Here's an update to our first NBA mock draft of the year. Harrison Barnes
is out, Tristan Thompson
is in, and I moved several players around. The actual draft takes place on June 23, while the lottery will likely cause the Top 14 picks to change slightly.
1. Timberwolves - Kyrie Irving
He's the best point guard in the draft and while he's not as fast as Derrick Rose
or John Wall
, he's quick enough to keep defenses honest. The Wolves may skip him if Ricky Rubio
is really coming to the NBA next season, but they really don't need a big forward like Derrick Williams
, either. David Kahn seems to have a thing for drafting point guards, and could easily do so again if they land the No. 1 pick. Jonny Flynn
won't be back next season, and Irving would make sense to back up Luke Ridnour
if that's the case.
2. Cavaliers - Derrick Williams
Williams recently announced he was entering the draft and he could go No. 1, depending on who gets the pick. The Cavaliers would happily take point guard Kyrie Irving
to back up Baron Davis
next year, but if they don't have a shot at him, Williams is too good to pass up. Playing time would be an issue in Cleveland with J.J. Hickson
and a healthy Anderson Varejao
3. Raptors - Kemba Walker
He became a household name during the NCAA tournament and while his size is an issue (6-feet, 180 pounds), plenty of other small men have succeeded in today's NBA. Think Brandon Jennings
. And with Jose Calderon
always injured and Jerryd Bayless
looking more like a permanent backup point guard, Walker makes sense in Toronto.
4. Wizards – Jan Vesely
SF Czech Republic
With Josh Howard
always hurt and Rashard Lewis
on the downside of his career, the Wizards greatest need is at small forward. Vesely might be a bit of a reach this high, but the Wiz don't need much guard help and have several young bigs on the roster. Vesely makes sense in Washington and would be a nice addition to the rest of their young guns, which include John Wall
, JaVale McGee
, Andray Blatche
and Jordan Crawford
5. Kings – Brandon Knight
PG KentuckyBeno Udrih
has done a serviceable job as point guard in Sacramento and even exceeded expectations. Tyreke Evans
and Marcus Thornton
are also already in the guard stable and the Kings' real need is a small forward. But Knight is going to be a pretty good NBA point guard and Paul Westphal might enjoy having someone with a more up-tempo game running his offense. If Harrison Barnes
falls, the Kings would probably grab him, but if it doesn't happen, Knight could be their guy. The Kings will also probably give SF Jan Vesely
a close look as well, while I could also see Knight end up getting drafted by the Jazz a pick later.
6. Jazz (via Nets) – Enes Kanter
With Mehmet Okur
's lost season in the rearview mirror the Jazz could use a solid back up center. Kanter is one of the most intriguing players in the draft, especially since we really haven't had a chance to see him much. Kanter was ruled ineligible to play for Kentucky after receiving more than $30,000 from his Turkish team, although the money was used mostly for furthering his education. Therefore, we haven't seen much of Kanter over the last year as he was serving as a student assistant coach at UK. Kanter is 6-11, 265, meaning he clearly has the size to play center in the NBA.
7. Pistons – Terrence Jones
The Pistons are a mess and the futures of Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince
are up in the air. Jones made a big jump from my first draft to this one, and in reality will probably end up somewhere in between the No. 7 and No. 16 picks. Many folks think Jones should stay at Kentucky for another year to develop, but he's got enough upside to be a lottery pick this year.
8. Cavaliers (via Clippers) – Jonas Valanciunas
The Cavs have Anderson Varejao
and J.J. Hickson
, but neither is a true center. I originally had Kanter going here, but I think he'll be gone before the Cavs pick. Valanciunas is a skinny center, built in the mold of Andris Biedrins
, but is also possibly the best one in the draft.
9. Bobcats – Bismack Biyombo
The Cats seem to be set at PG (D.J. Augustin
), SG (Gerald Henderson
), SF (Stephen Jackson
) and PF (Boris Diaw
), but they start Kwame Brown
at center. That's obviously a problem, although Kwame actually exceeded some expectations for the first time in his career in the second half of this season. If Kanter or Valanciunas are gone, this seems like the perfect spot for little known Bismack Biyombo
of the Congo. He's got points/rebounds/blocks triple-double potential and a relatively simple buyout from his professional team, clearing the way for him to play in the NBA once the lockout issues are resolved.
10. Bucks – Kawhi Leonard
SF San Diego State
Leonard has had a pretty tough life thus far, but really turned heads with a great freshman year at San Diego State. He could be a tweener in the NBA, but several guys without a true position have found a home. I don't know if he'll really be a Top 10 pick, but if his workouts go well, I could see the Bucks taking a flier, as they don't really need guards or big men.
11. Warriors – Tristan Thompson
The Warriors have both David Lee
and Ekpe Udoh
, but clearly don't need any backcourt help at this point. Small forward is probably their greatest need and it's possible they reach for a guy like Jordan Hamilton
, but Thompson is too good not to be a lottery pick. And the Warriors could certainly use another big body around, as Andris Biedrins
was MIA for most of the season.
12. Jazz – Alec Burks
Burks is a true shooting guard and would fit in very well with the Jazz. He's one of the smoothest scorers coming out of college and most importantly, can create his own shot. He could end up being taken in the Top 10, but No. 12 feels right as of now.
13. Suns – Donatas Motiejunas
Motiejunas surprisingly pulled out of last year's draft and then tore it up in the Italian league this season. He's a great shooter, both from the floor and beyond the arc, and appears to be one of the more NBA-ready players in the draft. The Suns could use another power forward besides Channing Frye
, and Motiejunas looks like a nice complement to Marcin Gortat
. He's another guy I could easily have in the Top 10 in a future column.
14. Rockets – Jordan Hamilton
Like Alec Burks
, Hamilton is a smooth scorer and plays best when he's the main cog in a team's offense. That means it could take him a while to get going in the pros, but he might be the best pure shooter in the draft, and his quick release will be a key to his success in the pros. The Rockets have some needs at the wing and Hamilton makes sense – especially since he's already in Texas.
15. Pacers – Jimmer Fredette
The Pacers actually have a well-rounded team with solid players at most positions, with shooting guard being the most obvious need. Mike Dunleavy
hasn't been healthy, Brandon Rush
hasn't lived up to the hype, Paul George
is more forward than guard, and Dahntay Jones
was locked up like the gimp in Pulp Fiction until Frank Vogel finally unleashed him in the playoffs. Jimmer is a household name, would fit in well in the heartland and might even sell some tickets for the team that allowed Bulls fans to take over Conseco and basically give Chicago an extra home game in the first round of the playoffs. He's an amazing shooter and could easily end up as a starting shooting guard in the NBA (if he's for real).