Tag:2011 NBA Draft
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:41 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 10:46 pm
 

2011 NBA Draft: Which teams should make moves?

A look at which NBA teams should move up or down the draft board in the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Team needs and draft positioning never align perfectly in the NBA Draft. Some teams find themselves just out of reach of their target player while others want to avoid taking their prospect earlier than they need to, hoping to cash in on their draft positioning to add another asset.

Even in a weak draft crop like this year’s, the potential for movement – even if minor – is always there. Here’s a look at three teams that might consider moving up the board and three teams that might look to move down.

Three Teams That Should Move Up

1. New York Knicks NY

The New York Knicks need to fill their center position and will likely do whatever they possibly can to accomplish that goal in free agency. Samuel Dalembert makes all sorts of sense. But there’s another option. Sitting at No. 17, it’s possible the Knicks would only need to trade up 5-8 positions to have a crack at Bismack Biyombo, the fast-rising big man prospect out of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Biyombo is hyper-athletic, has an endless motor and is a very skilled shot-blocker, both in one-on-one defense and from the help side.

Putting him alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony would arguably give the Knicks the most dynamic 3-4-5 combination in the entire league. Biyombo doesn’t need touches, can finish putbacks in traffic and will work hard at all times. Does he need some polish and refinement? Of course. Are there questions about his age? Absolutely. But if he falls to the 9-12 range it’s worth whatever price it takes – it shouldn’t be exorbitant – for the Knicks to move up and nab him.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers cle

The Cavaliers own the top pick and will wisely use that on Duke University point guard Kyrie Irving. The intrigue comes with their No. 4 selection, which doesn’t do them much good. The best available names will either be point guards – and therefore redundant with Irving – or European big men. With Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson in place, the Cavaliers are not the ideal breeding ground for a project big.

The rumored trade with Minnesota to get the No. 2 pick makes all sorts of sense. The Cavaliers need starpower and they need talent on their wing badly. Derrick Williams would be an ideal fit. Cleveland, with a deep-pocketed owner and nowhere to go but up, is in a position where it can overpay for the luxury of drafting Williams. Whether that’s by absorbing salary into its massive trade exception, sending over cash or future pick considerations, or making anyone on their roster outside of Varejao available. The reward of building around an Irving/Williams/Varejao core is worth virtually any risk for a Cleveland team coming off a very, very bad season.

3. 
Charlotte Bobcats charlotte

The Charlotte Bobcats have a gigantic hole in the middle. Addressing the center position through the draft can be a difficult process even if you’re at the very top of the board, but picking at No. 9 in a weak crop with no American-born, star big men makes it an even trickier proposition.

Here, the need is so great that they have to bring a big man home, pretty much no matter what. There’s a distinct possibility that Valanciunas, Kanter and Biyombo are all gone by pick No. 9, although there's variability in the stock of all three players. The good news: The Bobcats also possess the No. 19 pick, good bait to move up the board a few spots, so they can manage this risk nicely. Package the picks, move up a bit and snag whichever of those three big men are the most appealing to Michael Jordan and his staff.

Three Teams That Should Move Down

1. Minnesota Timberwolves
 min

The rumors surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves' draft position started within minutes after David Kahn lost the Lottery ping pong ball drawing to Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The reasoning is simple: The second most coveted player on the board, Derrick Williams, is not of particular use to the Timberwolves, as his combo forward skillset is similar to that of incumbent Michael Beasley and the Timberwolves have greater needs at both the guard and center positions. With the recent reports that Ricky Rubio will agree to come stateside, those needs have narrowed to a two guard and a center.

An ideal situation for Minnesota would be to auction the No. 2 selection – perhaps along with its No. 20 selection -- into a pick in the 5-10 range and two ready-now rotation players. That would allow the team to draft a big of their choice – Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas or Biyombo – or one of the class’s elite wings – Kawhi Leonard, Alec Burks or Klay Thompson – while simultaneously speeding up the rebuilding curve. Coming off of 32 combined wins in the last two seasons, this team badly needs to win some games.

2. Utah Jazz 

utah-jazz

The Utah Jazz are in a similar position as the Minnesota Timberwolves, although it’s a bit trickier. The obvious fit for Utah is Brandon Knight, the best point guard on the board not named Irving. He’s an intelligent leader, excellent citizen and has loads of upside. For a team looking to move past Deron Williams, he’s as good as the Jazz can hope for.

Knight might not necessarily be the third most valued prospect on the board, though, especially because teams at the top of the draft order often favor big men. Players like Kanter, Valanciunas and even Biyombo might wind up with more buzz when all is said and done.

