Friday, June 17, 2011

FTS 2011 NBA Lottery Mock Draft

Always one of my favorite times of the year, the NBA Draft. We get to sit back, relax, and watch numerous teams make tons and tons of mistakes. They pick players who have "good" workouts and expect them to perform the same way in an NBA game. What these teams forget is, these workouts are a lot of times without any defender present, and if there is one, it's usually just one-on-one B.S. This year is quite possibly one of the worst drafts the NBA has ever seen, there are few players who have proven that they can be franchise caliber, or even perennial all-star caliber players. Here's what to expect from this year's draft: A lot of teams drafting guys high in the first round, who would normally go mid to late first round. Without any further interruption, here is the Five Tool Sports 2011 NBA Mock Draft.

With the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select....

Kyrie Irving - Duke - PG 6'3" 180lbs - Freshman
2010-2011 stats (11 games): 17.5 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.4 rpg, 1.5 spg.

Pros: First and foremost, Irving is a natural born leader. So much so, that coach K over at a little college called Duke, decided that Irving was mature and reliable enough at the lead guard position to actually move returning starting point guard Nolan Smith to the off-guard. Irving has great speed, both laterally and end-to-end. He has a very high basketball IQ, he finds the open man, makes the extra pass, and let's the game come to him. I think he is a better passer than both John Wall and Derrick Rose, he has the ability to squeeze perfect passes into tight places. Great ball handler both with his right and his left. Offensively, he has a nice set shot, with good range. Irving can also go both left or right and hit the pull up, mid-range jumper. If his jumper isn't working, Irving is a strong finisher at the rim, and will take it at anyone with no fear.

Cons: Irving played only 11 games in his lone season at Duke with a very bad case of turf toe that will cause him to have to wear a special shoe. That is a very scary chance to take with a franchise changing pick. Experience could also be a deterrent, playing only 11 games at the college level, mostly against weak pre-conference competition, teams may wonder if Irving's skills will translate to the NBA. I think Irving needs to work on his athleticism, he is not known to be a high fly act or an explosive player, and I think he needs to make huge strides in that area.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves - Derrick Williams - Arizona - Sophomore
F 6'8" 240lbs.
2010-11 stats: 19.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg

Pros: Williams is probably the most explosive athlete in this draft. He's not quite the athlete as Blake Griffin, but he is very comparable to that. Williams has a great feel for the paint, as well. He can play with his back to the basket, and flash some nice post moves. Williams can also face up in the mid-post and take his defender off the dribble. He can finish at the rim effectively with both his left and his right, but don't be surprised if he throws down a nasty dunk on someones head. Williams has great hands, he possesses the ability to catch tough passes and lobs. His never-say-die attitude makes him a great rebounder on both the offensive and defensive glass.

Cons: The biggest question about Williams: can he he hit the mid-range or long-range jumper? As I watch more video, the more I think he can. He has decent form, shooting elbow is in, he square's his shoulder's nicely, and he also gets good lift with his legs. His rotation is what worries me, it's not very consistent. SportScience seems to think Williams' long-range shooting is up to par with some of the best in the NBA, but that was filmed in ideal conditions, with no defense and perfect passes into his shooting pocket, you can't really compare that to a game in real time. Another concern with Williams is his defense. He has the athleticism to be a dynamic shot blocker, but he needs to work on his lateral quickness to be able to keep up a lot of the guys he will be checking in the Association.

3. Utah Jazz - Brandon Knight - Kentucky - Freshman
PG 6'3" 185lbs.
2010-11 stats: 17.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.2 apg

Pros: Knight played in a pro-style system under Calapari at Kentucky, so his skill set has been honed for an NBA style offense. He ran a lot of pick and rolls with fellow freshman phenom Terrence Jones. Knight has a pretty smooth stroke from distance, and he can also hit the mid-range jumper at decent clip. Knight has a fantastic runner that he likes to use to score over big men because of his slight frame. He can teardrop the runner, or he can hit if off both sides of the glass. Like Irving, Knight has nice speed, and a quick first step. His lightning quick hands make him very dangerous on defense.

