Following the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and feedback from various individual workouts around the league, we can continue to fine-tune how the draft will play out after the top spot. In the second of many Dime mock drafts leading up to June 23, keep in mind that this is a combination of what we think teams should do and what we think they will do:
1. Cleveland (From L.A. Clippers) – Kyrie Irving
6-2, 180 lbs. PG
With only an 11-game sample, Irving was able to display why he may be the best prospect in the entire draft. His combinations of vision, shooting and scoring are maybe the best we’ve seen since Chris Paul. With the franchise in need of a savior, Irving is the best guy to build around.
2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams
6-7, 210 lbs. SF/PF
Using his versatility all season long, Williams became a viable option for a top pick as an inside-outside threat. Not sure there is anyone in this draft that can bring to the table what he can. And with Ricky Rubio finally arriving in Minnesota, the T-Wolves could be looking at a major talent upgrade. Note: Don’t count out Cleveland making a play for this pick and snagging Williams.
3. Utah (From New Jersey) – Brandon Knight
6-4, 183 lbs. PG
A few months into the season Knight was still a project. Since then, he became one of the most clutch players in the nation and proved to be a multi-faceted offensive threat. The Jazz need a new franchise point guard and a guy that can help them win, and Knight should be up for the job.
4. Cleveland – Enes Kanter
6-10, 250 lbs. C
After lighting up the world in the U-18 games and the Nike Hoop Summit, Kanter became a hot name before arriving in Lexington last fall. Since then, the Turkish big has played zero basketball and become a bit of a mystery in this year’s draft. Cleveland could use another big body to pair with Irving for a killer pick and roll, and Kanter can step out and knock down jumpers.
5. Toronto – Jonas Valanciunas
6-10, 220 lbs. PF
Valanciunas is the best European prospect in the 2011 class. He has more of an American style game as a hustle player who excels in the paint. Once he fills out his body with strength he will be a very productive player. Pairing him with Andrea Bargnani and Ed Davis makes for a very dangerous and young frontcourt rotation in Toronto.
6. Washington – Kawhi Leonard
6-7, 225 lbs. SF
San Diego State, So.
Playing on the West Coast hurts when it comes to publicity, but Leonard has the athleticism and skill to make his name known. For a young Wizards team that needs utility guys that can do just about everything, Leonard is the perfect piece to add to the puzzle.
7. Sacramento – Kemba Walker
6-1, 172 lbs. PG
Walker is the fastest player with the ball in this class, and has a knack at getting in the paint. He may not be a pure point guard, but as a basketball player, he is a tough winner that will excel in the NBA. A backcourt of Walker and Tyreke Evans would give Western Conference teams fits for days.
8. Detroit – Bismack Biyombo
6-9, 248 lbs. PF
You may not know who Biyombo is, but scouts are learning. He is a big-time athlete who can jump out of the building and protect the paint – two skills the Pistons are desperately in need of. He’s not the next Ben Wallace, but he’ll definitely bring his toughness.
9. Charlotte – Jan Vesely
6-11, 240 lbs. SF/PF
Some see him as a small forward, others as a power forward, but either way Vesely is a big-time athlete that can shoot it with range. He will be a matchup nightmare once he adds some strength. And for a team that needs an influx of talent, Vesely brings just that.
10. Milwaukee – Alec Burks
6-6, 185 lbs. SG
Burks is a smooth operator on offense who gets to the free throw line like no other. He also rebounds the ball for his position very consistently, making him the best all-around shooting guard in this class. Milwaukee has said they’ll take the best player on the board, and Burks is it. He’ll make Bucks fans forget they ever had Michael Redd.