The Jazz also hold the No. 12 selection, which could turn out to be a bit of no man’s land in this draft. If there's a run on wings – say, if Leonard, Burks and Thompson all go off the board – the pickings get pretty slim for a team that already has a fairly stocked frontcourt. Jimmer Fredette looms as an excellent back-up option, but he’s more novelty than impact player.

A best case scenario: the Jazz land a veteran guard by swapping picks to move down a few slots and are able to still snag Knight wherever they land. 

3. Portland Trail Blazers por

The Portland Trail Blazers have, arguably, the greatest stockpile of unused pieces of any team in the league. Last year's Draft produced three players that played very few minutes -- Luke Babbitt, Elliot Williams, and Armon Johnson -- and the team has three (yes, three!) players stashed overseas already. Blazers management has already acknowledged publicly that they don't anticipate selecting an impact player at No. 21, and the team is hamstrung salary-wise because of a looming decision with Greg Oden. The oft-injured center will command big dollars, and the team has already committed to large multi-year deals for Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews.

If you don't see a player that will meaningfully impact your rotation at No. 21, then why pay him guaranteed first-round money? Ship the pick for a future consideration. Knowing Owner Paul Allen, though, this is an unlikely strategy. He loves the draft too much to simply fold his hand. The problem? He's already fired his keenest advisors: Former GMs Kevin Pritchard and Rich Cho. In other words, expect more haphazard decision-making.

Posted on: June 3, 2011 1:07 pm
 

Report: Blazers want to trade up for Kemba Walker

Posted by Matt Moore

No matter who's running the Trail Blazers... and we're not exactly sure who that is at this point... they've made it clear they want to reshape the backcourt. That's been a priority for months, and Andre Miller has been in trade talks for months because of it. Now comes word that they may think they have the answer in the draft. The Portland Tribune reports that the Blazers are considering moving up in the draft to acquire UConn star guard Kemba Walker. 
 
According to a league source, Portland would like to get into the top seven to be in position to take Connecticut point guard Kemba Walker. That might mean packaging veteran point guard Andre Miller and the No. 21 pick for another team’s player along with a top-seven pick.

Acting general manager Chad Buchanan was noncommital on the report.

“Any possible avenue that will improve our team — moving up in the draft, a trade, whatever — we will consider,” Buchanan said.
via Blazers looking to move up in draft, take point guard.

Walker is the most recognizable star in the draft, outside of possibly Jimmer Fredette, and an explosive scoring guard. Questions abound regarding his size, defensive capabilities, passing ability and role at the next level, but with the talent still on Portland, it's a great fit. Nate McMillan can get the most out of Walker and teach him to cover his size problems with savvy. Meanwhile, Walker can provide the scoring punch the Blazers need and another young guard to build around as they go forward. It's a risky move, but with Miller approaching the end of his effectiveness as a starter, it may be one worth making.  
Posted on: June 1, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 7:09 am
 

NBA executive: Jimmer Fredette 'could be a star'

Jimmer Fredette reportedly impressed during a workout with the Indiana Pacers. Posted by Ben Golliver. jimmer-fredette

Conventional wisdom seemed to coalesce around BYU guard Jimmer Fredette this spring: He should be a solid rotation player and a potential spark plug off of someone's bench.

Is that line of thinking getting turned upside down?

On Tuesday, Fredette reportedly impressed during a group workout with the Indiana Pacers. So much so, in fact, that Jazz.com reports that he left talent evaluators with stars in their eyes.
One high placed NBA executive at the workout said, “He was Jimmer Fredette. He shot the ball well, he handled the point and he played at different speeds.  He needs to get better defensively.  He is a tough kid, he is mature, he is very poised.” 

The most interesting comment that was made was the “he could be a solid back-up or he could be a star.”  This is only the second personnel person I have talked to that had Jimmer as a star.  One other compared him to Mark Price and is adamant about it.  

The report also noted two fairly impressive facts: "Jimmer hit his first 12 3s and 82% of his unguarded 3s in his workout."

That performance left Fredette's workout partner, Duke guard Nolan Smith, impressed, according to Pacers.com.
"Where he shot the ball from, what he did for his team, I enjoyed watching him, seeing how many points he was putting up," said Duke's Nolan Smith, who matched up with Fredette in the workout. "It was quite a show."
Coming out of the workout, Fredette sounded confident, telling Indianapolis' 1070 The Fan that he "definitely" feels that his athleticism is underrated (via SportsRadioInterviews.com).
"I think athletic ability has to do with how you’re able to move your body. … It’s not the most flashy athleticism, but it’s being able to make the most use out of your body.” 
While Fredette is listed anywhere from 10 to 20 on most NBA mock drafts, positive early buzz like this could mean that the bottom side of those estimates are overly conservative. He's got two good shots to be drafted with the Jazz picking at No. 12 and the Pacers picking at No. 15. The Phoenix Suns at No. 13 and the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 10 reportedly have interest too. Does he slip through all four of those teams?

Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Wolves still looking to move down, snag Kanter?

Posted by Royce Young

There has already been some talk about the Minnesota Timberwolves moving down in the draft. The reasoning is solid. What's available at No. 2 might not help them much and they're likely looking for some veteran help to bring along their young guys.

However, SI.com reports
that the Wolves are thinking of moving down a spot or two to try and get Enes Kanter, while also acquiring a few additional assets.

Kanter has become quite the intriguing prospect, as he's become The Great Unknown Big Man that catches the attention and imagination of general managers. He's big, talented, skilled and has a bunch of upside to be fulfilled. It's hard to know if he'd be available at three or four as he's been mocked to go as high as No. 2 in some places.

My issue here is, how exactly does he benefit the Wolves, other than just being another big body to develop? I suppose they could pick up a second-round pick and maybe a veteran role player moving the No. 2 pick for the No. 4 or 5, but it's not going to be that substantial. And especially for a guy that doesn't completely have a spot on your existing roster.

But this would be SUCH a David Kahn move. Making a deal for the sake of making it and then drafting a guy that doesn't at all fill a need for you. The thought of the Wolves moving down to 10 or so and picking up actual veteran help made sense. So naturally, they're not going to do it.

Kahn just signed his "manna from heaven," Darko Milicic for four years. He's hopefully going to lock up Kevin Love with an extension. Kanter could potentially slide in and play with Love in the front court in the future, but what Kahn would be creating is another positional logjam. Which doesn't make any sense to me.

Which means it makes a ton of sense to David Kahn.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Sixers looking to add big man in draft

Sixers have tageted bigs in 2011 NBA draft.

Posted by Matt Moore

The Sixers made the playoffs this season, which was a big step forward. They didn't even really need the No.2 overall pick Evan Turner, but Turner showed some potential in the Sixers' one-and-out playoff stay. But with Elton Brand unlikely to keep up his career recovery, flashback performance, the Sixers are looking to the future. They know they need a go-to scorer, and Andre Iguodala isn't it. But first and foremost, the Sixers need a big man. And the Philadelphia Daily News notes that's exactly what they're looking for in the draft. 

 
Unless there is a move before the draft, such as Andre Iguodala being dealt and a good big man being acquired in exchange, a source close to the team said they will not be looking at anyone "under 6-8. We need a big."

That is the first priority for coach Doug Collins, president Rod Thorn and general manager Ed Stefanski. After that, other pieces will need to be upgraded and filled, most notably by someone who can score at a consistent level in the NBA.

But before that, a big seems to be tops on the agenda.
via Some players who could make a difference for Sixers | Philadelphia Daily News | 05/23/2011.

There will be options for the Sixers at 16, as the Daily News notes, Kenneth Faried being possibly the best target. But his lack of size is problematic. The other option is Keith Benson, whose measurement numbers were freakish. There has been talk that the Sixers could move up, using Iguodala as bait. But Iguodala is a complimentary player, and no team at the top of the draft is looking to add a complementary player. They'll draft the best big available. Only question is who that will be. 

CBSSports.com's Mock Drafts 4.0 go up Tuesday. 
Posted on: May 22, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Jimmer Fredette: The people want me in Utah

BYU guard Jimmer Fredette says that he is the people's choice in Utah. Posted by Ben Golliver. jimmer-fredette

As a big-time scorer for BYU, guard Jimmer Fredette became a household name nationwide. But that level of fame pales in comparison to his standing in Utah, where he's a true phenomenon. Indeed, local pressure on the Utah Jazz to draft him and keep him within the state's borders has been immense for months.

Fredette isn't bothering to pretend that he can't hear those voices. Speaking to the Deseret News at the Chicago pre-draft combine, Fredette made it clear that he knows he's the people's choice.
"That's what the people want," Fredette said of being drafted by the Jazz. "But I don't think (Jazz officials) should make the decision on what the people want. They ought to make a decision on what they think is best for their personnel. If I go there, it's great. If not, I'll be somewhere else. So I'm just looking forward to where it's at."
He even talks like a larger-than-life phenom. "The people." It's like he's delivering his pre-draft interviews from on top of a mount.

On the bright side, at least he didn't say: "The people want The Jimmer."

Anyway, Fredette signaled that the Jazz are interested in drafting him, telling the paper: "They definitely like me... I know they're definitely interested. So we'll see how it goes."

