A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

NBA Mock Draft Version 2.5 – With pre draft grades and comparisons

with 3 comments

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving looks like the 1st overall pick (Image by Chamber of Fear via Flickr)

This will be my final mock draft unless a game changing trade occurs. The picks are based on what I have heard through the usual suspects on the internet – Chad Ford (ESPN.com), Jonathan Givony (Draftexpress.com), Ryan Feldman (thehoopsreport.com), Ken Berger (CBS.com), Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo.com) with a big scoop of my own instincts. Truthfully they did most of the leg work for the actual order. I added grades for each pick and comparisons. Consider that my contribution. Here is the Mock Draft 2.0:

EDIT – Why  not. Here’s the Mock Draft 2.5, edited the morning before the draft with all the latest information. For optimal accuracy.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Kyrie Irving

There’s been talk lately of Cleveland switching to Derrick Williams #1 to pair him with Brandon Knight, perhaps a better pair together than Irving and a non PG at 4. The problem I see with that is the chance Knight doesn’t make it to #4 with Utah’s interest in him at #3. I say they take Irving.

My Grade: A. The correct choice, Irving is not only one of the best bets for all-star production in the draft, but gives the Cavaliers a badly needed leader for the post Lebron era. No need to overthink it, take Irving.

NBA Comparison: Mark Price

2. Minnesota Timberwolves – SF/PF Derrick Williams

Minnesota is clearly trying to trade this pick, but have been saying if they can’t, they’ll take Williams and likely trade the similar Michael Beasley. I could still see them buckling and taking Enes Kanter here, who is a much better fit.

My Grade: C-. My thoughts on the Minnesota Williams pick are  here: http://asubstituteforwar.com/2011/06/09/why-the-minnesota-timberwolves-taking-derrick-williams-2-is-a-bad-idea/. Williams is a remarkably bad fit for the Timberwolves.

NBA Comparison: Glenn Robinson

3. Utah Jazz – PG Brandon Knight

Most mocks have had Knight to Utah since the lottery, though there’s been Kanter smoke. Knight appears a better fit for the Jazz with the Millsap, Favors, Jefferson frontcourt in place.

My Grade: B-. Knight should be a long time NBA rotation player who’s a good teammate and worker which fits the Jazz mantra. But in terms of talent, this could be a bit high. He might be more of a combo guard who specializes in hitting 3s than a true point.

NBA Comparison: Jason Terry

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – C Jonas Valanciunas

Jonas has a momentarily fall down the board, but Cleveland apparantley flew him in yesterday and are now willing to take him

My grade: D. Not seeing it with Jonas. He’s unathletic and lacks a real big man skill game. He looks like an average 7 footer in the league to me.

NBA Comparison: Tiago Splitter

5. Toronto Raptors – C Bismack Biyombo

Looks like the Raptors board is down to Biyombo and Knight. With Knight off the board, they scoop up Biyombo.

My grade: B-. I support going for the jugular in a draft and trying to get what you can’t in free agency – usually, that’s stars and centers in that order. Biyombo could be both and play a Tyson Chandler role in the future. But I have to dock their grade for leaving Enes Kanter on the table, the best player available.

NBA Comparison: Tyson Chandler

6. Washington Wizards – C Enes Kanter

The Wizards have coveted Kanter and have been trying to move up for him. In this scenario he falls in their laps.

My grade: A-. While an unknown, Kanter brings guaranteed size and skill to the NBA. I have a hard time seeing a player of his talent fail. He is the 2nd or 3rd best prospect in the draft to me.

NBA Comparison: Luis Scola

7. Sacramento Kings – PG Kemba Walker

The Kings have been looking at a PG like Jimmer or Kemba Walker. It looks like they’ve settled on Kemba.

My grade: D. I’m out on Kemba Walker. He has Nate Robinson’s standing reach – meaning he’ll be as far away from the rim as anyone. Expect a lot of trouble finishing at the rim, which to go along with his weak outside shooting, will make an inefficient player. Also, he’s a brutal fit with Tyreke Evans, while Jimmer would have been a great one.

NBA Comparison: Jerryd Bayless

8. Detroit Pistons – PF Tristan Thompson

Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the Pistons will be passing on Kemba Walker, long considered a favorite for the spot. Thompson is a solid positional fit.

My grade: B-. Thompson is a nice fit beside Greg Monroe, providing a defense/rebounding presence to go beside Monroe’s finesse offense. This is a solid single at the plate, it’s not always easy to get PFs who are strong and can play defense.

NBA Comparison: JJ Hickson

9. Charlotte Bobcats – SF/PF Kawhi Leonard

The Bobcats are apparantley high on Leonard.

My grade: C-. I like Leonard for a team who needs defense and rebounding like the Warriors. But the Bobcats need offensive talent. This is a low upside pick that doesn’t feel a need. Bad pick.

