NBADraft.net mock draft 3.0
Kyrie Irving moves back to the top spot, as it appears Cleveland wants to take the player they see as the safest pick in the draft with their first selection. Derrick Williams would be the best option as the top pick in our minds, but with a week to go before the draft, here's how we see things playing out.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers — Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke: Signs are pointing toward Irving being the first pick, although Derrick Williams remains in the mix. We still endorse Williams as the top player in the draft and the player the Cavs should select to build their team around. Kyrie has a chance to be an All-Star-level guard when he reaches his prime, but the expectations on him will be considerable as the top overall pick. He lacks superstar athleticism, and the Chris Paul comparisons are likely raising the expectations too high. But if Cleveland is certain in Utah selecting Knight at No. 3, taking Kyrie first and then Enes Kanter at No. 4 might not be such a bad 1-2 punch.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves — Derrick Williams, SF/PF, Arizona: Williams worked out for Minnesota on Thursday and was described as "a monster" by their scouting staff. The T-Wolves' best play would be to hope the Cavs take Irving first so Minnesota can take Williams No. 2, and then move Michael Beasley. It's unclear whether B-Easy has much trade value considering most teams are skeptical that you can win with him. Williams, who measured and tested extremely well at the combine, has proved he's a winner. Kanter is also an intriguing option here, especially if they could put a deal together with Cleveland to get him at No. 4. Monta Ellis has been linked to Minnesota in trade rumors, so it's also possible this pick could get moved in a deal to obtain him.
3. Utah Jazz — Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky: Devin Harris doesn't appear to be Utah's long-term answer at point guard, and GM Kevin O'Connor has been coveting Brandon Knight since the season was still taking place. After doing the right thing by cutting Deron Williams loose, with the likelihood he'd ultimately sign elsewhere anyhow, the Jazz will look to shore up their PG position. Utah's said to be considering Jonas Valanciunas here, but that seems extremely high for a player with so many question marks.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers — Enes Kanter, C/PF, Kentucky: The Cavs invited Kanter back after a strong workout against Tristan Thompson. Kanter gives them a legitimate big man for the future. He's missed two years of development, but has kept himself in great shape and got a chance to practice every day with a Final Four team. Jonas Valanciunas is also a possibility, as he'd stay over in Europe and help ensure the team is in great position to win the lottery once again next year.
5. Toronto Raptors — Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania: The consensus among European scouts is that Valanciunas is worthy of a top 5 pick and has even more potential than Kanter. While we don't like him quite that much, he truly loves the game of basketball and shows a lot of skills. The lockout actually creates a perfect situation for him, considering his huge buyout and preference to stay in Europe another season. Toronto would love to see Knight available here, but that appears unlikely. They could also be tempted to select Kemba Walker after his incredible season.
6. Washington Wizards — Jan Vesely, SF/PF, Czech Republic: The Wizards have long been high on Vesely, and his transition game would work extremely well with John Wall. Vesely finished his season strong with some nice playoff performances, including a season-high point total. He shoots free throws about as well as Shaq, but his outside shot isn't so terrible, so there's hope he can improve on it with work. He isn't a great defender, but his length and athleticism give him a chance to develop.
7. Sacramento Kings — Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State: The Kings pick will likely come down to a choice between Leonard and Kemba Walker. Leonard's lack of shooting ability is a concern, although he's shown some improvement since the season ended. The Kings could always opt for a PG here (Walker or Jimmer Fredette), but they appear to be leaning toward Leonard and could potentially find a sleeper like Norris Cole at No. 35.
8. Detroit Pistons — Kemba Walker, PG, UConn: The Pistons are still trying to pick up the pieces after the monumental collapse that ensued after the Chauncey Billups trade. Walker won't be able to replace Billups, but would give the team a young, inspirational leader to build around. Despite his incredible season, there are some concerns over whether he's a true point guard. His fearlessness, leadership and character cannot be questioned, however.
9. Charlotte Bobcats — Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: Thompson's somewhat similar to Tyrus Thomas, but would still give the team another athletic forward to compete for playing time. Tristan's worked out extremely well and is showing tremendous hunger, and he'll get some consideration before this pick. His forte is defense and energy, even though his offensive game remains raw; one of the real boom-or-bust picks for this year's draft.
10. Milwaukee Bucks — Alec Burks, PG/SG, Colorado: Burks is likely to fall somewhere in the nine-to-15 range, with teams such as Milwaukee, Utah and Phoenix potentially targeting him. He's struggled some in workouts as his strength needs to improve to keep from allowing players to muscle him. He was one of the top performers in college all season and is our top-rated SG prospect. His versatility and ability to fill in at the point add to his intrigue. He's tremendous in the open floor, but struggles to beat elite athletes and get to the rim in the half court. A consistent outside shot remains the missing piece to his game.
