With March Madness living up to its name so well (we’re actually going to see Morehead State take on Richmond), it’s about that time that we lock-on to prospects that will likely earn themselves a job in the NBA by the time the Draft rolls around in June. Although a round in an NBA Draft is nearly impossible to predict because of trades, cash settlements, international player rules, etc. – I’m giving it a run.
Check back regularly, as this Mock Draft will be change and update frequently.
Last Update – May 18th (Major changes, including Lottery update)
1.) Cleveland – Kyrie Irving ( PG / 6’2 / 180 / Duke / Freshman ) – Although having missed a majority of his freshman season, everyone saw enough to realize that Kyrie Irving is the real deal. The new team design in the NBA is building around the point guard (see: Rose, Wall, Paul, D. Williams, Westbrook, etc.). That being said, Cleveland is obviously in the rebuilding stage and Irving is one hell of a foundation. And in terms of security, I believe Irving is safer than others at this point. * This CLE pick comes via LAC in Baron Davis trade*
2.) Minnesota – Derrick Williams ( SF / 6’9 / 241 / Arizona / Sophomore ) –By this point, the Timberwolves appear to be stacked at every position — mainly because they’ve selected in the lottery for the last 100 years. The team could go with Irving in this spot, but word has it that Ricky Rubio is planning on joining the team as early as next season. Williams is a tweener in the NBA but he can likely play either forward spot. Described simply as a human highlight reel, Williams has a ton of athleticism that would benefit any team.
3.) Utah – Brandon Knight ( PG / 6’3 / 185 / Kentucky / Freshman ) – Because I wouldn’t be completely satisfied with CJ Miles and Raja Bell as my only two-guards going into next season, Knight is a tweener between the one- and two-guard positions that can help the Jazz by adding versatility. Teaming up with guys like Devin Harris, Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors, Knight’s speed and scoring ability would mix perfectly. After watching a lot of this kid since high school, I’m convinced he’s a legitimate pro. * This Utah pick comes via NJ in the Deron Williams trade *
4.) Cleveland – Kawhi Leonard ( SF / 6’7 / 225 / San Diego State / Sophomore ) – This is probably a reach for Leonard, and the Cavs could be better-suited by giving Irving a true big man to build with, but I’ve heard that the team likes Leonard a lot. Enough to make him their swingman of the future AND at No. 4? Risky, but he has great upside. A hard-nosed player with loads of potential, Leonard has great length, an improving mid-range jumper and great instincts on the defense. He’d be an explosive teammate alongside Irving.
5.) Toronto – Enes Kanter ( C / 6’11 / 261 / Kentucky / Freshman ) – Originally from Istanbul, Kanter was suspended all of his freshman season at Kentucky this past year (played for foreign pro team). Other than the fact that he has no college experience, Kanter’s knock is his history of health concerns. In terms of talent, Kanter tore it up in euroleagues before playing one year of high school ball at Stoneridge Prep in California. A true center, Kanter has been compared to Atlanta’s Al Horford and he has everything it takes to excel in the NBA. Kanter would be a true center for the Raptors and he could be the anchor while Bargnani uses his ability to stretch the floor.
6.) Washington – Jan Vesely ( SF / 6’11 / 230 / Czech Rep / born 1990 ) – Some have compared Vesely to Tyrus Thomas and/or Mike Dunleavy – and I wouldn’t be able to tell you any different. The kid plays overseas, he’s the typical long body with the ability to shoot, but Vesely also appears to have good footwork with an impressive motor. The Wizards are thin at the small forward position and Vesely would fill a need, however I question how he would play alongside John Wall. I would also keep in mind that the Wizards have two picks in the first round, meaning that they could look to deal if they’re not in love with a player at No. 6.
