HoopSpeak’s 2011 Mock Draft: perfectly predicting the future

Brett: While most mock drafts are exercises in futility due to misdirection from NBA higher ups and an endless number of scenarios, I have invited Sebastian Pruiti from NBA Playbook to join me in taking a stab at this crazy process. We don’t pretend to be well connected insiders, but we spend a great deal of time breaking down film and evaluating players. Accuracy on predicting picks be damned, we’re doing this mainly because it’s just fun to do.

Sebastian, since you are visiting, I extend the offer for you to take the #1 pick (and go all Cavs by taking #4 too). So without further ado, with the #1 selection in the NBA Draft, picking on behalf of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sebastian selects….

1- Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving. Irving played just 12 games in college due to a foot injury that kept him out for most of the regular season, but if you are the Cavs, you can’t really pass him up. Out of all of the players in the draft, I think he has one of the most pro ready games.  He’s very comfortable running the pick-and-roll and while he isn’t the most athletic guy, he can hang in the air and finish around the rim nicely against taller defenders. While there are things that he needs to work on (his kick out passes tend to miss his teammate’s shooting pockets), I think they are easily correctable if he puts the work in. All in all, I’m pretty certain I just chose Cleveland’s point guard of the future. – SP

Cavaliers Selection: Irving

2- Minnesota Timberwolves: On behalf of KAAAAAAAHN and the Timberwolves, I will select Jimmer Fred…kidding! I’ll take the logical choice in Derrick Williams. Williams and Irving are the two best players in this draft. Even though Minnesota’s roster is a jumbled mess of pieces that don’t fit any other player here is probably a reach. While I’m not as high on Williams as most, I think David West-ish numbers are a reasonable projection for his future and that type of production is not worth passing up to take a flier on someone else. – BK

Timberwolves Selection: Williams

3- Utah Jazz: Selecting on behalf of the Jazz, I’ll take Jonas Valanciunas. With the Jazz rebuilding on the Derrick Favors timeline, Valanciunas’ buyout concerns are a moot point so there’s no point in passing on a 19 year old big man with great size, length, and motor. Having the opportunity to pair two potential star big men under 20 is just too enticing. Even if Valanciunas becomes no better than Omar Asik, the Jazz will have done okay here. – BK

Jazz Selection: Valanciunas

4- Cleveland: I had Valanciunas slotted here, but with him gone, I am going to select Enes Kanter. With a young point guard in the fold, I now want a young big to pair him with. There are a few other options, especially internationally, but with the Cavs seemingly adamant that they don’t want to draft someone staying overseas, Kanter is the best bet because he is ready to play for the organization right away. – SP

Cavaliers Selection: Kanter

5- Toronto Raptors: This is a tough team for which to find a good fit. With Amir Johnson receiving a hefty contract and Ed Davis performing well in his rookie season, someone like Bismack Biyombo is a little harder to pick because his limitations somewhat mirror those two. With both Valanciunas and Kanter gone, I think the best option here for the Raptors is Kawhi Leonard. I’m not sold on DeRozan being a key piece of the puzzle moving forward and I really like Leonard as a prospect. While Kemba Walker seems like the trendy pick here, he is extremely similar to Jared Bayless. And before you scoff at the notion of passing on Walker due to Bayless, remember that outside of his decent numbers last season since a trade to the Raptors, he is only nine months older than Walker. – BK

Raptors Selection: Leonard

6- Washington Wizards: With the 6th pick, I am going to select Jan Vesely. The Wizards have been rumored to select a big for most of the lead up to the draft and with a few of their targets (Valanciunas, Kanter) gone, I think I’ll go with the more polished offensive player instead of the raw Biyombo.  With Vesely’s athleticism, he also seems to fit the style they may look to employ with John Wall better. With Wall as a centerpiece, they need a big who is comfortable who can score without dominating the ball. That guy is Vesely. – SP

Wizards Selection: Vesely

7- Sacramento Kings: If you don’t want Bismack Biyombo, I will gladly take him here. Biyombo brings some defense and shot-blocking the Kings sorely need. He could end up being a great fit for a number of years next to the offensively gifted Cousins. As an added bonus, he is, by all accounts, a high-character, hard-working kid, something the Kings haven’t emphasized enough lately.

Kings Selection: Biyombo

8- Detroit Pistons: While the Pistons need a big, one of the better fits (Biyombo) has just come off the board, so I can see them injecting some youth into their scoring needs. The Pistons’ frontcourt is a mess with aging veterans and inconsistent role players. Even with those needs, they definitely will be happy to select Brandon Knight should he drop to them. Knight’s long term future will be at point guard, but as the Pistons rebuild, he can fill in at shooting guard as well.  – SP

Pistons Selection: Knight

9- Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats only two positions of strength on their roster are PG and PF, which is unfortunately where the strength of prospects lie at #9. Despite under having a small PG in DJ Augustin on their roster, I think Walker falling to #9 is a fortuitous scenario. While I’d consider both Klay Thompson and Alec Burks in this spot, I take Walker and figure out a way to make him and Augustin work for the short term. As Dallas proved, playing two small guards for long stretches at a time can cause major problems for opposing defense. For the time being, 15-20 minutes a game with both Augustin and Walker attacking defenses will certainly big a huge boost to Charlotte’s anemic O. – BK