NBA Comparison: Jonas Jerebko

10. Milwaukee Bucks – SG Alec Burks

There’s been talk of the Bucks taking Jonas Valanciunas here and waiting, but I believe there’s pressure to win now in Milwaukee and financial problems, both which lend to needing a rookie now.

My Grade: A+. The steal of the draft if he falls this far. Burks specializes in driving the paint with his ballhandling ability and having craftiness after the drive to get off a shot or draw contact. That’s what makes star wings. He is one of the few prospects in this draft with clear all-star tools to me.

NBA comparison: Brandon Roy

11. Golden State Warriors – SG/SF Klay Thompson

The Warriors apparantley love Thompson and his fit beside Curry and Ellis shooting the 3.

My Grade: B-. There are never enough 3pt shooting SGs with size in the NBA, which should make Klay Thompson a guaranteed rotation player and possible immediate starter if Monta Ellis is on his way out on the grounds of not fitting well with Stephen Curry. Still though, like the Leonard pick, I wonder if the Warriors should be aiming higher.

NBA Comparison: Kyle Korver

12. Utah Jazz – SF/PF Jan Vesely

Utah has not been rumored to take Vesely, but Vesely hasn’t been rumored to fall this far. He is a perfect fit to play behind Andrei Kirilenko, whom many have compared his high energy game to.

My Grade: A-. I’m not a huge Vesely fan but you have to take him at this point. He will be one of the SF position’s best athletes and a threat to dunk anytime he’s within 10 feet of the basket.

NBA Comparison: Jonas Jerebko

13. Phoenix Suns – SF/PF Chris Singleton

The Suns are said to be emphasizing defense, Singleton has been getting hype as the best defender in the draft. It’s a good fit.

My Grade: C+. Singleton may live up to his reputation, but I wonder if he has enough offense to stay on the floor.

NBA Comparison: Luc Mbah a Moute

14. Houston Rockets – PF/C Donatas Motiejunas

The Rockets need a center and like sneaky European pick-ups. Motiejunas fits them.

My Grade: A. Motiejunas is one of the most talented players in the draft and a phenomenal pickup this late.

NBA Comparison: Brook Lopez

15. Indiana Pacers – PG Jimmer Fredette

The Pacers are said to be fans of Jimmer, hoping he could bring scoring to their backcourt.

My Grade: A. I’m a huge Jimmer pusher. He can shoot, he can pass, he has underrated quickness. Guaranteed NBA contributer with star upside. That’s what you want.

NBA Comparison: Mo Williams

16. Philadelphia 76ers – SF/PF Jordan Hamilton

The Sixers were rumored to be looking at center Nikola Vucevic here, but Jordan Hamilton appears to be the guy at this stage.

My Grade: B. Hamilton is not a world beater, but he has NBA athleticism and can shoot 3s, which makes him a very likely rotation player. Basketball IQ is questionable though.

NBA Comparison: Carlos Delfino

17. New York Knicks – SG Marshon Brooks

The Knicks could use some complimentary offense beside Amare and Melo.

My Grade: B. Brooks should be a sure thing to score in the NBA, but it may be on mediocore efficiency. He has a good stats bad team reputation.

NBA Comparison: Ricky Davis

18. Washington Wizards – SF/PF Tobias Harris

Washington will probably try to trade this pick to move up for Kanter. If they keep it, I’m not sure whether they’ll go for offensive skill or look for defense, which is more of a need. Tobias if nothing else gives them a great character guy and smart leader they need.

My grade: C-. While Harris is a great guy, I just don’t think he’s an NBA player. He’s too slow for the 3 and too small and grounded for the 4. There is a Mendoza line for NBA athleticism, I believe Tobias is below it. Still I can’t fail them on this pick just because getting a high character bust may be a better idea than a producing but low bball and team IQ player like Marshon Brooks, with the present knuckleheads on the roster.

NBA Comparison: Luke Babbitt

19. Charlotte Bobcats – SF/PF Marcus Morris

While this is their 2nd 3/4 tweener in the 1st round, Morris is a good offensive compliment to Leonard playing the 4 – and offense is what they need.

My Grade: B. There’s some questions about which position Morris will guard, but he’s a skilled player and has starting potential due to his scoring ability.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves – PG/SG Iman Shumpart

The Timberwolves need some defense on the perimeter, Shumpart has been a late riser in that role.

My Grade: C+. Like Singleton, I don’t know if he’ll have the offense to stay on the floor.

NBA Comparison: Royal Ivey

21. Portland Trailblazers – PG/SG Reggie Jackson

Jackson apparantley has a promise to a team and thus shut down his workouts this month, speculation has it the Celtics or Heat. I see Portland scooping him up with their need for a PG to replace Andre Miller.

My grade: A. I love Jackson’s potential, he’s strong, fast, long and has a shooting and passing game. The question is whether his 7 foot wingspan makes up for being a 6’3 SG. I think it does. And I believe he could play the PG too. To me this is a monster pick at #21.

