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David Aldridge

Mock draft: In act of lunacy, first attempt at first round


Posted May 18 2011 9:58AM

I mock out of protest.

The folks at NBA.com asked me to put a mock draft together after Tuesday night's Lottery. I hate mock drafts. There are people who spend months doing these things, and they always get 80 percent of the selections wrong -- not because they don't know enough, but because they may know too much. People tell you things, and you tend to believe them, even though a) they may well be lying, and b) they have no idea what the other 29 teams are thinking, because those other 29 teams are lying to them just like they're lying to you. So the whole notion of predicting accurately five weeks before the actual Draft is, to me, lunacy.

Keep in mind that these picks do not correlate with the rankings on my Big Board. Those rankings reflect the opinions of scouts and other personnel types about which players are the best at that given spot going into the Draft, not the order in which they'll be taken. Team needs always shake up the board; the Magic don't need a center, so they're unlikely to take one, even if a highly-rated one is still available. This mock reflects team needs, existing personnel, the style of the head coach, etc.

But you all seem to like these things, so here I go. If I get your team's pick wrong, remember what was written above. If I nail your team's pick, I will lord it over you and eat for free in your town for years to come!

1 Cleveland Cavaliers | Kyrie Irving | PG | Duke

Rebuilding starts in earnest with the quicksilver point guard.


2 Minnesota Timberwolves | Derrick Williams | SF-PF | Arizona

Team president David Kahn can't take another chance on a maybe, a Euro or someone else's castoffs. Williams is the closest thing to a sure thing.


3 Utah Jazz | Jonas Valanciunas | C | Lietuvos Rytas

Too much talent and potential to pass up; the Jazz have to replace the fading Mehmet Okur and give Derrick Favors a partner in crime up front.


4 Cleveland Cavaliers | Enes Kanter | C | Turkey

The line to move up to get Kanter or Jan Vesely starts here. But Cavs may not be able to pass up on a big who can come in and play right away.


5 Toronto Raptors | Jan Vesely | F-C | Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)

Big man plays with passion and would allow Raptors to move Andrea Bargnani out to the perimeter more or less permanently.


6 Washington Wizards | Markieff Morris | PF | Kansas

Wizards need a young three, but going for Texas' Jordan Hamilton here seems a little high. Better to go for a solid 4/5 here in Morris, who should be a good defender and rebounder in the pros.


7 Sacramento Kings | Brandon Knight | G | Kentucky

Kings have been looking for a legit point guard since Mike Bibby left town, and can move Tyreke Evans to shooting guard by taking Knight.


8 Detroit Pistons | Kawhi Leonard | F | San Diego State

Pistons desperately need to get Rip Hamilton gone, but the rugged Leonard is Joe Dumars' kind of player -- a hard-nosed three that can replace Tayshaun Prince.


9 Charlotte Bobcats | Tristan Thompson | F | Texas

Has a lot of improving to do, but Thompson plays hard, which is right in Paul Silas' wheelhouse.


10 Milwaukee Bucks | Alec Burks | G | Colorado

Bucks could stand to get bigger, but they struggled mightily to score last season, and Burks, the top two-guard prospect, can flat fill it up.


11 Golden State Warriors | Donatas Motiejunas | F | Benetton Treviso (Italy)

Has to convince people he loves the game, but his skills are undeniable, and the Warriors have plenty of guards and wings.


12 Utah Jazz | Klay Thompson | G | Washington State

Having gotten their big earlier, the Jazz can add the nation's ninth-leading scorer (22.9 per game) to their rotation.


13 Phoenix Suns | Jordan Hamilton | SF | Texas

Suns happily would take the top three prospect to replace the departing Vince Carter and the ineffective Josh Childress.


14 Houston Rockets | Marcus Morris | PF | Kansas

Yes, the Rockets need to replace Yao Ming. But Morris' versatility at both forward spots and potential to become a major scorer makes more sense.


