Steve Alexander

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Mock Draft, Version 5

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Here's the fifth update to our NBA mock draft. The latest news is that guys like center Jonas Valanciunas, and forwards Tyler Honeycutt and Tobias Harris are seeing their stock rise. The NBA Draft takes place on June 23.

1. Cavaliers (via Clippers) - Kyrie Irving PG Duke

With some help from owner Dan Gilbert's son, Nick, the Cavaliers turned their trade of Mo Williams for Baron Davis into Davis AND Kyrie Irving by landing the No. 1 pick. I still think they'll take Irving, as he currently looks like the No. 1 pick, hands down. 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 and is considered by most as the clear first pick this year. The Cavs already have Baon, but he's far from reliable, while his career is also starting to wind down. If they decide to pass on Irving, which seems unlikely at this point, Derrick Williams would be the next logical selection. As for Ramon Sessions, who can also play point guard? If they take Irving, expect Sessions to be traded on draft night.

2. Timberwolves - Derrick Williams F Arizona

Williams could go over Irving at No. 1, but as of now, we're guessing he ends up in Minnesota. Unfortunately, they've already got Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, but Williams would have time to develop off the bench in Minnesota, and appears to be the only option they have at No. 2. Then again, David Kahn is running the show, which means anything is possible here, including trading the pick.

3. Jazz (via Nets) - Brandon Knight PG Kentucky

The Jazz could take Kemba Walker at No. 3, which would leave the Raptors with Knight at 5, but Knight looks like the better prospect at this point, which is why I flipped Knight and Walker in this edition. And with Devin Harris often banged up, they could use another PG, as backups Earl Watson and Ronnie Price aren't great NBA point guards. They could also go with Enes Kanter here, but my guess is they grab a guard and then try to get another big man with the No. 12 pick, which they also own.

4. Cavaliers – Jonas Valanciunas C Lithuania

The Cavs are feeling some pressure to come through with the No. 1 and 4 picks, but the bottom line is that they're using a pair of power forwards to play center (J.J. Hickson & Anderson Varejao). He's a skinny center, built in the mold of Andris Biedrins, but is also possibly the best one in the draft. He could be a steal this late and looks even safer now that we know his Euro contract can be bought out with relative ease. The real question is whether or not the Cavs would really pass on Enes Kanter here.

5. Raptors – Kemba Walker PG UConn

Walker 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. It makes sense the Raps would look for a back up for Jose Calderon at point guard. They also have Jerryd Bayless, but Walker or Knight look like a great way to spend this pick. And once again, if they're finally done with Andrea Bargnani at center, they will also give Enes Kanter a serious look if he's still on the board. And with late word that the Raps are open to trading Bargnani, Kanter (as well as Valanciunas) is a real possibility here.

6. Wizards – Enes Kanter C Turkey

The Wizards have two talented young bigs in JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche, but Kanter might be the best center in this draft and has stated that he'd love to play for Washington. He's also got a great personality and would be a PR win as well. We really haven't had a chance to see Kanter much, as he was ruled ineligible to play for Kentucky after receiving more than $30,000 from his Turkish team. Kanter ended up serving as a student assistant coach at UK. He's 6-11, 265, meaning he clearly has the size to play center in the NBA, but is not projected to be a shot blocker due to a limited wingspan. Many mock drafts have Kanter going at No. 3 or No. 4, and we could end up with him there before next month's draft. But for now, we like Valanciunas slightly more than Kanter. If the Wiz pass on Kanter, or he's off the board, SF Kawhi Leonard makes a lot of sense, filling a clear need.

7. Kings - Kawhi Leonard SF San Diego State

The Kings have been struggling to find a suitable small forward since they let Gerald Wallace go and Leonard appears to fit a big need. The biggest question is whether or not Leonard is really worth the No. 7 pick. We'll find out in less than a month.

8. Pistons – Alec Burks SG Colorado

Burks is a true shooting guard and with the future of Rip Hamilton up in the air, as well as the constant struggles of Ben Gordon, getting a shooting guard (or small forward) makes sense for Detroit. Burks might be a reach at No. 8, but the Pistons could easily roll the dice on him.

9. Bobcats – Bismack Biyombo F/C Congo

The Cats seem to be set at PG (D.J. Augustin), SG (Gerald Henderson), SF (Stephen Jackson) and PF (Boris Diaw/Tyrus Thomas), 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 – Tristan Thompson PF Texas

Thompson is a lock for the lottery and the Bucks are pretty deep across the board. However, they could use a more athletic power forward, making Thompson look like a great fit. Donatas Motiejunas is also a possibility here.

11. Warriors – Donatas Motiejunas F/C Lithuania

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 Warriors can always use help up front and Motiejunas could get some nice run at center for GSW next year. Ekpe Udoh may or may not be their starting center of the future, but Motiejunas will likely push him if he ends up in Golden State. They could certainly use another big body around, as Andris Biedrins was MIA for most of the season.

12. Jazz – Jan Vesely SF Czech Republic

The Jazz have plenty of big men and could really use a shooting guard. Jimmer Fredette is going to get a strong look here, but Vesely is very talented, and would make for a nice tag-team partner with Gordon Hayward. No. 12 just seems a little high for Jimmer, so Vesely makes sense here. It's also not out of the question that Hayward and Vesely could play shooting guard.

13. Suns - Kenneth Faried PF Morehead State

Faried has a great nose for the ball, is one of the best rebounders in college history and will dive for loose balls without hesitation. Hustle is a word that best describes him and the Suns could use a rebounding power forward to complement the 3-point shooting of Channing Frye.

14. Rockets – Jordan Hamilton SF Texas

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 aren't exactly deep at SF and Hamilton makes sense – especially since he's already in Texas.

15. Pacers – Jimmer Fredette G BYU

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 big enough).

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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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