Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Early Mock Draft 1/4/11

In this segment, I provide an early account of the 2011 NBA draft's top prospects. These synapses are only short player summaries- by no means are they substitutes for more in depth scouting reports. It must be noted that this mock draft does not reflect team needs, nor is it predictive of the exact lottery order. Also to note: not every prospect will be included in this mock draft, as I assume which prospects will enter the NBA draft this year.

1. Kyrie Irving- Irving began the season on a tear for the top team in the country. Prior to his injury, he played under control and well beyond his years. He possesses a mastery of the change-of-pace dribble, similar to NBA guard Chris Paul. Also, he has shot well from beyond the arc.
2. Perry Jones- Jones is a 6'11 wing that can dribble and hit the outside shot. He is willing to tip back shots and grab rebounds inside. Also, he is arguably one of the best athletes in this draft.
3. Jonas Valanciunas- This physical specimen is garnering all sorts of attention for his performances in Euroleague this season. While his post game could use some work on both ends, he has a 7'6 wingspan and utilizes this for offensive rebounding and defensive purposes.
4. Kemba Walker- Walker has been a revelation this season. He is scoring efficiently due to his perfected shooting touch, and distributing the ball. Walker has been a defensive nightmare all season, as he is virtually unstoppable off the dribble.
5. Jared Sullinger- The NCAA's most impressive freshman big man has been a dominant presence on the low block. The only reasons that he will not be picked higher are his defensive limitations, and lack of a consistent face up game at this point.
6. Enes Kanter- Kanter is a skilled big man with an excellent post game. Whether or not he declares for the draft or waits to play at UK is still in question.
7. Jan Vesely- Vesely is a tremendous European athlete with outstanding physical tools. He may be able to play small forward at 6'11.
8. John Henson- While he does still have room to develop his post game, Henson has the agility and athleticism to really become a solid NBA big man. He has added weight to his thin frame this season, and now plays stronger and is more effective on the glass.
9. Harrison Barnes- Barnes has been a disappointment for the most part because of his lack of efficiency shooting the basketball. With that said, he still has intriguing physical tools, and the basketball IQ and work ethic to improve upon them.
10. Terrence Jones- Jones has been the catalyst behind UK's success this year. This face up big man can shoot the ball or take his man off the dribble. His stock has slipped due to inconsistent play recently, and the fact that he does not have a defined position defensively.
11. Donatas Motiejunas- This skilled big man has improved his physicality. He is effective shooting from virtually anywhere on the floor, making him one of the most dangerous weapons in this draft.
12. Chris Singleton- Singleton is a combo forward that can guard virtually any position on the floor. He does a decent job attacking the basket and is very aggressive on the boards. Singleton has extended his range this season, but must work to develop his shot off the dribble.
13. Derrick Williams- Williams has been one of the more impressive prospects all season long. Not only is he extremely physical and athletic in the post, but he also has become a serious threat as an outside shooter as well.
14. Jeff Taylor- Taylor is a world class athlete that has extended his range, and added some bulk to his frame. He is also a ball stopper on the other end of the floor.
15. Tristan Thompson- Thompson has been one of the biggest reasons for Texas' success this season. He is a physical athlete with a developing post game and promise on the defensive end as well.
16. Marcus Morris- Morris is one of the most complete players in this draft. He has extended his range this year, and is comfortable hitting the perimeter jump shot.
17. Josh Selby- Selby is one of the more dynamic, young slashing guards in the country. While he projects as a combo guard at this point, he will have to look to involve his teammates more in order to increase his draft stock.
18. Kris Joseph- Joseph is rather quietly having an excellent season for his undefeated Syracuse squad. After beginning the season in a slump, Joseph is demonstrating an improved three point shot. He has continued to bring world class athleticism in transition and intensity on defense- both of which have been pivotal parts of the Orange's success this season.
19. Nolan Smith- While he may always be thought of as a scorer first and foremost, Nolan Smith has refined his ability to play point guard. He is the savvy backcourt leader of the best team in the country right now.
20. Kawhi Leonard- Leonard has been the most valuable piece for arguably the best mid major team in the country. While he does need to refine his perimeter game, Leonard is an excellent athlete that is the best small rebounder in the country.
21. Trey Thompkins- Thompkins is a skilled big man that can score inside and out. He does lack a quick first step, and this has limited his draft stock.
22. Scotty Hopson- Hopson has all the physical tools to be the best wing in this draft. He must improve his consistency from beyond the arc, and on pull up jump shots. However, he is a menacing presence on the defensive end due to his lateral quickness and length. Additionally, he is more explosive attacking off the dribble this season.
23. Brandon Knight- While Knight is one of the more promising young guards in this draft, he does hold a shoot-first mentality, which limits him as a draft prospect. Additionally, scouts will be looking for him to improve his decision making over the course of the season.
24. Jordan Hamilton- Hamilton is one of the elite perimeter shooters in this draft. He must continue to improve his decision making on both ends of the floor.
25. Kyle Singler- Singler is one of the more proven prospects in this draft class. He is a capable, albeit streaky shooter, that can hurt an opposing team inside as well as on the perimeter. While he does lack the elite explosiveness of an NBA small forward, Singler has the basketball savvy to compensate.
26. Alec Burks- Burks is a smooth athlete with a decent handle. He can attack the basket with decent athleticism. With that said, Burks still must improve as a decision maker.
27. Bojan Bogdanovic- He is a diversified scorer that can attack the basket rather consistently. However, he is not quick enough to defend at the NBA level just yet.
28. Jajuan Johnson- Johnson has molded himself into one of the more skilled big men in this draft. He is a capable post player inside that relies predominantly on half hooks. His footwork has improved considerably over his four years though. Also, Johnson does have a faceup jumper from the mid range. Defensively, his impressive length will cause headaches for the opposition.
29. Kenneth Faried- Faried is arguably the best rebounding prospect in this draft class. He is aggressive on the glass and on the defensive end of the floor.
30. Elias Harris- Harris is a strong combo forward that is aggressive inside. This season, however, his perimeter shot is not falling. His lack of accuracy from the perimeter may inhibit his ability to transition to the NBA wing slot.


