I'm done with mock drafts. I've done my fair share of them in the past and it's nearly impossible to actually be able to pick a perfect draft. On draft day, there will be trades. There will be players that make unexpected falls. There will be head-scratching moves that shake up the entire draft landscape. There is no way I can predict that without having Chris Sheridan on speed dial.
I'm no actuary, but I'd have to say the chances of picking a perfect first round would be smaller than picking all 4 Final Four participants.
This, my friends, is not how I think the draft will go but how I think the draft should go. I basically pretended I was the GM of each of the teams and picked the player I thought was the best fit for the organization. Without further adieu, my 2011 not-so-mock draft:
1) Cleveland Cavaliers: Derrick Williams, SF/PF, Arizona
I know, I'm starting out with a bang by not having Irving here, but it's not because I don't think he's going to be a bad player -- he's the best point guard in the draft. It's not how bad Irving is, it's how good Williams is combined with the fact that a top end point guard will still be around by the time the Cavs are back on the clock at pick four. I believe you get more with the Williams-Knight combo than the Irving-Kanter combo.
2) Minnesota Timberwolves: Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky (Turkey)
Irving is tempting, but Minnesota drafted two point guards in the first round last season. Flynn showed some promise and you have to at least give Rubio a shot. With this pick, Minnesota can finally get Darko out of the starting line-up.
3) Utah Jazz: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Again, I think he's a very good player, and Utah is definitely getting good value for their pick. Irving is a no-brainer pick to become the new face of the franchise now that Deron Williams is in New Jersey/Brooklyn
4) Cleveland Cavaliers: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
How lucky were the Cavs to get both picks one and four? It's almost like the basketball gods were trying to repay Cleveland for the LeBron fiasco. Here Cleveland gets its future point guard, which Baron Davis clearly is not. He doesn't project out as well as Irving, but if I know one thing, it's that John Callipari knows a good point guard when he sees one (see Rose, Wall).
5) Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
Bryan Colangalo and the Toronto Raptors love their international players, but Colangalo isn't making the pick here, I am. Toronto is a team that needs help in a lot of areas, and Leonard (a player who is good at many things, great at none) can provide them with that.
6) Washington Wizards: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
The Wizards need frontcourt help, and Valanciunasmay be what they're looking for. He has a 3 million dollar buyout, but should be worth it. Though he can shoot like many European centers, he specializes in the little things, rebounds and put-backs, something every team could use.
7) Sacramento Kings: Jan Vesely, SF/PF, Partizan Belgrade (Czech Republic)
The Kings may want to pick a bigger name in an attempt to fill seats and keep the team in Sacramento, but I made the pick based on skill over flash. Vesely has the potential to be the best international player in this draft. His frame is something many coaches dream of. If he develops, and that's a significant if, the Kings can say they got a steal at number seven.
8) Detroit Pistons: Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut
He just seems like a Piston to me. Maybe it's the whole Ben Gordon, UConn connection, but it just seems right. Long ago, the Pistons had to pick between Rodney Stuckey and Chauncey Billups at point guard. They chose wrong. With this pick, they have a chance to rectify that and try to save a sinking ship, if it isn't already sunk.
9) Charlotte Bobcats: Marcus Morris, SF/PF, Kansas
Can you even call it an NBA draft without a pair of brother power forward/centers? The Morris brothers are this year's version of the Lopez twins and the Griffin duo. Marcus should step in right away to help the Bobcats who, as of now, lack a team identity.
10) Milwaukee Bucks: Alec Burks, PG/SG, Colorado
The Bucks need more options at the guard spot, making Burks an ideal choice here. Burks is a great court general, and I'd be eager to see what he looks like alongside Brandon Jennings.
11) Golden State Warriors: Chris Singleton, SF/PF, Florida State
Singleton is actually a player I'd love to see on the Thunder, backing up Durant, but I think he'll be gone long before the Thunder get the chance to select him. He's the best defensive player the draft has seen in a while and is one of the reasons Florida State propelled itself into the Elite Eight. This draft doesn't have a lot of "stars" per se, but it's loaded with all kinds of role players like Singleton, and it's ultimately role players that really make a team.
12) Utah Jazz: Markieff Morris, SF/PF, Kansas
The fans will be begging for Jimmer, but being able to draft Kyrie Irving with the third pick changes everything. Markieff fits the role of a typical power forward 6thman. He's not known for his offense, but does have some game. He should provide Utah with some frontcourt depth.
13) Phoenix Suns: Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
This is higher than many boards have him, but I really think he's a can't miss. His college rebound numbers are absurd. I concede that he didn't play against the greatest competition in the Ohio Valley Conference, but he came up huge against Louisville in Morehead State's tournament win over Louisville. He doesn't have the best offensive game, but he knows his spot on the floor.
14) Houston Rockets: Dontas Montiejunas, C, Benneton Treviso (Lithuania)
Hey look, another Lithuanian center! I can't say I know a lot about him, but he's the best 7-footer available, and the Rockets need to find a Yao Ming replacement. NBADraft.net compares him to Dirk Nowitzkiand Andrea Bargnani. If he turns out a fraction as good as Nowitzki, I know the Rockets will be happy with their pick.
