In the penultimate 2011 NBA Mock Draft here on SBNation.com -- there will be one more on Thursday -- panic has been traded for the cracking of the fragile vessel holding it all together. People always say the NBA draft is crazy, and they are correct in that assessment. But I don't think you're hearing them. The draft is crazy. Like, it drives you absolutely crazy.
There is so much smoke and so many swerves and so much whiplash and your heart bobs up and down and up and down and your eyes dart back and forth and back and forth. It will literally drive you crazy if you try to keep it held together. The laws of nature do not apply to the NBA draft, and in fact the NBA draft will regularly violate the laws of nature. If you try to rationalize the draft, you will end up in a padded room drinking a chamomile cocktail. It's a terrifying annual rite that stretches the rope ever thinner; the breaking point is almost visible.
But we love it all the same. Let's mock.
Surprise surprise! All that smoke about picking another dude at No. 1 was a ploy to boost the value of No. 4! I'm shocked!
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
The range of trade offers for the No. 2 pick is amazing. I mean, Steve Nash! But also Roy Hibbert and No. 15, or JaVale McGee and No. 6, or -- this is the best -- Marcin Gortat and No. 13. Seriously. This is like going to the dealership with $30,000 cash and being shown a Benz with 150,000 miles on it, some serviceable trucks and then a beater Ford Aerostar with a sliding door that doesn't work. (The sad thing: Gortat would be a huge upgrade at center for the Wolves. Steve Nash would be a huge upgrade at center, actually.)
3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky
I've long thought the Jazz would go with Enes Kanter, but I may underestimate how much everyone (the Jazz front office included) dislikes Devin Harris right now. Don't worry: Knight is a future Devin Harris. It will all work out. Hate will be preserved.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey
This is the one spot on the board where Jonas Valanciunas' NBA delay actually clarifies matters ... assuming that the Jazz don't take Kanter.
There's talk the Raptors are now interested in Bismack Biyombo after his workout in T-Dot on Tuesday. The Raptors are also mentioned in that Tony Parker rumor. No one seems to have any clue what the Spurs might be after if they do move up to No. 5 or No. 7.
6. Washington Wizards: Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
It seems as if the Wizards have Kanter on top of their realistic wish list, with Vesely and Kawhi Leonard below him. If so, I think the longer Vesely is the choice. Leonard is more polished (especially on defense), but it's hard to pick a 6'7 small forward when you can take one who is 6'11.
7. Sacramento Kings: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State
Pray God let the Parker trade happen, because if not, it does appear the Kings really like Jimmer Fredette, particularly the coaching staff. This isn't so much an owner-front office split, as has been reported. More a push to grab the guy who can provide as much as possible next season, not over the course of a rookie contract or career. This is a dumb way to make decisions. I am conscientiously objecting to the inevitable and putting Leonard here.
8. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo, F/C, Congo
It's good to know that Biyombo will be every bit the quote machine Dikembe Mutombo was.
Leonard shouldn't get past No. 9 if the Kings opt for Jimmer. Note that Chris Singleton -- a prospect similar but more polished than Leonard -- is working out again for the Bobcats on Wednesday. He could be the pick here whether Leonard is on the board or not.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Valanciunas' one-year delay doesn't work out better for any lottery team than it does for the Bucks, who need to assess whether Andrew Bogut's arm will ever get right, and what type of center Brandon Jennings needs. (Valanciunas actually isn't that different from Bogut, just far more raw.)
This pick looks to be between Thompson and Biyombo. Which is like saying your dinner choices are between a burger and fries and wallaby tongue.
12. Utah Jazz: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
They can't take Jimmer because they took Knight! I have sabotaged myself! Gah!
13. Phoenix Suns: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
Word is Houston could be trying to move up to No. 9 or No. 10 to grab Morris.
A really good match; Burks deserves to go higher, but Jimmer, you know?
There's been a run on Morris brothers!
This is why prospects like Darko don't play for American colleges: you kill the mystery, you kill your stock. If Vucevic had played for Partizan Belgrade instead of Southern Cal, he'd be top-10 easy.
18. Washington Wizards: Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania
All of the foreign players. If his shot doesn't translate, he could always skate for the Caps.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Jordan Hamilton, F, Texas
I have the 'Cats picking a forward at No. 9, but offense is a need, and around this range, if Hamilton's available, he's a nice get.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Davis Bertans, F, Latvia
Oh no! I don't think Bertans and Lazar Hayward can play together!
If the Blazers can stomach playing Faried and Marcus Camby together for just one game, they could be the first team to ever get all of the rebounds in a game. Seems worth a shot at history, you know?
Underrated storyline/fear heading into the offseason: the Nuggets might be forced to start Timofey Mozgov and Chris Andersen on opening night. Nene and Kenyon Martin are free agents, and Derrick Favors isn't walking through that door.
23. Houston Rockets: Marshon Brooks, G, Providence
I don't actually think Houston would take Brooks -- he's not a Moreyball player -- but this pick is in play, and Brooks shouldn't go lower than around here.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nikola Mirotic, F, Montenegro
They say Mirotic'd be a lottery pick if not for a buy-out situation ...
25. Boston Celtics: Jeremy Tyler, C, Planet Earth
Boston needs size, and if there is one thing that Jeremy Tyler is, it's tall.
Harris is too good a prospect to be falling this far, but it doesn't seem as if a whole lot of teams believe that.
Watch The Prokhorov make some extraordinary splash on draft day, just because.
The Spurs are makin' moves!
30. Chicago Bulls: Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College
Next five, in some order:
Charles Jenkins, G, Hofstra
Iman Shumpert, G, Georgia Tech
Tyler Honeycutt, F, UCLA
Travis Leslie, F, Georgia
Isaiah Thomas, G, Washington