31. Demetri McCamey- McCamey has really come into his own this season, transitioning to the role of facilitator. He is a strong guard at 6'3, who has the size to play in the NBA. Despite his lack of elite quickness at the point guard position, McCamey is having an excellent season shooting the basketball from the perimeter.
32. Festus Ezeli- Ezeli has really emerged as a back-to-the-basket weapon this season, utilizing his tremendous combination of length and athleticism to score inside and bother on the defensive end. He must continue to improve his footwork in order to become an elite big man.
33. Malcolm Lee- Lee is one of the more explosive and athletic wings in this draft class, but is not a great finisher. At the next level, he may function primarily as a role player on the defensive end.
34. Jimmer Fredette- Fredette is a consummate leader, who can score the ball using his craftiness and remarkable shooting ability.
35. Keith Benson- Benson has improved tremendously as a draft prospect, demonstrating the same length and athleticism, while also playing more physically inside.
36. Wesley Witherspoon- Witherspoon is a skilled point forward that can score inside and out. With that said, he must improve physically in order to defend at the next level.
37. Chris Wright (Georgetown)- Wright has really come on strong this year for Georgetown. He has done an excellent job initiating their offensive sets, displaying excellent lead guard decision making instincts. Also, Wright is a capable slasher with a solid first step.
38. Travis Leslie- While Leslie is a world class athlete, he does not have ideal size at 6'4 to merit a first round selection. Moreover, he is not an effective perimeter shooter, shooting a paltry 19% from beyond the arc. With that said, Leslie is a ball hawk on the perimeter with fairly quick hands.
39. David Lighty- Lighty is a rather complete, experienced wing who plays within himself. He has solid speed and is able to hit shots from the perimeter, but must work on his consistency. He is also one of the better on-ball defenders in this draft. Lighty has dealt with injury concerns following his torn ACL early in his career, and this should be noted.
40. Xavi Rabaseda- Rabaseda is an improving shooter that scores most of his points by moving off the ball. While he may be somewhat quick dribbling the ball, he lacks the lateral quickness to challenge players in the NBA.
41. Will Clyburn- Clyburn is one of the more unknown prospects currently out there. This Juco transfer is a smooth 6'7 wing with solid athleticism and a decent handle. He is able to attack the basket due to his excellent body control. Clyburn must continue to develop physically in order to be able to absorb contact at the next level.
42. Pablo Aguilar- Aguilar is a developing role player at the next level who functions primarily as a spot up perimeter shooter. He can clean up inside and make decent interior passes as well due to his solid basketball IQ.
43. Andrew Nicholson- Nicholson is a crafty face-up big man that can hit jump shots in the key. He is most effective slithering past his man to the basket due to his excellent quickness.
44. Corey Fisher- Fisher is a strong point guard that is one of the best in the country at scoring through contact. While he still does possess his characteristic New York City handle, he has improved considerably as a decision maker. He must adjust his shooting mechanics in order to improve his perimeter shooting though.
45. D.J. Kennedy- Kennedy is an excellent defensive presence who is also capable as a pull up shooter. He is quick with the ball, and is able to slash to the basket.
46. LaceDarius Dunn- Dunn is a streaky, undersized perimeter shooter with somewhat of a set shot. He must amend this so that he can avoid shot blockers in the NBA. Dunn can attack the basket as well, utilizing solid quickness and physicality.
47. Milan Macvan- Macvan is an intelligent big man that can thrive in pick-and-roll situations. He is also a decent back-to-the-basket option due to his size. Macvan must improve his conditioning if he hopes to make it in the NBA though.
48. Rick Jackson- Jackson is an excellent rebounder and a decent back-to-the-basket threat. While he is aggressive and fights for position inside, he must develop a more diversified post game, instead of relying primarily on up-and-under and hook shots.
49. Kalin Lucas- Lucas is one of the more complete college point guards, with solid quickness attacking the basket and an ability to score on the wing. He is turning the ball over more frequently this season. However, one cannot help but think that this play may be at least partially attributable to the residual effects of his Achilles injury, which he suffered last March.
50. Giorgi Shermadini- Shermadini is a lengthy big man with decent potential considering the fact that he started playing organized basketball relatively recently. He is a fairly skilled presence and is capable as a spot up shooter.
51. E'Twaun Moore- He is one of the best perimeter scorers in the country, who can hit shots from virtually anywhere on the floor. Moore has a fairly effective first step, which he uses to get by defenders. On the other end, despite being undersized, Moore is fairly quick and provides solid effort on defense.
52. Lavoy Allen- Despite his rather average strength inside, Allen is an outstanding post defender that is capable of blocking shots. He scores most of his points in Temple's offensive sets off of basket cuts, so he must work on becoming more of a back-to-the-basket player. Aside from his crafty face up game, Allen is a decent jump shooter as well.
53. Malcolm Delaney- Delaney is a combo guard with a quick first step and an excellent ability finishing around the rim. He can hit shots from long range as well. He must improve as a decision maker; otherwise, he probably will not get drafted.
54. Durrell Summers- Summers is a streaky, undersized shooter with solid athleticism. He needs to improve his consistency in order to secure a selection in this draft.
55. Chris Wright (Dayton)- Wright is a world class athlete that must continue to work on his perimeter shooting in order to become a role player in the league. Currently, he is a solid help defender, and is very physical inside.
56. Mamadou Samb- Samb is a big man with a decent amount of potential due to his intriguing length and his ability to knock down open jump shots. He must add more muscle in order to be effective on both ends of the floor at a professional level.
57. Jerrell Williams- Williams is a garbage player that can be effective in the post. He is a tremendous offensive rebounder, despite his average size and strength. His physique is actually very reminiscent of a rookie Dennis Rodman's. On the defensive end, Williams will be limited by his height at the next level.
58. Gilbert Brown- This older senior has a high-arcing three point shot that is difficult to contest. Moreover, he is fairly athletic and a good enough decision maker at the wing slot.
59. Justin Holiday- Holiday is a serviceable defender that has improved his offensive game this season. He has a decent mid range shot and has improved his slashing ability.
60. Justin Brownlee- Brownlee is one of the more skilled forwards in the country, with the ability to score inside and the necessary court vision to find open teammates.