Cons: Knight's ball handling is a bit suspect. His dribble is extremely high for a guy who has the ball in his hands for a majority of the time. He tends to go to his right (strong hand) a lot of the time, which makes him easy to defend. His shot is a little odd as well, although it is nice, he shoots from his chest through his chin. If he is going to be an effective shooter, he needs to raise his release point to avoid getting his shot blocked. Knight has a very slight frame, and that may be a problem against the bigger NBA defenders - he won't be able to get to the paint as much as he did in college. Knight isn't much of a play maker either, he needs to be able to get his teammates involved to be a successful PG in the NBA. His defense is also suspect, he has the ability to be a good defender, but does he want to be one?

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Enes Kanter - Turkey
F/C 6'11" 260lbs.
2010-11 stats: N/A

Pros: Kanter has an NBA ready body, at 6'11" he is capable of battling under the boards with any NBA guy. Kanter pretty good back to the basket game, and makes good use of basic post moves. He dominated the Nike Hoops Summit, flashed a nice 15-footer, and even showed he can take someone off the dribble. The part of Kanter's game that has NBA scouts and front office's seething over is his ability to run the floor. He also has very good hands, which is a huge plus for a big guy. Kanter is not your prototypical European type player, he is a much more physical player. His footwork is also pretty solid in the post, he makes good use of spin moves, and up-and-under moves to get where he needs to be.

Cons: Kanter is not an overly athletic player, and sometimes looks as if he as cement in his shoes. Although he does have good footwork and a good understanding for the post game, he is still a very raw prospect on the offensive end. He looks disinterested on defense a lot of the time, and with his lack of athleticism, he can't afford to be disengaged on that end. Kanter is a very effective rebounder when he wants to be. He has the size and strength to average double digit rebounds as a pro, but he will need to gain a better understanding of rebound positioning to reach his potential on the NBA level.

5. Toronto Raptors - Bismack Biyombo - Congo
F/C 6'9" 240lobs.
2010-11 stats: N/A

Pros: Biyombo is extremely athletic. He is very quick off his feet for rebounds and dunks, like he has trampoline's on the soles of his shoes. He has amazing length, and the best agility in this draft. Biyombo has one of the best NBA bodies in this draft as well, at 4.2% body fat. Scouts and exec's rave over his athleticism and his potential as a defender and a rebounder.

Cons: Biyombo's offensive game is a mess. He is probably the most raw prospect overall in this entire draft. He has the most basic understanding for the post, and his shot is needs a lot of work. At 6'9", he is an undersized center because of his lack of an outside shot. Biyombo will most likely be stashed by whoever may draft him, and in this mock, the Raptors are taking on a huge project.

6. Washington Wizards - Jan Vesely - Czech Republic
F 6'11" 240lbs.
2010-11 stats (Adriatic): 10.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.3 apg

Pros: Vesely is a solid offensive player who could be ready to produce at the NBA level right now. He has good height, length and a nice feel for the game. Vesely is a surprisingly good athlete, as well. He has good leaping ability, and his quickness is underestimated. Vesley possesses a great set of hands and a soft touch around the basket. His picture perfect shot might be his best quality. He has a high release, nice rotation, and a good follow through. Like most European players, Vesely has good footwork and a high basketball IQ.

Cons: Vesely has an extremely thin, frail frame that could bring up some problems for him transitioning to a more physical style game in the NBA; He needs to add a lot of strength to be able to defend his position at the NBA level. Defense is a bit of a question for Vesely as well, he does have good instincts, but his lack of lateral quickness, and of course his thin frame, may hold him back from being an above average defender. Although he has a nice looking shot, Vesely struggles mightily from the charity stripe. Vesely's fourth quarter minutes will be non-existent is he cannot sink his free throws.

