Williams. Williams provides rebounding and scoring along with the ability to get to the line, the kind of tough attributes the Raptors desperately need. Brandon Knight and Perry Jones are other options here, but Williams allows for the Raptors to go with a big lineup of Bayless, DeRozan, Williams, Davis and Bargnani, which might cover some of Bargnani's defensive and rebounding issues. -- MM

5. Sacramento Kings – Perry Jones, PF, Baylor, 19 years old, 6-11, 220 pounds

The Maloofs are kicking themselves, wishing and praying that Williams would fall one more spot so that he could become the SoCal face of the new SoCal version of the franchise currently known as the Sacramento Kings. They pull it together and decide to swing for the moon, nabbing Perry Jones from Baylor after also giving consideration to Jan Vesely and Terrence Jones. The Kings ultimately talk themselves into Jones because his antipathy towards the paint and glass is manageable with DeMarcus Cousins in the middle and, should they relocate, they become, in effect, an expansion team. The risk and patience that Jones puts it together and reaches his potential as a long, dynamic scorer is worth it because expectations would be rock bottom in Anaheim. How will Jones play alongside Tyreke Evans? Who knows. But it's worth a shot. -- BG

6. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey Nets) -- Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky, 18 years old, 6-3, 170 pounds

Knight serves two purposes for the rebuilding Jazz. One, he's the best talent available, a quick but not speedy point guard with something few point guards enter the league with: a jumper. Knight brings the ability to play either the 1 or 2, projecting as a combination game manager and spot-up shooter. Two, it gives the Jazz more options with their backcourt. They can move Devin Harris in trade (albeit with a remarkably lower trade value than he had months before) and start Knight at the point, or keep Harris and look to move the underwhelming combination of players at SG. Knight with Gordon Hayward is a frighteningly undersized 2-3 combo, but Millsap and Jefferson down low make a pretty decent combo to counter that. -- MM

7. Detroit Pistons -- Enes Kanter, C, Turkey, 18 years old, 6-10, 250 pounds

The Pistons were the most frustrating team to watch from afar this year, as professionalism evaporated on numerous occasions and management was unable to take the necessary steps to plot a future course with so much ownership uncertainty. Detroit really has terrible luck in this draft as they need a strong scoring two guard of the future but this year's crop is devoid of that kind of talent. While center Greg Monroe is their single best building block and it might seem strange to draft another big, Kanter is arguably the most talented player left on the board and his physical low-post nature would finally allow Detroit to move into the post-Ben Wallace era. Monroe has the mobility and passing skills to play the high pst in a solid high-low game and that could make for a nice partnership that allows the skinny Austin Daye to do his thing on the perimeter without putting the Pistons at a disadvantage on the glass, where they were a bottom five rebounding team this season. -- BG

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Clippers) -- Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky, 6-8, 244 pounds

The Cavs go SCREAMING to the podium to get Jones as fast as humanly possible. J.J. Hickson becomes a nice trade chip and Irving-Jones gives them an immediate 1-2 punch off the pick and roll. Get them a coach who can actually develop talent (Byron Scott ain't it) and the Cavs have something going here. Jones finishes with authority, can play wing or big, could wind up as a solid all-around power forward, or a versatile power three. Imagine Jeff Green if he wanted to rebound with inferior range. The Jeff Green invert, kind of. -- MM

9. Milwaukee Bucks -- Alec Burks, SG, Colorado, 6-6, 200 pounds

The Bucks -- the NBA's least potent offense this season -- need scoring, especially from the wings. While he might be a bit of a reach at nine, Burks would make for a dynamic backcourt pairing with Brandon Jennings, giving Milwaukee two guards that can create and attack the paint. His lack of three-point range is definitely a limiting factor but with an offensive need so glaring, beggars can't be choosers here. -- BG

10. Golden State Warriors -- Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania, 20 years old, 7-0, 215 pounds

The Warriors BADLY need to land in the top five to get a crack at Perry Jones, but since they're not, this is going to have to do. Basically, it's an Andreis Biedrins fill-in, only bigger and with better range. Montiejunas could be a Pau Gasol clone. He could be the Euro Yi. But the Warriors need size. He's there. Have we mentioned this is a shallow draft for bigs? -- MM

11. Charlotte Bobcats -- Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut, 20 years old, 6-0, 180 pounds

It's a bit too obvious to guess that Michael Jordan and company will draft the best available Tar Heel -- John Henson -- but that's definitely a possibility. If Kemba Walker slips this far, though, I'm not sure how the Bobcats pass on him, even if D.J. Augustin stepped up in a fairly big way last season. Walker's ceiling is higher than Augustin's and he has that star power swag that could help put fans in the seats in Charlotte. Really, he could be groomed to be the point guard of the future, assuming the Bobcats ever get around to having a future. -- BG

12. Utah Jazz -- Jimmer Frede ... KIDDING ... Jan Vesely, SF, Czech Republic, 20 years old, 6-11, 240 pounds

The Jazz need a bigger 3 that Gordon Hayward. They already addressed their guard situation with Brandon Knight. They have bigs, and there's no standout center available (it's a theme, you see). So what happens here? The Jazz draft insurance in case they are unable to retain Andrei Kirilenko with Vesely, who's a 6-11 SF. Long, athletic, with some upside for range shooting and great physical tools. He also tries to dunk on everyone. The Jazz need some aggression. Again, it's predictable, but not as predictable as Jimmer. That's a win. -- MM

13. Phoenix Suns -- Jimmer Fredette (NOT KIDDING), PG, BYU, 22 years old, 6-2, 195 pounds

Call me crazy but I'm not sure Jimmer drops this far. If he does, Phoenix shouldn't hesitate. If they decide to roll the dice with Steve Nash for another year, Jimmer is the ultimate spot-up shooting specialist to free up the pick-and-roll. If the Suns move Nash this summer, they will be in desperate need of Jimmer's hype factor and offensive prowess, not to mention someone that can handle the ball for a fair number of minutes. Is he likely to wind up disappointing fans in the short-term if he's the face of a Nash-less Suns team? Sure. But that team is going to be terrible anyway. -- BG

14. Houston Rockets -- Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State, 19 years old, 6-7, 225 pounds

Well, the Rockets have their point guard going forward (Lowry), a great shooting guard (Martin), and are chock full at power forward. Again, a center would do wonders here, but yet again, no reasonable options. Loading up with another tweener power forward like Marcus Morris does no good. So the Rockets take Leonard, and he's a good fit. A counter to the spot-up Chase Budinger, Leonard provides handle and explosiveness in a small forward. He's able to attack the rim and work in the paint. A good rebounder helps at the small forward since, again, the no center thing. Leonard is a bit of a reach but he and Patrick Patterson could be devastating as a one-two punch in certain situations. -- MM
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com