With just over 48 hours until draft day it’s time to put on our prognosticator hats and make our entry into the plethora of NBA mock drafts out there. It’s tough enough to speculate during a typical NBA draft what will happen, but considering many feel this is one of the weaker draft classes in years and with the pending NBA lockout, we may see some crazy stuff come draft night. First a couple of ground rules, #1 we’re not going to try and pretend like we know what teams are really thinking at this point because truthfully most of them don’t know yet what they are doing on draft night right now. #2 we are going to just “Mock” the lottery because that’s where the Jazz 2 picks #3 and #12 are. So let the mockery begin.
Currently the Jazz have only 8 players under contract for next year, 9 if they pick up the $3.7 million option on C.J. Miles contract. Right now their roster looks like this:
PG Devin Harris
SG Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward
SF C.J. Miles
PF Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans
C Al Jeffeson, Mehmet Okur
Looking at the roster it’s no guarantee that the Jazz will pick up Miles option on his contract. They obviously need help at PG, and SF and getting a true Center wouldn’t be the worst thing, however there really isn’t a true center in this draft, the closest one is Enes Kanter who is 6’10, has balky knees at the age of 19 and hasn’t played in a 5 on 5 game in over a year. My take is let someone else take a risk on him.
#1 Cleveland – Kyrie Irving PG Duke:
Every Mock draft you can find has Irving going #1. Cleveland still insists they haven’t made up their mind, they illustrated this by bringing in Kanter and Brandon Knight just yesterday for a workout but I still think they go with Irving here. 1 more thing to keep in mind, Jonathan Givony of Draft Express pointed out on Yahoo, that Cleveland still has a $14.5 million trade exception so don’t be surprised to see the Cavs be very active on draft night.
#2 Minnesota – Derrick Williams PF Arizona:
Irving and Williams seem to be the only consensus picks in the 2011 draft. Minnesota has been shopping this pick but according to one GM they are asking for the “moon” for the #2 pick. That could change once they are on the clock Thursday night but look for Williams to be the pick regardless if it’s Minnesota making the pick or someone else.
#3 Utah – Brandon Knight PG Kentucky:
Ask anyone and they will tell you this is where the draft starts. Knight who is still very young and developing brings the Jazz outstanding perimeter defense, was a straight A student all through High-School and his 1 year at Kentucky, is a gym rat, a supposed sponge when it comes to coaching and possesses a sweet outside stroke which would also help the Jazz. He could learn under Devin Harris (If Harris isn’t traded on draft night) and be the PG of the future who Jazz fans won’t have to worry about growing a massive ego ala Deron Williams and skipping town. However Utah has hosted nearly all of the top 20 prospects, Washington is apparently in love with Kanter so don’t be surprised if Utah drafts Kanter and trades him to Washington for the 6th and 18th picks, or trades the #3 pick for the same. At this point it’s anyone’s guess so we’ll go with Knight, with a %50 chance they trade with Washington in which case they would end up with either Jan Vesely or Kawahi Leonard (Huge improvements at SF) Jimmer at 12 and Chris Singleton or Tobias Harris or another athletic wing at 18. Whew.
#4 Cleveland – Enes Kanter C Turkey:
Again this is all subject to change if the Jazz don’t make a trade at #3 but in this scenario we’re assuming they don’t and Cleveland gets a raw big man who hasn’t played organized ball in awhile. It’s your classic boom or bust pick, I’m guessing his knees really are an issue, which is why I don’t want him to be with the Jazz, so I go with bust. And knowing Cleveland’s luck lately something tells me I’m right.
#5 Toronto – Kemba Walker PG Connecticut:
Toronto could also go with Vesely here who they worked out yesterday and who measured a legit 6’11 barefoot. But Vesely to me is another Andrea Bargnani. A week ago I would have said Jonas Valanciunas would be the pick here, but with the announcement that his club team in Lithuania would not let him play in the NBA in 2011-2012 he slides big time draft night so I go with the young man who led his team to the national championship. This pick is bad news for Jimmer fans who want to see him in Utah and I’ll tell you why in a moment.