7. Sacramento Kings - Kemba Walker - UConn - Junior
G 6'1" 170lbs.
2010-11 stats: 23.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.5 apg

Pros: Walker is an offensive machine; he was born to score the basketball. He has an unlimited array of moves to either get to the hole, or hit a jumper. He has good mechanics on his shot, and can hit it off the dribble, stand-still and step-back. Walker is fearless when attacking the basket, he is a crafty athlete which makes him effective finishing over the bigs' in the paint. Walker has NBA range on his three-point-shot, so that transition won't be a problem. His most desirable quality is his intensity and passion for the game. Walker has a motor that never quits, and he is not afraid to take, and make big shots. Walker is a good fit in Sacto because they already have Tyreke Evans as their play maker, Kemba could slide right in as a sixth man to provide a scoring punch off the bench for the Kings

Cons: the biggest question about Walker: what position does he play? He is too small to play SG, but not a good enough play maker to play PG. He was counted on so heavily to score at Connecticut, that he was not asked to be a play maker. Also, because of his size, Walker will have trouble defending at the NBA level. Walker is not a great defender as it is, he has all the skills to be one, but can he put the same intensity into defense that he puts on offense?

8. Detroit Pistons - Jonas Valanciunas - Lithuania
PF/C 6'11" 245lbs.
2010-11 stats (Euroleague): 7.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg

Pros: Valanciunas is a legit 6'11" which makes him a rarity in this years' draft. He has a beastly wingspan at 7'6" and he has definitely grown into his frame. Valanciunas has a good feel for back to the basket post game. His best quality is probably his hands, he is fantastic at catching a pass off the pick and roll, and finishing strong at the rim. Valanciunas also does a great job of keeping the ball high through traffic. Hardly ever will you see him bring the ball down below his chin on a put back.

Cons: If he could develop some sort of outside game, Valanciunas could be the steal of the draft. As of now, there is no sign of it. Most of the clips I have seen are all dunks, layups and put backs. Defensively, he needs to gain a better understanding of giving help, also, he needs to use his length better because he could be a solid shot blocker in the NBA. Valanciunas is not a great athlete, and with the NBA getting smaller as we speak, he needs to adapt to the style of play.

9. Charlotte Bobcats - Kawhi Leonard - San Diego State - Sophomore
F 6'7" 225lbs.
2010-11 stats: 15.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg

Pros: Leonard is a very gifted athlete with a great motor. He gives 110% on each and every possession both on offense and defense. Leonard is what I like to refer to as a garbage man, he gets points and rebounds off of other peoples mistakes, or miscues. Leonard has huge hands which allows him to snatch rebounds over much larger players with ease. Defensively, Leonard has the capabilities to be great. He is long, athletic, and has a great understanding of help side defense. If the Bobcats can snatch him up here, look for Leonard to be the next Gerald Wallace.

Cons: He is a bit of a tweener because he stands at only 6'7". He shot only 29% from three in for the Aztecs last season, that will have to change for him to be an effective scorer on the NBA level. He relies much too heavily on the three point shot, and that may be because his ball handling is below average.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - Alec Burks - Colorado - Sophomore
G 6'6" 195lbs.
2010-11 stats: 20.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.1 spg

Pros: Burks is a pure scorer with a beautiful shooting stroke. Burks surprised everyone this year at Colorado with a breakout season. He dominated the Big 12 competition, and his draft stock sky rocketed. He has great size at 6'6" 195 at the guard position. Burks is a top 3 shooter in this draft, which makes him very desirable for this Milwaukee team who is looking for scoring help beside PG Brandon Jennings. He has a quick first step, and a nice shot-fake which makes him very difficult to guard. Burks also has great athleticism which allows him to effectively shoot defensive gaps for steals.

Cons: Burks shoots a lot of three's. He will have to find a mid-range game to avoid becoming too one-dimensional. He is also a volume shooter, and has the tendency to forget about his teammates. His play making capabilities are not quite there yet either, he needs to be more aware of what basketball play needs to be made at the proper time. His dedication to on ball defense is a question mark as well. Burks likes to gamble on defense, sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn't.