15 Indiana Pacers | Nolan Smith | G | Duke

Pacers solve their backup guard problems -- Smith played the point for much of this season with Irving out most of the year with turf toe -- and take a high-character guy from a winning program to boot.


16 Philadelphia 76ers | Bismack Biyombo | F-C | Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)

Sixers aren't completely sold on any of their backup bigs, and the intriguing Biyombo -- who was the talk of the Nike Hoop Summit a few weeks ago -- already knows how to throw his weight around.


17 New York Knicks | Travis Leslie | G | Georgia

In 1985, the Knicks took a flier (get it?) on a big leaper at shooting guard who had a good run in NYC -- Gerald Wilkins. With Landry Fields' struggles in the playoffs, New York may pass on the easy pick, Kemba Walker, for the uber-athletic Leslie, who has the biggest potential upside of any two in the Draft.


18 Washington Wizards | Davis Bertans | F | KK Union Olimpija

Wiz may use this pick as bait to try and move into the top five, but if they stay, the Latvian Bertans is the kind of perimeter threat with which Washington would like to surround John Wall.


19 Charlotte Bobcats | Chris Singleton | F | Florida State

Retooling Bobcats can prepare for ultimately replacing Stephen Jackson by taking the hard-nosed defensive whiz from the ACC.


20 Minnesota Timberwolves | Tyler Honeycutt | F | UCLA

The league's worst defensive team takes the Pac-10's leading shotblocker and a potential perimeter stopper, like Corey Brewer was supposed to be. I'll be shocked if the Wolves still have this pick to use on Draft night, though.


21 Portland Trail Blazers | Kemba Walker | G | Connecticut

Well, Dick Vitale has to wail about someone slipping. Walker is certainly not the 21st-best player in the Draft, but he's a 6-foot-1 scoring guard, and those aren't in great demand in the pros. He can learn how to play the point in the 503 behind one of the best, Andre Miller.


22 Denver Nuggets | Trey Thompkins | F | Georgia

If Nuggets don't re-sign Kenyon Martin, they go for the first team all-SEC selection. But Denver has a full roster already and has to spend its money re-signing players like rising restricted free agent forward Wilson Chandler. A prime candidate to dump this pick to a team without a first-rounder (Miami, Lakers, New Orleans, Memphis, Clippers).


23 Houston Rockets | Jeremy Tyler | C | Tokyo Apache (Japan)

It's easy to see Tyler being very impressive in workouts over the next month, and being intriguing enough for Daryl Morey to pull the trigger.


24 Oklahoma City Thunder | Nikola Mirotic | F | Real Madrid (Spain)

Thunder can afford to be patient, and take a chance with the talented Mirotic, who will remain overseas for at least the next two seasons.


25 Boston Celtics | Nikola Vucevic | C | USC

Celtics have to get a young big man to help replace the aging O'Neals, and Vucevic has a skill set that would be appreciated in Beantown.


26 Dallas Mavericks | Malcolm Lee | G | UCLA

Mavs need to start developing young guards to replace their aging starters (Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson) and as insurance in case Rod Beaubois can't stay healthy.


27 New Jersey Nets | Tobias Harris | F | Tennessee

Nets aren't exactly thrilled with their current crop of threes, and Harris has the length and skill to become a starter quickly.


28 Chicago Bulls | Brad Wanamaker | G | Pittsburgh

Bulls like what Keith Bogans gives them as a starter at the two, but Wanamaker fits the Thibodeau mold -- a tough, defensive-minded guard. However, it won't surprise if Chicago moves one or both of these late (guaranteed money) firsts to a team looking to move up.


29 San Antonio Spurs | Josh Harrelson | C | Kentucky

Read in the San Antonio Express News that Pop wasn't thrilled with DeJuan Blair's consistency this season. Nothing gets someone's attention like a first-round pick that plays your position.


30 Chicago Bulls | Jimmer Fredette | G | BYU

Again, the Bulls may well be picking here for someone else. But Chicago could do worse than pick the ridiculously prolific Fredette, a highly skilled guard who can put the ball in the basket when Derrick Rose needs a blow.


Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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