We have T-minus 24 days until the 2011 NBA Draft, and we have a Code Kahn. I repeat, Code Kahn. Over Memorial Day Weekend, word spread from the fingers of ESPN scribe Chris Broussard that the Minnesota Timberwolves, chiefed by David Kahn The Great, were involved in a potential trade that would give the Cleveland Cavaliers the No. 2 pick with the Minnesota Timberwolves moving down to No. 4 and No. 8, which the Detroit Pistons would hand over to get rid of Rip Hamilton.
Detroit quickly disowned its participation, apparently killing the rumor. But all is not for naught: the rumor gave us our first Kahn Alert of the draft season. It's like when the first paragraph of a newleaks out, only completely voyeuristic in nature. The summer blockbuster is coming, folks. Grab the Cheez Whiz and Alka Seltzer.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Cleveland has done nothing to imply the No. 1 pick will be anyone other than Irving, the next entrant in the Hall of Young Point Guards. (Animatronic Brandon Jennings is kinda creepy.) Chad Ford has even already gotten his annual "Is [Definite No. 1 Pick] Actually The Definite No. 1 Pick?" column out of the way to minor fanfare. Spoiler alert: Irving is a lock at No. 1.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
The *best* thing about the Wolves winning No. 2? We don't have to wait long for the draft to slip into pure dadaism. In recent years the Wolves have picked No. 5 and No. 4. The wait was unbearable. Forget the salad, forget the entree, forget dinner: skip directly to the post-meal hookah session, led by the Grand Poobah Mr. Kahn. I hope he trades No. 2 for all of the picks, so we can have four straight hours of increasingly unhinged decisions. It doesn't count unless it ends in a nuclear winter.
3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
We've had Enes Kanter here since the lottery, on account of Utah's strict best player available policy. But Knight could very well convince teams he's the third-best prospect in the draft by the time late June comes around. Kanter also has a long climb to go given his lack of competitive action of late and knee concerns.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey/Kentucky
Kanter should be the first true big man off the board, though, unless someone falls deeply in love with Bismack Biyombo. (Unless. Like we all aren't head over heels for Bismack already.)
Here's one of the big questions facing draft prognosticators in the run-up to June: now that Bryan Colangelo has a shiny new contract extension, will he spit in the face of Toronto's fans by picking another mystery European with upside and a resumé of question marks? Or will he spit on his own legacy and go with a domestic "veteran" like Walker? My current guess is No. 2; never say I don't give people the benefit of the doubt.
6. Washington Wizards: Jan Vesely, SF, Czech Republic
Oh my god, Steve Buckhantz is going to have a field day with the sly "Czech" puns. And if he refuses to, at least he can keep Vesely from suffering the indignation of the Maloofs' sly "Czech Into Cash" ad tie-in.
7. Sacramento Kings: Bismack Biyombo, C, Congo
You'll notice I've presented a near worst-case scenario for my beloved Kings: no point guards, no Kanter, no "Czech Please" jokes from Jerry Reynolds. But I also already admitted my <3<3<3 for Bismack, so color me skewed and fire away in the comments. Note that Geoff Petrie has gone safe in the past two drafts and can afford a risk at this point.
8. Detroit Pistons: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Remember: this could be Kahn. Valanciunas is actually a strong pick for Detroit or Minnesota; some reporters are fond of noting that Minnesota has the strongest European scout crew in the NBA, led by Tony Ronzone. A great Euro scout crew led by David Kahn? That's like using a good gin as lighter fluid. How long before Ronzone has an existential crisis?
Charlotte has the No. 9, No. 19 and No. 39 picks. Kahn appreciates this "all 9s" strategy, and is intrigued.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
We interrupt this "LOL Bucks, Burks, it's like that game show Chain Reaction starring a mean-for-no-reason Russian-looking Vanna White!" to suggest a decent legit power forward for Andrew Bogut to play off of. Thompson would totally be drawing LaMarcus Aldridge comparisons right now if anyone remembered that Aldridge played college ball. (One-and-done, building legends since Two Thousand Never.)
The Morris twins have so confused fans that blog commenters are now referring to the Marcus brothers, Morris and Markieff.
12. Utah Jazz: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
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13. Phoenix Suns: Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania
Motiejunas has a rap as a finesse big man, and I keep dropping him in the mock further than he'll go because I lived through three seasons of Spencer Hawes. Solution: all 30 teams need to live through three seasons of Spencer Hawes.
Our Wizards blog is openly talking about Singleton at No. 6, proving we have become civilized enough as a society to look for elite defense in our wing prospect, not just our Thabeets and Biyombos.
Maybe the Pacers can draft a coach at No. 15.
Andre Iguodala will be 54 years old, and we'll still be wondering if this is the summer the Sixers trade him and start anew.
Mike D'Antoni and Donnie Walsh have proven they can't resist a scorer.
18. Washington Wizards: Klay Thompson, F/G, Washington State
Thompson has pulled the ol' 180 on a weed violation -- he's responded to questions so openly and maturely that it's almost turned into a positive. The NBA: where explaining an arrest effectively boosts your draft stock.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Faried is definitely going to test the maxim that rebounders can work at any size in today's NBA: he's well shorter than even Kevin Love. If he can still suck in rebounds like a Dyson, questions about undersized boarders should cease. (Spoiler alert: they won't.)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
I would give anything for the Wolves to retain Kurt Rambis for next season, but fire him at Christmas and force Kahn to take over. You think he's a laugh riot in the owners' suite? Get him in the huddle.
Vucevic boosted his stock at the combine and might do some more in workout season; the big men corps is certainly odd this year, with mystery talent throughout the first round. But half the battle is convincing teams he actually played in the Pac-10, not the Adriatic League. He's off to a good start by building his name.
The Nuggets could lose Kenyon Martin and Nene this summer. Is everyone prepared for a Birdman-Mozgov starting frontcourt? I didn't think so.
23. Houston Rockets: Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee
We had Harris to the Rockets at No. 14 last week; the 6-60 range is really like throwing darts at a C-5 from inside an antique shop.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
The Tulsa 66ers are going to be totally awesome in 2011-12.
25. Boston Celtics: Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College
The Masshole Singularity.
26. Dallas Mavericks: Davis Bertans, F, Latvia
When your DraftExpress best-case/worst-case comparisons are Mike Dunleavy and Steve Novak, you are definitely a person who plays basketball.
Best Purdue big man since Kyle Orton.
Let's face it: C.J. Watson is the weak link on Chicago. The Bulls would totally have won the title if not for him.
The choice of Morris immediately spurs rumors that San Antonio is unloading Tony Parker.
30. Chicago Bulls: Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
I take back what I said about Watson -- it's all Keith Bogans' fault.