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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…
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
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
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.
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?
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.
Just about everyone else.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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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