Can you believe it, the 2011 NBA Draft is under 36 hours away and most teams have an idea of what they are going to do. A few picks seem locked in, but other than that, this is going to possibly be the wildest and most unpredictable draft in recent memory. With new information and chatter, here is how things look to shake out on June 23rd at the Prudential Center in New Jersey:
1. Cleveland (From L.A. Clippers) – Kyrie Irving
6-3, 191 lbs. PG
In a point guard’s league, the Cavaliers are not going to pass on the next potential All-Star at the position. Irving may be the piece that starts the rebirth of a team that so desperately needs it.
2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams
6-9, 249 lbs. SF/PF
At the end of the day, Williams may be the most talented player in this draft. He is a combo forward that can dominate at the wing or in the paint.
3. Utah (From New Jersey) – Brandon Knight
6-3, 177 lbs. PG
Utah can go in a lot of different ways here, but the potential of Knight fills a need that the Jazz have. He is a very talented scorer and defender who has barely scratched the surface of his ceiling.
4. Cleveland – Enes Kanter
6-11, 259 lbs. C
Kanter is the best center in this draft and may even be the best overall player, but his lack of playing time the last few years hurts. His size, rebounding and scoring will be a welcome complement to the No. 1 pick Irving.
5. Toronto – Jan Vesely
6-11, 240 lbs. PF/SF
The need is at point guard, but those available bring the same skill set as current roster members Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa. With this pick, the Raptors need to get the best available basketball player and try to build a winner.
6. Washington – Kawhi Leonard
6-7, 227 lbs. SF
San Diego State, So.
The Wizards have future stars in John Wall and JaVale McGee, but they need players like Leonard who are willing and able to do the little things needed to win. Defense, rebounding and hustle are what Leonard excels in, and those qualities would be welcome in Washington.
7. Sacramento – Kemba Walker
6-1, 184 lbs. PG
The Kings are targeting a point guard or a small forward, and they will not pass up on Walker here if he slides this far. This move allows Tyreke Evans to slide to the shooting guard position where he can be at his best.
8. Detroit – Tristan Thompson
6-8, 227 lbs. PF
Last year the Pistons started their ascent back to relevance by taking Greg Monroe; here they may find his perfect complement. Thompson is a great athlete who excels on defense with a developing offensive game.
9. Charlotte – Marcus Morris
6-9, 230 lbs. PF
If the Bobcats want to win now and entice future free agents, they need more than Michael Jordan’s name – they need winning basketball players. One thing is for certain, Marcus is ready to play and confident that he will be the best.
10. Milwaukee – Alec Burks
6-6, 193 lbs. SG
The Bucks need a complementary player for Brandon Jennings in the backcourt to take some pressure off him, and they also need consistent scoring from the wing. With Burks they accomplish both. He is a great scorer and can create his own shot.