7.) Sacramento – Alec Burks ( SG / 6’6 / 191 / Colorado / Sophomore ) – Some will consider this a reach for the Kings at No. 5, but the team could use a solid two-guard prospect and Burks offers the scoring ability and attractive size/length. At the next level, Burks will need to work on his discipline and adjusting to the speed of the NBA game, but his ceiling is high and his draft stock seems to be rising.
8.) Detroit – Donatas Motiejunas ( C / 7’0 / 224 / Lithuania / born 1990 ) – I’ve heard some say that this kid’s potential is Pau Gasol like, while others have said he’s another Yi Jianlian. Regardless, there’s value for Detroit here at No. 8. Motiejunas could add tons of length to the team while providing the ability to spread the floor with solid perimeter shooting. Because he’s so young, scouts have questioned Motiejunas’ effort – all of which would improve with maturity. My biggest question, as if I’m some reputable scout, is Motiejunas’ transition to the NBA. There’s no questioning his talent or potential, but how long will it take?
9.) Charlotte – Kemba Walker ( PG / 6’0 / 172 / Connecticut / Junior ) – Michael Jordan will be tempted by the shooting of Brigham Young’s Jimmer Fredette, but he’ll probably like the higher ceiling of Walker. Although the league is on the trend of building around solid point guards, I’m not sure if Walker really has that kind of potential. Regardless, Jordan will love his scoring and he’ll use the latest NBA trend as rationale and justification. At the very least, they’ll gain a true scorer – but they really need help in the frontcourt.
10.) Milwaukee – Marcus Morris ( SF / 6’9 / 218 / Kansas / Junior ) – With Milwaukee’s frontcourt locked up either contractually (Gooden), or investment wise (Sanders), the Bucks will likely look to address the small forward position. Marcus Morris was more of a long-range power forward at Kansas, but I believe he has the ability to play either forward position in the NBA. Morris may not be the most powerful three-guard, but he has a high basketball IQ and he has the ability to score from almost anywhere on the floor. Morris won’t shut down anyone defensively, but he’s a tough kid with a strong desire to get better. I’d be willing to bet that Marcus breaks the starting lineup sooner than most people think.
11.) Golden State – Tobias Harris ( SF / 6’8 / 225 / Tennessee / Freshman ) – Is Dorrell Wright this team’s only small forward going into next season? Harris is a very raw talent but his ceiling is very high. I think Golden State would be taking a risk here with Harris as early as No. 11, but it’s worth it. Harris is a long three-man with the ability to defend, something the Warriors could use an upgrade in.
12.) Utah – Jimmer Fredette ( PG / 6’2 / 195 / Brigham Young / Senior ) – I didn’t want to do this, I actually wanted to save Jimmer for Larry Bird in Indiana, but this just fits. We all know that Fredette has the ability to pull-up from anywhere on the court and score, but we don’t know how his playmaking abilities will transition to the NBA. Being more on the smaller side, Fredette seems to fit the one-guard position and will likely become an effective bench player early in his career. He won’t jump out of the gym with his athleticism (there’s not much there), but he can score from the parking lot – which helps things.
13.) Phoenix – Jordan Hamilton ( SF / 6’7 / 226 / Texas / Sophomore ) – The Suns will be hit with a few guys leaving via free agency (assuming Carter, Pietrus and Hill are gone) and they’ll look to replenish the position. At this point in the Draft, Hamilton is the best available small forward prospect. Hamilton is a very good scorer and he has explosiveness to go with his impressive athleticism. He would fit perfectly in the Suns offensive scheme.
14.) Houston – Bismack Biyombo ( PF / 6’9 / 240 / Congo / born 1992 ) – A high-energy guy with crazy athleticism, Biyombo has been taking big boards by storm lately. Biyombo really reminds me of Serge Ibaka and he has the opportunity to become a force in the NBA. The Rockets are in need of help in the frontcourt with Yao’s likely departure, but the question remains regarding how long it may take Biyombo to make the jump.