15) Indiana Pacers: Jimmer Fredette, PG, Brigham Young
And it's not just because he's white. I see Fredette as instant offenseoff the bench for this team. He could be the piece that turns the Pacers from first round pest to possible second round threat.
16) Philadelphia 76ers: Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Washington State
Igoudala could possibly be on the way out, so the Sixers need to fill in that scoring somewhere. Thompson is one of those speak softly but carry a big stick types, and probably has the most offensive game of the remaining prospects. He also has a really good outside shooting touch which the 76ers could sorely use.
17) New Yorks Knicks: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
The Knicksneed help in every area that is not starting point guard, starting small forward or starting power forward. Unfortunately, finding a starting center or shooting guard at this point in this year's draft is a losing proposition. That's why with this pick I have the Knicksadding some much needed depth behind Amare. Come on Knicks, Renaldo Balkman is your back-up? This team must fill in the rest of the roster.
18) Washington Wizards: Tyler Honeycutt, SG/SF, UCLA
He may not have an NBA-ready body (though I think his lightness is what contributes to his game), but he has NBA-level talent. He has the lengthand athleticism to defend multiple positions. The Wizards are in sore need of depth at small forward, which is why I selected Honeycutt.
19) Charlotte Bobcats: Jordan Hamilton, SG/SF, Texas
The Bobcats have to find some way to make up for the loss of their best player, Gerald Wallace, who they traded and got little in return. Unfortunately, it's way too late in the draft to be looking for a franchise player. Jordan Hamilton is the best Charlotte can do. He should start out as a bench scorer, and could possibly replace Gerald Henderson in the starting line-up... possibly. I think he could have used another year in college.
20) Minnesota Timberwolves: Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
TheT-Wolves are in need of a shooting guard, which is where Brooks comes in. Brooks was the offense at Providence, which is something a lot of scouts hold against him, saying he's too much of a ball hog. Not me. He played for a lower-tier Big East team, and I don't think you can be critical of a guy who is just trying to put the team on his back against superior competition. I think he realizes that in the NBA he won't be the go-to-guy.
21) Portland Trailblazers: Bismack Biyombo, C, Fuenlabrada (Congo)
Athletic. Shot blocker. From the Congo. Plays in Span. Could possibly need time to develop overseas. Sound familiar? Thunder fans have been there, done that. I will be shocked if he turns out as good as quickly as Serge Ibaka developed, but I do expect him to become a good contributor.
22) Denver Nuggets: Josh Selby, PG/SG, Kansas
I admit that Selby could have used some more time in college, and this is higher than some people have him going. However, questions remain about whether the Nuggets will resign J.R. Smith. If they don't, they'll need a slasher out on the wing. Selby is the best available that fits that bill. He could be good right away, but he could also be a complete failure. Luckily, the Nuggets have a solid enough roster to take that risk.
23) Houston Rockets: Darius Morris, PG, Michigan
I'm not sold on Dragic as the point guard of the future in Houston. I'm not convinced that Morris is the future either, but his large frame (by point guard standards) warrants at least a try-out.
24) Oklahoma City Thunder: Kyle Singler, SF, Duke
I really feel like Kyle Singler is destined to play in OKC. In my opinion, the only need the Thunder have that can adequately be addressed at this point in the draft is a back-up for Kevin Durant. He's not a deadly three point shooter, but is good from downtown. His hustle and the fact that he fits in with the whole "team" concept is what most qualifies him for the job.
25) Boston Celtics: Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Tennessee
I looked at Harris as a potential pick for the Thunder, but settled on Singler because I felt he was the better overall fit. Harris, alongside Jeff Green, will give the Celtics a very versatile bench. I think the Celtics biggest need is at center, but I don't think there are any centers left ready to fill a role on a championship level team.
26) Dallas Mavericks: Shelvin Mack, PG/SG, Butler
Put quite simply, he's a winner, so what could be a better fit for a team that just won a championship. Jason Kidd could be entering his finals NBA season, and there's an outside shot J.J. Barea may not return to the Mavericks. The Mavericks can start grooming Mack for the future, and I think he could surprise a lot of people with his shooting and bulldog mentality.
27) New Jersey Nets: Nikola Mirotic, SF/PF, Real Madrid (Montenegro)
Terrible defensive player but one of the better shooters in the draft. Think Peja Stojakovic. Outside of Williams and Lopez, the Nets have 0 firepower. Hopefully adding Mirotic will give Williams a good passing option.
28) Chicago Bulls: Nikola Vucevic, C, USC (Montenegro)
Yeah, he has the white stiff label, but the Bulls can afford to take a chance, as they have another first rounder and the weaknesses they have can't really be filled in the draft, not at this point anyway. He should add depth behind Noah.
29) San Antonio Spurs: Jeremy Tyler, PF/C, Tokyo Apache (USA)
He's a horse of a man for a 19-year-old. Despite his size and strength, he he has a low basketball IQ and has been given the label "lazy" by scouts. I think a marriage with San Antonio is perfect. Tyler needs coaching, mentoring, and the presence of a more mature crowd. The Spurs need youth. They need each other.
30) Chicago Bulls: Nolan Smith, PG/SG, Duke
Maybe it's just because I'm thinking of Chris Duhon. Because of his maturity Smith (a senior) has the ability to step in right away as Rose's back-up.