I assume that the following players will return to school: Mason & Miles Plumlee, Tyler Honeycutt, Patric Young, Tobias Harris, Maalik Wayns, Khris Middleton, Cory Joseph, C.J. Leslie, Tyshawn Taylor, Markief Morris, Aaric Murray, Iman Shumpert, Klay Thompson, Shelvin Mack, William Buford, Yancy Gates, Joe Jackson, Will Barton, Doron Lamb, Mouphtaou Yarou, Ray McCallum, Darius Morris, Kendall Williams, Chase Stanback, Michael Glover, JaMychal Green, and others will be returning to school.

I believe that Mason Plumlee will return to school because of Coach K, and the fact that his draft prospects could be higher in the future. Aaric Murray has played fairly uninspired basketball lately, and may need to return in order to avoid the second round. Klay Thompson may return after learning that he lacks the explosiveness off the dribble to be a first round pick. I believe that Jackson and Barton will return after a fairly mediocre season, in which they were on the cusp of the NCAA tournament. And, Shelvin Mack has been too inconsistent to merit anything more than a late second round draft pick.

Lastly, I noted that Jamine Peterson is a potential NBA prospect coming out of the D League. However, I wonder if NBA executives will consider Peterson to be too much of a headcase in spite of his talent. On a similar note, Renardo Sidney will probably not be selected in this draft due to his embarrassing early-season antics and lack of conditioning.

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