15.) Indiana – Klay Thompson ( SG / 6’6 / 202 / Washington State / Junior ) – Although just an average athlete, Thompson is a prototype two-guard at the next level. His jumpshot is above-average and he can effectively create his own shot. While I have slight concern over his character, teams do not appear phased at all. Larry Bird misses his pure shooter in Jimmer Fredette, but Thompson could be a great addition for a team looking for a scorer.
16.) Philadelphia – Tristan Thompson ( PF / 6’9 / 225 / Texas / Freshman ) – Philly has a young core and they could cause some fits next season – adding a guy like Thompson could help. Although very young, Thompson is a versatile athlete with great leaping ability. He’s currently working hard on his offensive game, but Thompson has great hands on both ends of the ball and I believe he becomes a great rebounder in the NBA.
17.) New York – Jonas Valanciunas ( C / 6’11 / 240 / Lithuania / born 1992 ) – After shipping off most of their roster in a deal to land Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, the Knicks are seriously lacking some size. Valanciunas is very young and he has a long way to go, but his potential is very exciting. Head coach Mike D’Antoni will like this young man’s range, the fact that he can run the floor, and the probability that he’s not done growing. Like I say about most Europeans; how long will it take before we actually see this guy in the Garden?
18.) Washington – Chris Singleton ( SF / 6’9 / 225 / Florida State / Junior ) – After deciding to come back to school for his junior year, Singleton enters this Draft with lower stock due to injuries. Fortunately for the Wizards, they are able to grab a lockdown defender with great athleticism late in the first round. Singleton isn’t a natural scorer, but his defense is top-notch and he’d be a high-flying wingman for John Wall. Singleton has admitted that he’s a work-in-progress and I love the guy’s hustle and approach to the game. * This Washington pick comes via ATL in the Kirk Hinrich trade *
19.) Charlotte – Tyler Honeycutt ( SG / 6’8 / 185 / UCLA / Sophomore ) – Arguably one of the most overlooked players in this draft, Honeycutt is a versatile shooter that has the potential to do big things in the NBA. Honeycutt is very slender and his strength will certainly need some attention, but his shooting and smooth play are positives. Whether or not D.J. Augustin is the answer at point guard is yet to be seen, but giving him a guy like Honeycutt really isn’t a bad idea. * This Charlotte trade comes via NO in the Gerald Henderson trade *
20.) Minnesota – Markieff Morris ( PF / 6’10 / 235 / Kansas / Junior ) – Perhaps slipping down my board a little more than others, Kansas getting knocked out of the tournament didn’t help Markieff’s stock. He’s a physical big man with the ability to step out and shoot, but he’s not on his brother’s (Marcus) level. Again, we’re talking about a Minnesota team and that has prospects at every position; what’s one more? * This Minnesota pick comes via MEM in connection with Al Jefferson trade *
21.) Portland – Nolan Smith ( PG / 6’3 / 189 / Duke / Senior ) – I’m assuming that Smith can develop into a one-guard at the next level and he could make the leap quite nicely with the Blazers. Smith is an experienced leader with a great jumpshot and a high basketball IQ. Smith isn’t necessarily the quickest guy or the best athlete on the floor, but he knows the game and he understands how to execute. As much as I hate the Duke Blue Devils (Go Terps!), I honestly believe that Nolan Smith will be respectable player in the league.
22.) Denver – Trey Thompkins ( PF / 6’10 / 245 / Georgia / Junior ) – The Wizards may very well take a look at Thompkins but I think the Nuggets will eventually see him falling into their lap with this pick. My main concern with Thompkins is that he is not a superb athlete, and that may shy away some teams who don’t like to always keep it in the halfcourt. However, Thompkins has great skills that usually prevail against the opposition that relies more so on their own athleticism. With a very long body, Thompkins is money on the glass but his ability to block shots isn’t quite where you’d like it. Depending on which way the Nuggets look to go with their team tempo, this pick could certainly change.