Bobcats Selection: Walker

10- Milwaukee Bucks: If it wasn’t obvious from watching them last year, the Bucks desperately need a shooter.  Even with guys like John Salmons and Carlos Delfino on their roster, Milwaukee was far too inconsistent from deep. I love shooters and I think Klay Thompson has the purest stroke in the draft. His fit is nearly perfect. Whether it’s spacing on an Andrew Bogut post-up or as a floor-spacer on a Bogut-Jennings pick and roll, he meshes with this roster better than anyone else available. – SP

Bucks Selection: K. Thompson

11- Golden State: I am going to continue this “run” on shooting guards and select Alec Burks. It seems, given the Ellis trade rumors, that the Warriors are committed to building around Steph Curry. Burks’ slashing game and ability to get to the free throw line compliments Curry’s sweet outside stroke well. At only 19 years old, moving Ellis right away isn’t a big priority as Burks will need some time to add strength and adjust to the NBA game. But with him on board, the Warriors have the foundation of a very exciting (and balanced) backcourt for a lot of years to come. – BK

Warriors Selection: Burks

12- Utah Jazz: You basically set me up for this one huh? I’m not taking the bait and will pass on JimmerMania continuing in Utah. Instead, I am going with Chris Singleton at this spot.  I’m a big fan of Singleton and think he is one of the best defenders in the draft.  The Jazz need a young perimeter defender with Kirilenko on the way out and Singleton fits the bill. – SP

Jazz Selection: Singleton

13- Phoenix Suns: Sebastian, I would advise you not to travel to Utah after making that pick. You may have some very angry Mormons awaiting you….I was actually considering Singleton strongly for the Suns at #13 to play a Shawn Marion-esque role for them. With him off the board, I am going to select Tristan Thompson. Hollinger’s draft rater predicted huge things for this kid and Phoenix could desperately use his rebounding. As much fun as it’d be select Fredette and let him be an understudy to Nash, Thompson is the sensible pick. He’ll make the Suns better and has a great chance of being a starter there long after Nash rides off into the sunset (no pun intended…seriously). – BK

Suns Selection: T. Thompson

14- Houston Rockets: With Yao looking like he spent his last days in Houston and a 36 year old Brad Miller being a 36 year old Brad Miller, the Rockets need a young post presence.  That’s why I have them going with Donatas Motiejunas.  He’s a 4/5 that can play with his back to the basket and face-up.  Even if he can’t come over immediately, the Rockets have enough on their roster to tide themselves over until he does. – SP

Rockets Selection: Motiejunas

15- Indiana Pacers: Now who’s setting up whom? Indiana basketball and Jimmer Fredette seem like a match made in Heaven, but I am comfortable enough with Darren Collison being my lead guard in Indy that I will look to use the #15 pick to fill other needs. Since you threw a slight curveball at me with Motiejunas at #14, try this one out: Tobias Harris. Tyler Hansbrough was productive last season but Harris was another player getting a boost from Hollinger’s draft rater and at only 18 years old, is one of the younger prospects in this draft. His positional versatility and post game (both on the block and further out on the court) give him a chance to be a big contributor at the next level. – BK

Pacers Selection: Harris

16- Philadelphia 76ers: If the rumored trade for Chris Kaman showed us anything, it’s that Philly is looking to fill their gaping hole in the middle.  Mo Speights hasn’t won over their trust and doesn’t appear to be part of the solution. That makes it easy for me to make Nikola Vucevic my pick. I like that he can both shoot from the outside and play with his back to the basket, allowing the 76ers to stay flexible when building around him. He may not be a starter, especially right off the bat, but the 76ers may not need him to be. – SP

76ers Selection: Vucevic

17- New York Knicks: And Jimmer finally comes off the board! Obviously this is a dream scenario for New York. D’Antoni gets a chance to groom the “next Nash” and the front office doesn’t have to give up anymore assets from a thin cupboard to get the player they seemingly covet. If only James Dolan could pay for us to draft for all the other teams in the league like this…. – BK

Knicks Selection: Fredette

18- Washington Wizards: Despite the presence of Jordan Crawford, the Wizards still need a wing to insure against a Nick Young departure or Crawford flameout.  With that said, I am taking Marshon Brooks, THE best SG on the board in my opinion. – SP

Wizards Selection: Brooks

19- Charlotte Bobcats: So you’re going to be the one that falls for Brooks’ empty stat line at Providence? But since I get to pretend to be MJ again, I’m going to quickly savor the moment…..annnnnd done. I’m actually going to go with another Jordan in this spot. Jordan Hamilton out of Texas that is. His jumper will be a nice lift to a Bobcats lineup that is devoid of shooters on the wing. While his shot selection falls on the wrong side of questionable, he has all the ability to be a solid starting 3 in this league. Besides, one of the nice things of having the greatest player ever be team president is that when he discusses things like shot selection with one of his players, they probably tend to listen. – BK