NBA Comparison: Jason Terry

22. Denver Nuggets – SF/PF Kenneth Faried

The Nuggets have a lot of roster spots filled, but there’s always room for an elite rebounder.

My Grade: B+. If Faried can provide elite rebounding, defense and above the rim offense, that makes him a guaranteed contributer and nice pickup at this stage.

23. Houston Rockets – SF Davis Bertrans

Bertrans just feels like he’s going to the Rockets, Mavericks or Spurs. All 3 franchises make a habit of making sneaky picks on Euros and killer 3pt shooters like him. Everyone seems to feel Bertrans will be a great pick in the 20s, but it feels inevitable one of those 3 teams end up with him and get a steal again.

My grade: A-. Due to the rarity of SFs who are great 3pt shooters, Bertrans should make it in the league. He should be a long time system player.

NBA Comparison: Tayshaun Prince

24. Oklahoma City Thunder – PF Markieff Morris

Oklahoma City probably wants some shooting and offensive versatility that they gave up in Jeff Green. Markieff is projected top 20 on many sites, so they’d be happy to get him here.

My Grade: B+. Markieff can take Jeff Green’s role on this team, giving the team a needed shooting option at the 4 and good character. He is a solid, unspectacular pick.

NBA Comparison: Tyler Hansbrough

25. Boston Celtics – C Nikola Vucevic

The Perkins trade left a hole at C the Celtics need to fill. Vucevic is one of the longest players in the draft and few rotation C guys.

My Grade: B. I like rolling the dice on Vucevic for the Celtics here, I just feel he may be too grounded and skinny to make in the NBA at the center position. But the Celtics can cover some of his weaknesses like they did with Perkins.

NBA Comparison: Kosta Koufos

26. Dallas Mavericks – SF Tyler Honeycutt

What do the champs need? Not much. The strategy may be to get the best player to either dangle in a trade or look to develop for the long term.

My grade: B. Honeycutt is an interesting long term piece with his length and versatility but may spend some time in the D League next year. Marion is a great player for him to learn from.

NBA Comparison: James Johnson

27. New Jersey Nets – F Jajuan Johnson

The Nets are probably just looking for someone the Magic would like in a Dwight Howard trade. Johnson is close to best player available here and fits beside Brook Lopez, whether it’s on the Nets or Magic in the future.

My Grade: B. Johnson is a talented scoring PF who’s a bit soft. He’s a solid pickup here.

NBA Comparison: Hakim Warrick

28. Chicago Bulls – PF Justin Harper

The Bulls need shooting. I expect them to address needs for that at both their picks.

My Grade: C+. Harper is theoretically a great fit for the Bulls as a 3pt shooting PF, giving them badly needed shooting. My reasoning for the lower grade is I feel Jon Leuer is the better stretch big prospect on the board due to greater size and mobility.

NBA Comparison: Ryan Anderson

29. San Antonio Spurs – SG/SF Travis Leslie

The Spurs biggest weakness last year was probably athleticism, young legs to keep up defensively with the Grizzlies.

My Grade: B. Leslie is a signature defensive stopper in this draft with his athleticism and length and fits well on the Spurs where his offensive weaknesses can be hidden.

NBA Comparison: Tony Allen

30. Chicago Bulls – PG/SG Josh Selby

The Bulls desperately need a 3pt shooter at the 2 guard spot. If they go stretch big with #28, expect them to take a SG here.

My Grade: A-. Selby is a perfect team for the Bulls – Desperately needing his spot up 3pt shooting and defensively able to cover him.

NBA Comparison: Mario Chalmers

3 Responses

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  1. Really solid mock. This draft is going to be real interesting. It is no doubt a weak draft but I think at the same time you are bound to find some hidden gems in the draft. I mean, guys like Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry are bound to come up. There’s a lot of supposedly mediocre talent and I wonder if teams picking in the 3-10 range will be better served to take a risk rather than going with someone that only has the ceiling of being a solid NBA producer. Everyone’s mock drafts I read seem to be different so it will be fun to see where each player goes and how much wheeling and dealing goes on during draft day.


    Chris Ross

    June 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

  2. Shumpert to the Knicks would be interesting. I don’t think they take him though. Defensively, Fields and Douglas are fine. What they need is more commitment from Stat and Melo and a big center. Offensively, they need a young distributor, which Iman doesn’t appear to be. Hes’ just a lead guard if anything. The Knicks have been transitioning Douglas into a real point guard for some time now (with decent success), so I doubt they give themselves another project.

    Cool mock draft board though. Informative, especially the comparisons to current players.


    June 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

  3. Fail mock 😛 it was ok some parts, but you said that Jonas V is unathletic??? are u joking, watch him play. Hes the MVP of the U19 world championship and squashed the us team.


    July 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

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