Fredette also noted that he will work out for the Jazz and that he has received positive reviews from the Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers as well.

Given that Utah holds both the No. 3 pick and the No. 12 pick and that the team needs a new face of the franchise after trading All-Star point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets, there's a decent chance that "the people" get their wish on this one.
Posted on: May 20, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 7:11 pm
 

NBA Draft Buzz: 5.20.11

With the lottery settled and the combine underway, draft news is picking up. Here's a round-up of rumors and quotes about the 2011 NBA Draft.

2011 NBA Draft
  • Kemba Walker has fluctuated up and down draft boards due to questions about his height. At the measurements, Walker measured 5-11.5 without shoes, and 6-1 with. 6-1 is a resonable height for a point guard, even if it's still on the slight side.  Even if there are questions from analysts remaining about Walker's relative "playing height," there are rumors that he could go as high as No. 3 overall if the Jazz decide they absolutely have to have the best scorer available. 
  • The Racine Journal-Times reports that the Blazers are interested in moving up to get Colorado SG Alec Burks. To do so, they'd have to move into the top ten, most likely, with the Bucks at 10 probably the median for where he'll get tabbed. Burks is going to keep moving up as the draft gets closer, he's got a lot of the skills out of the box. He spent 16 percent of his possessions this year in the pick and roll according to Synergy Sports, and while he only shot 30 percent, the experience is what's key there. Wouldn't be surprised to see multiple teams trying to reach up to grab him. For what it's worth, Burks compares himself to a "young T-Mac." 
  • There was some noise about Enes Kanter not working out for the Jazz, following Kyrie Irving's decision not to work out at the combine at all. But apparently instead, Kanter will have a private workout with the Jazz. It's hard to see Utah taking Kanter when they already have such a logjam at power forward, but, well, welcome to the draft. 
  • Derrick Williams is not shy about being awesome. He told reporters when asked if he was the best player in the draft, "Yes, sir. I definitely am." Williams also thinks he'd be a good replacement for LeBron in Cleveland, which is, you know, out-there. I suppose it's better than a guy being uncertain, but we've seen such success lately with humble guys like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, it seems a bit out there. Williams does deserve to be in consideration for the No.1 overall, but Irving is still the better prospect. 
  • Houston's interested in moving up as high as the seventh spot according to Sports Illustrated, swapping with Sacramento. The Rockets have enough young talents with cap-flexible contracts to maybe swing something. 
  • TSN reports the Raptors board looks like "Kanter, Knight, and Kemba." Kanter seems like an odd fit next to Bargnani, who essentially needs the best rebounder in ... any draft ever. Knight fits adequately with Calderon nearing the end of his contract, though. Walker doesn't fit at all with DeRozan and Weems already on roster, but if they really feel like Walker can convert to point guard, he can fit several of their needs.
Posted on: May 20, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Enes Kanter skips interviews with 3 lottery teams

Turkish center Enes Kanter reportedly will not meet to interview with three lottery teams. Posted by Ben Golliver. enes-kanter

The long, strange journey of Turkish center Enes Kanter took another twist on Friday, when ESPN reported that Kanter "stood up" three teams with lottery picks at the Chicago pre-draft combine.

Kanter reportedly refused to participate in interviews with the Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks. The Jazz hold the No. 3 and No. 12 picks in the draft, the Raptors are the No. 5 pick and the Bucks are the No. 10 selection. Update: a second ESPN report notes that Kanter is now scheduled to meet with the Jazz on June 2.

This early in the process, refusing to interview with teams is highly unusual. The only explanations: Kanter doesn't want to play for those teams or he does want to play for someone else.

On Thursday, CSNWashington.com reported that Kanter's preference was the Washington Wizards, who hold the No. 6 pick. In Washington, Kanter would be in a major market on the Eastern seaboard and would have plenty of playing time. He would also be playing with a dynamic point guard in John Wall.

So what to make of the three teams he stood up?

Utah has a fairly loaded frontline with Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap already in place. Indeed, DraftExpress.com reports: "Doesn't want to play for them according to his camp. Too many big men?"

Toronto could certainly use a low-post presence to pair with Andrea Bargnani, but they've also got rookie Ed Davis already in the development cycle and there's the whole "playing in Canada rather than the United States" thing, which trips up some people.

As for the Bucks, Kanter will almost certainly be gone by No. 10 so other than courtesy there wasn't much point in meeting with them anyway. Also, Andrew Bogut is in place, and a Bogut/Kanter pairing might be a bit redundant. 

Kanter sat out all of last season with NCAA eligibility issues and has reportedly told teams he will conduct only solo workouts.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com