Don’t Mock Me! (Plus rumours, predictions & a final wish list)

Posted on June 23, 2011 | 6 Comments

It’s just hours away to the 2011 NBA Draft and this is when rumours and predictions start to get out of control. Anyone who’s working today who loves the draft as much as I do, won’t be getting much done today, I’m guessing.

So let me give a final rundown of everything that’s been happening today…

FINAL MOCKS

I looked at 8 of the more respected “mockers” to see what kinds of trends I was seeing, and try and figure out what it all means.

The “mockers” I looked at were ESPN’s Chad Ford, Draft Express’s Jonathan Givony, NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith, NBA.com’s David Aldridge and Scott Howard Cooper, CNN/SI’s Sam Amick, NBA Draft Insider’s Kristofer Habbas and RealGM’s Chris Riena. Presumably, these guys are plugged in enough that they’re basing their selections on what they hear as much as where think just think player’s might go.

So it seems that, despite rumours to the contrary, the top two selections will be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. That makes sense since, however much I like Enes Kanter, he’s too much of a question mark to take ahead of Williams.

And 6 of the 8 say Kanter’s going to Utah, who at one point were assumed to be taking Brandon Knight. I think Kanter working out against other big men helped his cause, whereas Knight refusing to work out against other point guards might have hurt his stock.

I find it amazing that despite Valanciunas not being able to play in the NBA next year, he’s still projected to be a top 5 pick. Does that say more about his talent or more about the weakness of this draft? Probably a mixture of both. The fact that the Spurs were rumoured to want to move up to get him probably has helped his stock more than anything. Hell, as soon as I heard that’s who the Spurs were targeting, any questions I had about him went out the window.

So there is little doubt that if Irving, Williams and Valanciunas are the top 4 picks, Knight is going to go 5th, and that seems to be consensus. The Raptors are apparently high on him and would be thrilled if he dropped.

That leaves Washington apparently selecting Jan Vesley, or so 7 of the 8 mock drafts say. After that, things get murky. Some think Kemba Walker is next, others think he drops out of the top ten.

So after all that, here are a few predictions of my own.

SURE-FIRE ALL STARS

None. I don’t think there’s a player in this draft you can say is definitely going to be an All Star.

POTENTIAL ALL STARS

Kyrie Irving

Derrick Williams

Enes Kanter

Jonas Valanciunas

I think these guys will end up being the four best players from this draft, which is probably not much of a prediction since they are predicted to go in the top 4.  Valanciunas slips into this category solely on the back of the San Antonio Spurs apparently wanting him. If I’ve learned anything from previous drafts, it’s that the Spurs know what they are doing.

COULD GO EITHER WAY

Brandon Knight

Bismack Biyombo

Kawhi Leonard

Kemba Walker

Just about everyone has major question marks in this draft, but outside of the top 4, it’s these guys who I think have the best chance to become career starters. Or they could struggle to find their niche and end up as journeymen, if they’re lucky. This is when GMs earn their stripes and why I don’t envy the decision they have to make.

I can see Knight as an All-Star, but I also wonder whether he is any different from Jerryd Bayless, when he was drafted.

Biyombo could become Ben Wallace or Mouhamed Sene.

Leonard might be a game changing defender and rebounder at the SF position, or if he can’t find a shot, is he any better than Julian Wright?

Walker has the best pedigree of anyone and dominated in college, but I wonder if he’ll have more of a career like Brevin Knight or Damon Stoudamire.

SAFE PICKS

Tristan Thompson

Nikola Vucevic

Kenneth Faried

I don’t know if ANYONE is a safe pick in this draft, but I think a team selecting any one of these guys can’t go wrong. I can see each one having a long, productive career.

QUESTION MARKS

Just about everyone else.

AVOID AT ALL COSTS

Chris Singleton

Donatas Motiejunas

Jeremy Tyler

For very different reasons. I love defensive players, but Singleton is another one of those defending wings who can’t shoot that never seem to find a place in the NBA. Motiejunas’s ceiling is said to be Andrea Bargnani. Enough said? Tyler has the physical tools to be an All-Star center and the mental tools to become Patrick O’Bryant.