Bobcats Selection: Hamilton

20- Minnesota Timberwolves: I want to pick a shooting guard here, but a lot of my options are taken off the board.  Tyler Honeycutt is probably the last of the wings I am high on at this spot. His biggest strength is his defense, something that the ‘Wolves other wings can’t claim. Offensively, he thrives off the ball, working off of screens and cutting to the rim. That sounds like something that could make a certain Spanish PG very happy. – SP

Timberwolves Selection: Honeycutt

21- Portland Trailblazers: Honeycutt will certainly make Rubio happy during the times he feels like playing, but the other 50% of the time, he’ll make the Spaniard want to whip no look passes off his face… At #21, my choice seems to lie between Marcus Morris, Kenneth Faried, and Norris Cole. As much as I want to take Cole, I will end up taking Morris. He’s used to running both ends of the high-low game with Self at KU, now he can take those things and pair them with LaMarcus Aldridge on the big stage. – BK

Trailblazers Selection: Mc Morris

22- Denver Nuggets: After their trade of Carmelo, the Denver Nuggets developed a pretty sweet offense based on a lot of ball movement and player movement.  With Martin’s contract up, they need a big to come in and do the dirty work. Sounds like a perfect job for Kenneth Faried.  His willingness to play physical, hustle, and rebound without needing a lot of shots is perfect for Denver at this spot. – SP

Nuggets Selection: Faried

23- Houston Rockets: If I’m Daryl Morey, I see a roster overloaded with young prospects. Even though I spent #14 on a prospect that most likely won’t inhabit my roster next season, I think finding another player I can stash in Europe while I sort out what I have in Houston makes the most sense. I’ll take Davis Bertans with a big smile on my face. The 18 year old Latvian is armed with a sweet shooting stroke and could pay major dividends for me down the road. – BK

Rockets Selection: Bertans

24- Oklahoma City: YOU JERK! I already had my eye on him with my upcoming Dallas pick as a Dirk-lite (really, really, really lite) player. Very good pick there, ya bastard.  For OKC, I got them picking Kyle Singler as a 3/4 who can soak up minutes behind Kevin Durant and help bring more intensity to the second unit. – SP

Thunder Selection: Singler

25- Boston Celtics: Does it tell you what kind of person I am that I smiled with satisfaction over the fact I stole your pick? For the C’s at #25, I’m torn between JaJuan Johnson and Jeremy Tyler. Boston desperately needs size with this pick, but I feel like Johnson’s ability to contribute right away makes him more attractive given the direction of the franchise. If Tyler pans out somewhere else, I’ll sure regret it, but for now, I’ll look forward to some tremendous pick and roll coverage with Garnett and Johnson as my bigs. – BK

Celtics Selection: Johnson

26- Dallas Mavericks: For the Mavs a stretch 4 that they can stash away for a few years. Since someone (looking at you, Koremenos) stole Bertans from me I am taking another player in this mold, Nikola Mirotic. He’s a guy who played in the Euroleague and the ACB (the two best leagues/competitions outside the NBA) while flashing a nice jumper. – SP

Mavericks Selection: Mirotic

27- New Jersey Nets: You finally got around to stealing one of the guys I was looking into selecting. Karma is a bitch I suppose. New Jersey’s main need is on the wings, but there doesn’t seem to be great value at #27 in those spots. With Brook Lopez in the post, a stretch four seems to be in order. While I question his toughness, Jon Leuer’s advanced metrics grade out well and his range should extend to the NBA three point line without issue. If he can become another late round steal a la Ryan Anderson (who they ironically traded away), New Jersey will have done well here. – BK

Nets Selection: Leuer

28- Chicago Bulls: I know Tom Thibodeau likes Keith Bogans for his toughness and his defense, but with this pick, the Bulls have the opportunity to bring in someone who is younger and cheaper to fill that role. I enjoyed watching Marquette (I love Buzz Williams), so I have seen my fair share of Jimmy Butler.  He’s as tough as they come and would be a great fit for that Chicago team on the wings. – SP

Bulls Selection: Butler

29- San Antonio Spurs: As much as I would LOVE to pull the trigger (again) on Norris Cole here, Markieff Morris fills a more pressing need in the frontcourt. He isn’t the athletic, shot-blocker the Spurs seek, but he can play both frontcourt spots and knock down open jumpers. My heart lies with Cole, but my head says Morris is the better play here. – BK

Spurs Selection: Mk Morris

30- Chicago Bulls: So, yesterday, HoopSpeak’s very own Beckley Mason persuaded me to watch some game tape of Ben Hansbrough. I have to admit, I am smitten. While it’s debatable whether Chicago could use a backup point guard, all I know is Hansbrough belongs in the first round. So with the last pick of the mock, I’ll squeeze him in here. – SP

Bulls Selection: Hansbrough

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  1. [...] Also be sure to check out Koremenos and Sebastian Pruiti’s (from NBA Playbook) Infallible Mock Draft! [...]

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