#6 Washington – Jan Vesely SF Czech Republic:
Remember that this could very well be the Jazz drafting here in which case Vesely or Kawahi Leonard would be great picks for the Jazz. However we’re still under the scenario that there haven’t been any trades, which there is no way that’s going to happen so let go Vesely here and move on knowing that our mock draft is already shot to hell because there may have been two trades already.
#7 Sacramento – Jimmer Fredette PG BYU:
Ohhhh nooooo! You can literally hear the crowd at Energy Solutions Arena gasp in horror as the Maloof brothers pull the first shocker of the night and take Jimmer, who matches up well with a big PG like Tyreke Evans. Jimmer Mania moves to ‘Cow Town’ about as far away from upstate NY as you can get. But this is a great fit for Jimmer playing alongside Evans, plus there is so much less pressure on both he and the organization were he to end up in Utah, don’t worry Jazz fans as three years from now the Jazz can make a run at him in free agency.
#8 Detroit – Jonas Valanciunas C Lithuania:
Detroit goes with the most talented player on the board strategy and takes a top 5 talent who slides cause he wont be in the NBA next year. Considering there may not be an NBA season next year this could be a great pick by the Pistons who suddenly have a front line of Valanciunas and Greg Monroe to build on.
#9 Charlotte – Kawahi Leonard SF San Diego St.:
This is too good of a scenario for even Michael Jordan to mess up. Again a top 6 talent slides down to the Bobacats who get a player very similar to Gerald Wallace who they just traded. If Leonard ever develops an outside jumper he could wind up as the steal of the draft at this point.
#10 Milwaukee – Marcus Morris PF Kansas:
The Bucks need a big body to bang inside with Andrew Bogut. Morris can step right in and play and is a safe pick here. The bucks could also go with one of the 2 top shooting guards left here in Klay Thompson or Alec Burks.
#11 Golden State – Klay Thompson SG Washington St.:
Just what the doctor ordered for the Warriors a shooter who doesn’t play defense. This is the biggest no brainer pick in the lottery in my opinion.
#12 Utah – Chris Singleton SF Florida St.:
Assuming the Jazz still own this pick, and we are, then the Jazz do something they typically haven’t done, they get a long athletic wing who can play multiple positions and who is the best perimeter defender in the draft. You pair him with Knight another solid defender, Gordon Hayward yet another solid defender and Derrick Favors an athletic freak and yet another solid defender, and suddenly Utah is long, athletic and versatile defensively, when was the last time you said that about the Jazz. Alec Burks may also be in play here but with the prospect of losing AK-47 why not add the best defender in the draft, who has an offensive game that is already better than Kirilenko’s, minus the passing. Jazz fans may not appreciate this pick now, but Singleton is one of my favorite prospects in the draft and is simply a player you win with cause he will do all of the little things that help you win, defend, block shots rebound, help on defense, in other words the things that former Jazzmen like Carlos Boozer, and AK didn’t want to or were incapable of doing.
#13 Phoenix – Alec Burks SG Colorado:
Phoenix gets arguable the best shooting guard in the draft and with them buying out Vince Carter’s contract they fill a need with a terrific athlete who can step in right away and score for the rebuilding Suns.
#14 Houston Bismack Biyombo PF/C Congo:
The Rockets had pretty good success the last time they drafted a center from Africa. Biyombo is extremely raw and just 18 years old but he’s got an NBA ready body and a freakishly long 7ft 7inch wingspan. He will defend, rebound and block shots right now, and will develop an offensive game. But he’s a double double because he’ll get 5 dunks a night on offensive rebounds. Houston has been shopping this pick but would be thrilled if Biyombo fell to them. Also don’t put it past Detroit to take Biyombo at 8, in which case the Rockets would be just as happy if Valanciunas falls to them at 14. In either scenario the Rockets come out looking much better than expected.
Well that’s it, please let me know if you think I am completely crazy or what. And don’t forget several trade possibilities are very likely so by pick 3 there’s a very good chance you will all be mocking my mock draft. Our next report will come live from Energy Solutions Arena after the Jazz make or trade the 3rd pick.
Topics: Al Jefferson, Bismack Biyombo, Brandon Knight, Chris Singleton, Derrick Favors, Derrick Williams, Devin Harris, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, Jan Vesely, Jimmer Fredette, Jonas Valanciunas, Kawahi Leonard, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, NBA Mock Draft