SLEEPERS

Nikola Mirotic

Isaiah Thomas

Cory Joseph

Mirotic won’t be coming over from Europe right away, but he’s a talented big man who likes to play inside. What do you want a bet the Spurs scoop him up? Thomas is very undersized but would probably be a lottery pick if he were 3 inches taller. Joseph, I think, suffered from not playing PG for Texas, but is one of the better defenders and shooters at that position.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TEAMS WILL REGRET PASSING HIM UP IF HE DROPS

Jonas Valanciunas

He’s predicted to go in the top four, but if teams pass up on him because he won’t play in the NBA next year it will be a mistake. Especially considering that there might not even BE an NBA season next year.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO DROP LIKE JAMEER NELSON

Kemba Walker

PGs always seem to either rise (Jonny Flynn) or drop (Jrue Holiday) unexpectedly. It’s my bet Kemba will be it this year. He’s a junior (strike against) who doesn’t have great physical stats who a lot of people question whether he’ll be able to get his shot off like he could in college. However much I question whether he can find a role in the NBA, I think if he drops out of the 10 top, some NBA team is going to be very lucky.

RUMOURS

Far too many to list here, but here’s what I have grasped so far. About the ONLY picks not in play in the top ten is the #1 pick. Minnesota has been in various discussions to move down with just about everyone, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them end up keeping the pick. In fact it wouldn’t shock me to no top ten picks being traded. I think what happens is teams end up overvaluing their picks, especially when they’re getting so many offers for them.

FINAL WISH LIST FOR THE RAPTORS

What I’d like to see is them either move up to grab Kanter, or for Kanter to fall to fifth. Outside of that, I’d like to see them try and pick up another top 10 pick. I’d also LOVE to see a deal involving Bargnani.

What I most definitely do not want to see is for the Raptors to trade down. Teams that trade down almost always simply end up getting a worse player. Yes, they can pick up another asset, but it would most likely be a mediocre talent, something they have enough of and something that really isn’t hard to find.

So here’s my list of players, in order.

Enes Kanter

Jonas Valanciunas

Bismack Biyombo

Kawhi Leonard

Brandon Knight

Kemba Walker

Last year, I got my wish. Let’s hope history repeats itself.

Tomorrow morning, check back for my Draft Report Card.

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Join the discussion: 6 Comments

Comments

  • WhatWhat

    I want Biyombo the most. I already got a nickname for him: Black Swan. But I don’t want him and Bargnani playing together. The thought (assuming both pan out) of them defending together makes me drool.

    Knight IS really, really identical to Bayless. Bayless put up better stats in college though…and had a better pure point rating than Knight despite playing the 2 there.

    My personal big board would be:

    Biyombo
    Jonas
    Walker

    I’m really not sure about Kanter at all, which is why I wanna stay away. But they ALL have serious questions about them, jeez. I doubt that we’ll be able to take him anyways, the Jazz usually go for the white guy.

  • Bball

    Great analysis Tim and I agree 100% with your draft board. The Raptors need to take a big man and if they get one of those 3 big men then I will be very happy. I don’t want them to take Knight. Although he has some skills (athleticism, shooting and defense), he is not a PG. PG is not the most pressing issue for this team and when they do go and find a young player to play PG it has to be someone with PG skills – not a project who may develop into a PG.

  • J

    This draft drives me crazy. =P

  • RaGu

    Merry Christmas ;p

  • Arty

    I’m quite disappointed with all the blatant racism. Jonas is the BPA and a fit for the Raptors. I’m really glad I read this post, Tim.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    @WhatWhat

    I wouldn’t have been disappointed with Biyombo at all, but the consensus seemed to be that Valanciunas is going to be the better player.

    @J

    What’s driving me even more crazy is the reaction to the pick. I have a post coming about it, actually.\\

    @Ragu

    That’s exactly what it felt like. It wasn’t Kanter, be he wasn’t going to last until 5, but Valanciunas was the next best thing.

    @Arty

    You and me both. My elation turned to puzzlement when I started reading all the reactions. Oh, well. I don’t think it will take long at all for him to turn people’s opinions around. Ironically, he’s exactly the type of player Raptor fans love.

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