11. Golden State Warriors — Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas: The Warriors have Dorell Wright at the 3 and David Lee at the 4, but if the team feels Morris can play the 4, he could eventually push Lee for the starting position. Morris has the versatility to play either forward position. The Warriors took Ekpe Udoh over Greg Monroe last year, one of the year's worst draft-day decisions. Drafting a one dimensional player like Bismack Biyombo this high would be making a similar mistake. Klay Thompson is also a possibility and already worked out for the team this week.
12. Utah Jazz — Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State: Thompson would give Utah a sharpshooter to compete for the starting SG job with C.J. Miles. The long, lanky 2-guard is an above-average shooter who measured very well. Unlike many players in this year's draft, Klay instantly has an NBA skill with his ability to shoot the ball. He lacks elite-level athleticism, but his length helps to make up for his lack of speed and leaping ability. His marijuana charge at the end of the season isn't considered to be a huge detriment to his stock.
13. Phoenix Suns — Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU: There's a large contingent of folks from Utah in Phoenix, so Jimmer would be an extremely popular pick. He'd also have the perfect mentor to learn the ropes of playing as an NBA lead guard, with at least a two-year apprenticeship under Steve Nash. Phoenix would love to have Fredette.
14. Houston Rockets — Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania: Rockets GM Darryl Morey was recently in Treviso, and although Motiejunas struggled to impress, the team would likely grab him here if he fell to them. Despite receiving a lot of criticism for his perceived lack of intensity, Motiejunas had himself a very solid season. He'd be an excellent value in the 10-15 range. He's a finesse forward and, despite lacking great toughness and rebounding, could develop into a poor man's Dirk Nowitzki.
15. Indiana Pacers — Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence: Indiana has Brooks high on its list and will consider him here at 15. He proved to be a deadly scorer this year at Providence and a handful to guard with the ball in his hands. He's being looked at by teams in the top 20 and would provide the Pacers a nice wing prospect to groom for the future. He may remind some of Jordan Crawford with his unorthodox style and aggressive nature. His length (7-foot-1 wingspan) allows him to play a few inches bigger than his 6-foot-5 height.
16. Philadelphia 76ers — Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas: The Sixers are looking to add a rugged PF in this draft and will hope a player such as Morris is available to them. Bismack Biyombo is also a possibility as the team is desperate for an athletic post, but Morris would be the safer option. The Morris twins have built a reputation for bringing intensity and toughness every time out. Some envision Markieff becoming the better pro (over Marcus) because of his size and better ability to fit a position (PF).
17. New York Knicks — Chris Singleton, SF/PF, Florida State: The Knicks would love to add an eventual PG replacement for Chauncey Billups, but may decide to go with BPA instead of reaching on a PG here. Singleton's a player the Knicks are said to be targeting. One of the nation's elite defenders, he was having a breakthrough junior season before breaking his foot. His shot improved, as did his overall consistency. He wasn't the same after returning from injury, showing less ability to be an offensive factor, but should still find a place in the late teens to early 20s on draft night.
18. Washington Wizards — Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Tennessee: Harris proved he's a lot more athletic than he looks with his combine performance. The Wizards are thinking long term with John Wall in the fold, and Harris is one of the youngest players in the entire draft. There aren't many players, much less freshmen, in the nation with the polish and feel for the game that Harris possesses. He can do a little of everything with good vision, passing and ball-handling abilities. His body needs better definition and his lateral speed isn't ideal, but he's a bright kid who has a professional demeanor.
19. Charlotte Bobcats — Jordan Hamilton, SG/SF, Texas: The Bobcats could use Hamilton's scoring ability and readiness to contribute. He's one of the draft's top shooters and measured very well at a legit 6-foot-8. He failed to impress athletically, however. He has a bit of a short temper and had some minor run-ins with coach Rick Barnes during his tenure at Texas, but nothing that concerns teams too heavily.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves — Tyler Honeycutt, SF, UCLA: Tyler's 33-point breakout performance opened some eyes, as scoring 20-plus is never easy in Ben Howland's methodical offense. He cooled off the second half of the year, but showed enough potential to land in the first round. He has surprising vision and passing skills for a SF and also possesses some ability to knock down shots off the dribble. Despite being slight of frame and having a perceived lack of toughness, he crashes the boards hard.