11. Golden State Warriors - Klay Thompson - Washington State - Junior
G 6'6" 205lbs.
2010-11 stats: 21.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.7 apg

Pros: Thompson is a great shooter, and an above average all-around scorer. He has good size for the 2-guard position. Thompson can score in a variety of ways, three's, mid-range, finish at the rim. Thompson has deep basketball roots, having been around the NBA all of his life, teams look at that as being a huge plus. He is a very composed player, he doesn't let his emotions get the best or worst of him. Has made progress defensively at Washington State.

Cons: Thompson was suspended this past year at Washington State for possession of marijuana, this is a huge red flag for NBA teams considering his character. He is not a great athlete either, mostly a below the rim type of player. His first step is okay, not great, and on the next level, he will need to have an explosive first step in order to get by the athletic NBA defenders who he will face. Defense and rebound are also big question marks about Thompson's game.

12. Utah Jazz - Chris Singleton - Florida State - Junior
F 6'9" 230lbs.
2010-11 stats: 13.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.0 spg, 1.5 blocks per game

Pros: Singleton is one of the best athletes in this entire draft. He has a great frame, 6'9" with a 7'1" wingspan. One of the elite leapers in college basketball. The combination of size, length and athleticism made him arguably the best defender in college basketball this past year. He does a nice job of running the floor and finishing in transition/traffic. Singleton is an NBA ready lock down defender. He has a decent mid-range jumper, and can stretch it out to three point range at times.

Cons: Singleton is extremely raw on offense. He is a very streaky shooter, and can't break defenders down off the dribble. Scouts and NBA exec's question his desire and durability, he seems to give up on plays at times. With the size and athleticism he possesses, Singleton should be a much better rebounder.

13. Phoenix Suns - Jimmer Fredette - BYU - Senior
G 6'2" 195lbs.
2010-11 stats: 28.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.4 rpg

Pros: Fredette, along with Klay Thompson, was one of the best shooters in college basketball. He has unlimited range, and shoots with the utmost confidence whether he is on or not. He has an extremely high basketball IQ, and knows what plays need to be made. Fredette is a leader as well, his teammates at BYU really looked to him for on-court guidance. Fredette is pretty snazzy with the ball in his hands. He is an underrated ball handler, and a very crafty athlete. The part of Fredette's game that stands out to me the most is his toughness. A lot of it probably stems from his time playing against inmates back in Glen Falls, NY, and it will be a huge plus on the NBA level.

Cons: Most people question whether Fredette can play PG on the NBA level. At 6'2" he is a bit undersized a the 2-guard, but his shooting ability may be able to make up for that. Another big question is: who will he guard? I don't know the answer to that, his defense is abysmal at best. In the Phoenix system, however, he doesn't need to play defense. He is nowhere near a great athlete, so many don't think he will be able to get his shot off as effectively as he did in college.

14. Houston Rockets - Donatas Motiejunas - Lithuania
F/C 7'0" 225
2010-11 stats (Italian League): 12.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg

Pros: Motiejunas reminds me a lot of Vlade Divac when he came to the Lakers in the early '90's. His offensive game isn't as refined as Divac's was, but his passing ability is up there with Vlade's. He is a legit 7-feet, but runs the floor like a gazelle. He has a decent understanding of post offense, and has a high basketball IQ. He has a great feel for weak side and help defense. Motiejunas gets uses his size and length nicely on defense, he gets a lot of weak side blocks.

Cons: Needs to become a much better rebounder. In order for him to succeed on the NBA level, Motiejunas needs to be able to grab double digit rebounds on a nightly basis. Still very raw on offense, he needs to develop a back to the basket game, and a mid-range jumper. Scouts question his toughness and seriousness when it comes to the game, apparently, he is very lackadaisical in practice. Motiejunas is a huge project, but his potential may be worth the risk.

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