It's NBA Draft week! All NBA Mock Drafts have officially reached Panic Mode, because truth be told, no one has any clue how this is going to shake out. I'm starting to think someone might pick Harrison Barnes or Perry Jones out of spite and/or confusion. Here's our latest attempts to sort through the muck and the mire.
And be sure to check out the SB Nation Network's collaborate 2011 NBA Mock Draft.
The Cavs are actually working out Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight on Monday, leading some to consider that that is the alternate plan to taking Kyrie + best big or wing available. This is an especially bonkers draft, and nothing is off the table, not even refusing the consensus No. 1 for a clever play with the top-four. But ... isn't anyone interested enough in Irving to jump up? Or is Cleveland betting that everyone would rather trade with David Kahn than the Cavs? (Cleveland would be right.)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
3. Utah Jazz: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey
There are three questions every big man prospect must answer before you choose him high up in an NBA draft: is he a stiff? Is he a bum? Is he a walking ambulance ride? The answer seems to be "no" on all three for Kanter. So pick him!
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Valanciunas would seem to meet the requirements, as well, though the stiff question is less settled than you'd think. Jonas is said to have good athleticism, but plenty of decent defender big men end up as stiffs. Stiffdom, in this case, wouldn't be birthright (like it was with Todd Fuller or Todd MacCullough) but a product of poor development (like with Darko Milicic or Saer Sene).
5. Toronto Raptors: Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky
Most mocks have Knight to Utah; I'll grant him to Toronto. I'm still not convinced that he's a lottery pick in a normal year. Did I miss something in those buzzer beaters that foretold great NBA success? Is the fact that the NBA offers 82 opportunities for buzzer beaters that big a factor?
6. Washington Wizards: Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
Vesely worked out for teams on Sunday; let's hope he didn't Biyombo himself, because that will really mess up this draft board. (Like it's not already messed up.)
The Kings have been the focus of inordinate Kemba Walker/Jimmer Fredette talk all draft season, but the smart money is on a small forward, and Leonard is probably the best fit, even though his jumper isn't there. The Kings need defense on the wings, badly, and his rebounding will help.
8. Detroit Pistons: Tristan Thompson, F, Texas
The Pistons will see Bismack Biyombo on Monday; no word on whether Actual Ben Wallace will be there to shake his head in disapproval.
There is perhaps no better fit in the draft than Mc. Morris to Charlotte ... except Irving to Cleveland. And we know where that stands. This is that kind of draft.
A Burks and Brandon Jennings offense could be excellent, so long as Jennings doesn't try to get to the rim (where he shoots terribly) and Burks doesn't shoot outside of the paint. I imagine Scott Skiles setting up booby traps on the practice shot to emphasize this strategy.
11. Golden State Warriors: Bismack Biyombo, F/C, Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Warriors seem almost comically wedded to adding defense. No better way to do that than pick the kid who actually isn't allowed to touch the ball on offense under the UN charter.
12. Utah Jazz: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
With Biyombo off the board and Fredette and Walker still on it, Dick Vitale is going to go into conniptions. Save him, Utah!
13. Phoenix Suns: Kemba Walker, G, UConn
Yes, Kemba Walker, No. 13. Here's the issue with Kemba, and why I have him sliding so far: after Sacramento at No. 7, who's picking a point guard? Detroit could, given the Rodney Stuckey experiment's lack of success. But Milwaukee isn't, and the Warriors aren't touching any of the small guards. Utah worked out Kemba and Jimmer together, and all anyone talked about afterward was Fredette. So really, Walker's best bet (assuming he didn't leap Knight on Utah's board, making him an option at No. 3), is to watch Knight go before Toronto at No. 5, then become the Raptors' guard of the future. Otherwise, he could very well slip on down to here. Which would make Jay Bilas breathe fire and twist Fran Fraschilla into a knot.
14. Houston Rockets: Jordan Hamilton, F, Texas
There's no Jordan Hamilton in the green room on Thursday; he's a top bet to come out of the crowd with a dazzling suit and diamond stud. Everything about his game screams "Oh hi!"
I'm fully convinced the Pacers are prepared to deal Danny Granger, make Paul George the small forward of the future and, as an entity, be hurtled into outer space as a result. But whatevs, might as well pick up a player who can actually score in the process.
The other Morris is denied an opportunity to stay with his twin by being picked three spots before Charlotte's second choice. But it's by Markieff's hometown team, which kind of makes it OK, right?
There just isn't much tall defensive help in this draft, but if Nikola Vucevic is on the board (as he is here), you'll be able to tell a lot by whether the Knicks could with a shooter or a defender. I won't be fooled again.
18. Washington Wizards: Nikola Vucevic, F/C, USC
The Wizards will gladly take a nice warm body with this level of pick.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Chris Singleton, F, Florida State
Singleton could really be a star of this draft; only time constraints and the Kings' refusal to work him out has saved the world from my 2,000-word screed demanding Sacramento take him at No. 7.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Davis Bertans, F, Latvia
You're going to love Davis Bertans.
Watch No. 19 and No. 21 for some gamesmanship. Former Blazers GM Rich Cho is with Charlotte; if Portland likes a guy at No. 21 they think/know Cho will take at 19, they could find a way to move into Washington's No. 18 to get him. Hijinks!
Picking Harris will earn a nod from me from about No. 14 on. Good prospect.
23. Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas, F, Lithuania
Picking Motiejunas will earn a chuckle from me. At any point.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nikola Mirotic, F, Montenegro
No, the Thunder can't pick Mirotic! That will totally make Tibor Pleiss feel unloved! It's Rubio-Flynn all over again. But more phlegmy.
The Celtics have been adamant that they didn't promise Reggie Jackson, leading him to cancel workouts. Danny Ainge would never lie to us, would he?
If you haven't read Chad Ford's profile of Butler, do so now. It's excellent. Sandra Bullock has already been cast in the lead role.
Harper is one of the players the Nets are reportedly looking at here, but don't be surprised if New Jersey ignores the coming CBA changes and spends The Prokhorov's cash on some wild, Mark Cubanesque trade.
28. Chicago Bulls: Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College
I don't actually think the Bulls promised Jackson; Gar Forman is busy polishing his quarter of an Executive of the Year trophy. (He split the award with Pat Riley, then John Paxson demanded his half. Good thing Joakim Noah took metalworking at Boy Scout camp.)
It's the Spurs. You know this a guess.
30. Chicago Bulls: Kyle Singler, F, Duke