21. Portland Trail Blazers — Bismack Biyombo, C, Congo: Portland's the place where Biyombo made a name for himself at the Hoop Summit, so it would be appropriate for the Blazers to select him with their pick. How much offense he can develop is debatable, as is his true age. He created a huge buzz with the first triple-double in Hoops Summit history, recording 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks. He's a tremendous shot blocker, using his quick reflexes, length (7-foot-7 wingspan) and explosiveness to protect the rim. Scouts are intrigued by him, as you don't often find a combination of his physical attributes along with his energy level and motor, but Serge Ibaka he is not.
22. Denver Nuggets — Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State: Denver worked out Faried and was very impressed with his strength and motor. Despite lacking much in the way of offensive skills, his freakish athleticism and relentless approach to rebounding is intriguing. Because he is so one-dimensional, some teams have soured. Regardless, many scouts love his strength, demeanor and passion for the game and see him as a potential top-20 pick despite his shortcomings.
23. Houston Rockets — Darius Morris, PG, Michigan: After beating Fredette in his workout for the Knicks, Morris has established himself as a legit mid-first-rounder. With Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic, the Rockets find themselves weak at the PG position. Morris could be the only "pure" PG in the entire draft. A big point who shows the ability to run a team and make those around him better is a rare commodity.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder — Reggie Jackson, PG/SG, Boston College: With Jackson sitting out the NBA pre-draft combine and workouts, there's been a lot of speculation that he has a promise in place, and we've received word that OKC is likely the perpetrator. The team's said to be shopping backup point guard Eric Maynor, and that could be to clear room for Jackson. He lacks great point guard skills, but has a huge wingspan (7 feet) and is a quality isolation player. OKC will hope he can become something in the mold of a Russell Westbrook. He's one of the draft's high risk/reward picks.
25. Boston Celtics — Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia: Danny Ainge will likely look to bolster the team's aging and depleted frontcourt. After receiving heavy criticism for his high body fat and perceived laziness, Thompkins could end up falling into the second round. He's easily the most polished offensive big man available. The big question is whether he'll stay motivated. A player who entered the season as a projected lottery pick hasn't gotten great reviews and finds himself fighting to stay in the first round. He doesn't wow you with athleticism, but his skill level is that of an NBA vet. He needs to cut out the fast food and has a questionable motor, toughness and work ethic. If Jeremy Tyler doesn't set off major red flags in psychological testing, he's a real possibility here, too.
26. Dallas Mavericks — Justin Harper, SF/PF, Richmond: After their inspirational title and a window of opportunity to win another, the Mavs will likely look to add a player who can help them now. The champs think Harper is a late bloomer who can really shoot it and appears to have upside left to develop despite being a senior. He's probably capable of eventually playing either forward position.
27. New Jersey Nets — Davis Bertans, SF, Latvia: Bertans is said to have a promise from some team in the 20s somewhere. There's a good chance a team will trade into this range to acquire a pick to select him. He's possibly the top shooter in the entire draft, and although he's a few years away, he could be a very intriguing option to stash overseas with the uncertainty regarding next year's season. He impressed scouts with his feel and desire for the game on top of his tremendous shooting ability at the Hoop Summit.
28. Chicago Bulls — Shelvin Mack, PG/SG, Butler: Mack could add the type of scoring punch off the bench Chicago needs. He scored extremely well in the athleticism tests with an eye-popping 39-inch vertical. He led Butler to back-to-back title games, putting up numerous clutch performances along the way. Is he a true point guard? No. Is he a clutch player? One of the best in the country. He's not a lock for the first round, but his stock wasn't going to get any higher. He's a Vinnie "Microwave" Johnson-type who could be a valuable asset to a winning team with the ability to score clutch baskets.
29. San Antonio Spurs — Kyle Singler, SF, Duke: While Singler's combine athleticism numbers (30-inch vertical) didn't help his cause, his feel for the game, skill level and toughness should make him a mainstay in the NBA for years to come. Playing the SF position, his lack of athleticism won't be as big a factor as it might be at other positions, and look for his shooting numbers to end up being better than what he showed this past season. San Antonio's long been a place where lesser athletes can thrive playing alongside Duncan, who's time left is fleeting, but Singler would give the team an instant contributor off the bench.
30. Chicago Bulls — Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida: The Bulls could roll the dice on a post player like Trey Thompkins if he falls to them, or even Jeremy Tyler. Parsons figures to be an excellent role player for whichever team selects him. The SEC Player of the Year never became a prolific scorer, but his passing ability and team play are giving him some late first-round buzz. Malcolm Lee is another possibility here as well.