The best part about the assortment of serious NBA Mock Drafts are the comparisons analysts drop on prospects' heads. In some cases austere, in others heartening. But let's face it: the outlets we depend on for NBA Draft news and tips can't exactly tell the world they think Enes Kanter is the next Greg Oden, can they? There's a certain amount of house inflation, the same as hopeful teams who need to aim for the stars provide when they stretch for questionable prospects.
Consider this mock draft our attempt to put together a definitive list of comparisons for the 2011 set of prospects. And by "definitive list of comparisons", I mean that this is definitely a list of comparisons. Let's mock.
Kyrie has drawn Deron Williams comparisons. If that's the case, let's keep him away from all headbands. Until he proves he can shoot dependably, let's err on the side of Raymond Felton and hope for the best. (Felton's not bad! He got traded for Carmelo Anthony! Sort of.)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
DraftExpress (DX), bless them, have Williams' best case comparison as "Michael Beasley with perfect intangibles." So, basically "not Michael Beasley." I prefer to use the Danny Granger comparison, which means in about four years everyone will fall in love with Williams and in seven everyone will fall back out of love.
3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
The Chauncey Billups comp is now popular for Knight, which is funny, because I think Billups' comps were early Ron Harper. Let's just find the oldest-seeming active player we can and make that Knight's comparison to save him the confusion ... Jason Kidd? No, that won't do. Let's go with Jason Terry.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey
I feel a little Al Jefferson coming on ...
5. Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Rule: foreign players must be compared with other foreign players. So no "Tyson Chandler" comparison is going to fly here!
6. Washington Wizards: Bismack Biyombo, PF, Democratic Republic of the Congo
If I said even-less-polished Josh Smith, would you think me a liar or a hater? (DX says "6'9 version of Dwight Howard." NBADraft.net goes with Larry Sanders, who 90 percent of NBA fans couldn't tell you anything about.) The ESPN crew on draft day will just cut the crap and refer to Biyombo as "New Serge Ibaka."
I once got yelled at on Twitter for daring to compare Kemba to Jonny Flynn, so let's tread lightly here. DX's poles are Ty Lawson and Aaron Brooks. Let's split the difference and peg him at Terrell Brandon.
The Gerald Wallace comparison is too easy for a reason.
DX goes with Brandon Roy as a best case and Marquis Daniels as a worst case. Let's err on the side of 'Quis and go with John Salmons.
I think he can be better Markieff Morris.
11. Golden State Warriors: Jan Vesely, SF, Czech Republic
Law of Foreign Comparisons dictates an "Omri Casspi with trace amount of Andrei Kirilenko" comparison here.
12. Utah Jazz: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
A rich man's Michael Jordan mixed with Gandhi and James Bond.
Think of a younger Mychal Thompson.
14. Houston Rockets: Markieff Morris, F, Kansas
A poor man's Marcus Morris.
15. Indiana Pacers: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
At this point, if I compare a prospect to Taj Gibson, is that a nice thing to say? I mean, he dunked on Dwyane Wade! No one dunks on Dwyane Wade. "Taj Gibson 2.0" should be a compliment.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania
Reggie Evans. Which is great, because Evans is one of the best rebounders of our time. But would Mike D'Antoni play Reggie Evans? Didn't think so.
18. Washington Wizards: Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
Quentin Richardson. (I love DX's inspired "worst case": bigger Reggie Williams.)
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State
Luol Deng on a cloudy day.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Davis Bertans, SF, Latvia
Rule of Foreign Comparisons: Rick Fox! (He's Canadian, right?)
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Rule of Foreign Comparisons: Johan Petro with long braids. (We are nothing if not aesthetes.)
22. Denver Nuggets: Jeremy Tyler, PF/C, Deep Inside Your Own Heart
Brandan Wright with a touch of Patrick O'Bryant.
23. Houston Rockets: Josh Selby, G, Kansas
Darren Collison with Nick Young's conscience. (Which is to say no conscience.)
Austin Daye. (Can you tell I'm getting a bit more pessimistic? Let's be honest: this is the bottom of the first round in a down draft.)
Let's be sunny for a change: Ben Gordon.
Paul Davis. (Yep, back to my dystopic vision.)
29. San Antonio Spurs: Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College
A bigger Aaron Brooks.
30. Chicago Bulls: Nolan Smith, PG, Duke
Chris Duhon minus the cranberry and vodka.