23.) Houston – Kyle Singler ( SF / 6’9 / 237 / Duke / Senior ) – He may not be the quickest guy on the court, nor is he the most explosive, but Singler can ball. Teams will really like Singler’s experience and the coaching he received in college, not to mention his semi-automatic jumpshot and high basketball IQ. I think Singler could have a field day camping outside of the paint and knocking down jumpers. * This Houston pick comes via ORL/PHO in Jason Richardson trade *
24.) Oklahoma City – Justin Harper ( PF / 6’10 / 225 / Richmond / Senior ) – I don’t want to sound like I’m over-hyping the local kid, but OKC could come up with a steal at this pick. Harper has great length and he’s a versatile player, possessing the ability to drop shots inside and outside. His defense isn’t anything to write home about, but it could improve in time and a good squad such as the Thunder would help. For a team that doesn’t have many areas of need, the Thunder could get value with this pick.
25.) Boston – Chandler Parsons ( SF / 6’8 / 217 / Florida / Senior ) – The reigning SEC Player of the Year has shown consistent improvement over his four years at Florida. Projected as a small forward at the next level, Parsons reminds me a lot of Houston’s Chase Budinger but with a little less bounce. Describing Parsons as an all-around player sounds cliché and easy, but it’s accurate. He has good range on his shot, he has the ability to make great passes, he has shown drastic improvement in his rebounding and he’ll put a little more focus on his post game in the NBA.
26.) Dallas – Kenneth Faried ( PF / 6’8 / 223 / Morehead State / Senior ) – Tyson Chandler is a free agent next season and the Mavs could use some help in the rebounding frontcourt. Faried played in a weaker conference and his offensive game isn’t going to ‘wow’ anyone, but his heart and hustle make him a late first-round pick. I see Faried as a high-energy bench player who will be around in the NBA for a long time. Not to mention, Faried is a great character addition.
27.) New Jersey – JaJuan Johnson ( PF / 6’10 / 221 / Purdue / Senior ) – Some will argue, but I believe Johnson would be a great fit in New Jersey. He is considered a tweener at the forward positions, but I feel like his length and athleticism could really cause some fits when he’s placed at the four-spot. Johnson isn’t going to muscle anyone or shutdown the opposition on defense, but he will register blocks, he’ll run the floor, and he’d receive a lot of alley-oops from Deron Williams. Also, Johnson is very mature and he has great work ethic – a definite plus for a rebuilding franchise. * This New Jersey pick comes via LAL in the Joe Smith trade *
28.) Chicago – Josh Selby ( SG / 6’1 / 180 / Kansas / Freshman ) – Obviously, the Chicago Bulls are in great shape and are completely committed in building around point guard Derrick Rose. One position that the team does lack is an athletic two-guard to accompany Rose. Currently they’re operating with an aging Keith Bogans (defensive-minded) and Ronnie Brewer (also defensive-minded). Although Luol Deng and Kyle Korver can play at the two from time to time, taking a risk on a combo-guard like Selby could really pay-off in Chicago. Selby is a great talent but should probably spend at least another year in school. He’s a natural scorer, very explosive and he can create plays. * This Chicago pick comes via MIA in connection with the Chris Bosh trade *
29.) San Antonio – Jon Leuer ( PF / 6’10 / 225 / Wisconsin / Senior ) – It appears to me that Leuer would flourish with an already established team that is set with solid coaching and current NBA stars. Enter the Spurs franchise. Leuer is a nice prospect at the four-spot and he has great range on his jumpshot. My main concern with Leuer is his strength when going up against power forwards at the next level. However, stepping in with a team like San Antonio or Boston would speed up the learning process and strength building.
30.) Chicago – Nikola Vucevic ( PF / 6’10 / 240 / USC / Junior ) – With the ability to take risks, the Bulls could land a high-energy guy like Vucevic that is really impressing scouts in his workouts. Appearing to be a grinder of sorts at the next level, Vucevic could give the Bulls another mid-range scoring option with length.