Douglas Davis (left) hit a buzzer-beater to win the 2011 Ivy League title. (Icon SMI)
By Keith Levinsky
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
1. CLEVELAND - Kyrie Irving, Duke
This is a no-brainer. The Cavs have an opportunity to take a franchise point guard. Kyrie Irving has the speed, quickness, athleticism and ball-handling to become a perennial NBA All-Star.
2. MINNESOTA - Derrick Williams, Arizona
There are other options the Timberwolves could go with here, but Derrick Williams is the best player available. Whether or not he's a power forward or small forward remains to be seen, but he can certainly score and impact the game in a variety of ways.
3. UTAH - Brandon Knight, Kentucky
The Jazz want Knight to be their point guard of the future. At 6-foot-3, he can play alongside Devin Harris in the backcourt. Knight has all the makings of a future NBA star.
4. CLEVELAND - Enes Kanter, Turkey
Enes Kanter is the best center in the draft. Cleveland is one of the destinations he prefers. Kanter is a strong, back-to-the-basket big man that can also knock down mid-range jumpers.
5. TORONTO - Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania
The Raptors have a lot of needs, but it's not every day that they have a chance to acquire a 7-footer with the upside of Valanciunas. He is a bit raw and may not be ready to contribute for a year or two, plus he has a complicated buyout situation, but Valanciunas is a mobile 7-footer with terrific length.
6. WASHINGTON - Jan Vesely, Czech Republic
The Wizards need to add depth in their frontcourt. Jan Vesely is a versatile power forward that can shoot from the perimeter and handle the ball. He is an excellent athlete and may eventually transition to a small forward.
7. SACRAMENTO - Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
Leonard is the best pure small forward in the draft. He is athletic and strong, and is improving his jumper. Leonard can score inside and outside.
8. DETROIT - Bismack Biyombo, Congo
The Pistons drafted Greg Monroe last year and now they want to complete their frontcourt. Bismack Biyombo is a player that can compliment Monroe well. While Monroe is more of a versatile, all-around big man, Biyombo is more of a rugged, strong, athletic big man.
9. CHARLOTTE - Kemba Walker, UConn
The Bobcats already have a solid point guard in DJ Augustin, but it would be tough to pass on Kemba Walker at this point. Walker is a proven winner with the ability to score 20 points a game or play a facilitator role and make his teammates better.
10. MILWAUKEE - Alec Burks, Colorado
The Bucks need to add scoring on the wings. Burks is a polished shooting guard with a nice mid-range game. He is an efficient player that knows how to make the right plays to win games.
11. GOLDEN STATE - Klay Thompson, Washington State
The Warriors could use a small forward or a bigger shooting guard, and Klay Thompson fills both of those needs. He would be great in the Warriors' up-tempo offense, as he has a knack for scoring and knocking down outside jumpers.
12. UTAH - Chris Singleton, Florida State
The Jazz need help at small forward and Chris Singleton is the best small forward available. He is perhaps the best one-on-one perimeter defender in the draft. At 6-foot-9, he has the length and versatility to defend multiple positions.
13. PHOENIX - Jimmer Fredette, BYU
With Steve Nash on the decline, it would be tough for the Suns to pass on Jimmer Fredette. He may not have the same vision and quickness as Nash right now, but Fredette is quicker and more athletic than some realize. With the ball in his hands, Fredette knows how to find ways to put the ball in the basket.
14. HOUSTON - Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania
The Rockets have a lot of needs, so they are just looking for the best player available. Motiejunas is a skilled 7-footer that can score in the post and knock down jumpers.
15. INDIANA - Marcus Morris, Kansas
The Pacers are a talented young team that could use some extra scoring. Morris is a power forward that can score in a variety of ways. He can rebound and score down low, plus he can handle the ball and knock down perimeter jumpers.
16. PHILADELPHIA - Tristan Thompson, Texas
The Sixers need help down low with some post depth. Tristan Thompson is an athletic power forward with the ability to immediately impact a game on the defensive end.
17. NEW YORK - Marshon Brooks, Providence
The Knicks could use a shooting guard that can knock down outside shots when Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire command double-teams. Brooks is the best available of that breed. He can shoot and create as well as any shooting guard in this draft.
18. WASHINGTON - Jordan Hamilton, Texas
Jordan Hamilton is a dynamic scorer with terrific size for a wing at 6-foot-8. He can play shooting guard or small forward for the Wizards and will fit in well with their young up-and-coming team.
19. CHARLOTTE - Markieff Morris, Kansas
The Bobcats could use some size and toughness down low. Markieff Morris is a polished post player that can rebound with the best of them.
20. MINNESOTA - Nikola Vucevic, USC
Nikola Vucevic is a 6-foot-11 big man that can score inside or step out and shoot from the perimeter. He would be a solid compliment to Kevin Love in the Minnesota frontcourt.
21. PORTLAND - Reggie Jackson, Boston College
With Andre Miller aging, the Blazers could use a young franchise point guard. Jackson is an athletic scoring point guard that can get into the lane and score at the rim.
22. DENVER - Tobias Harris, Tennessee
The Nuggets are in a bit of rebuilding mode and are looking for a young player with a big upside. Harris hasn't even turned 19 years old yet and has terrific versatility. At 6-foot-7, he can play down low or handle the ball like a guard.
23. HOUSTON - Josh Selby, Kansas
Selby may have as much potential as any player in this draft, but he doesn't have a defined position. Selby isn't exactly a point guard or a shooting guard, but he is an athletic scoring guard.
24. OKLAHOMA CITY - Nikola Mirotic, Montenegro
The Thunder already have the talent to compete for an NBA Championship. There aren't many players at No. 24 that could help them. Instead, they could draft Mirotic and stash him overseas for a few years.
25. BOSTON - Jeremy Tyler, Tokyo Apache
The Celtics don't have much in terms of a center. Tyler isn't ready to play in the NBA immediately, but with some work he could pan out into a terrific big man.
26. DALLAS - Darius Morris, Michigan
With an aging Jason Kidd and an undersized JJ Barea at point guard, the Mavs need a future point guard. Morris is 6-foot-5 and can score or distribute.
27. NEW JERSEY - Kyle Singler, Duke
Singler doesn't have the upside like some of these other players, but the Nets need a small forward that can knock down outside shots. Singler is ready to contribute in the NBA right away.
28. CHICAGO - Nolan Smith, Duke
The Bulls need a backup point guard that can also play alongside Derrick Rose and score some points off the bench. Nolan Smith can help the Bulls next season.
29. SAN ANTONIO - Davis Bertans, Latvia
The Spurs love to find international steals in the late first round. Bertans is a 6-foot-10 small forward that can really shoot it well from beyond the arc.
30. CHICAGO - Trey Thompkins, Georgia
Thompkins is a lottery talent but his stock has plummeted throughout the draft process. He is a polished post player that has recently added a consistent 3-point shot to his repertoire.