2011 Draft Preview: CENTERS
The Cavaliers have four selections in June 23rd's NBA Draft and could very well use one of them on this year's crop of big men.
Bismack Biyombo – 6-9, 243 – Born: August 28, 1992 (Lubumbashi, Congo) – Raw in terms of experience; physical attributes, toughness, intangibles; 6-9 ¾ but with a 7-7 wingspan; intimidating defender; chiseled 243-pound frame; plays with incredible emotion; competes every possession; limited skills offensively; works hard to get position in the paint; poor passer; turnover-prone due to lack of experience; no jumper; weak hands; not great footwork, offensively; great weakside shot-blocker; can guard center or power forward; aggressiveness, toughness and timing; speaks five languages, including English well; a vocal leader, atypical of African prospects; may be older than advertised; registered the first triple-double in the history of the Hoop Summit; considered high risk; hasn’t faced a top-level big man.
Enes Kanter – 6-11, 259 – Born: May 20, 1992 (Istanbul, Turkey) – Must prove Nike Hoop Summit wasn't a fluke; 34 points and 13 rebounds in a game of foreigners vs. high school stars; 6-11 with 7-1 ½ wingspan; sturdy 260-pound frame, big for a 19-year-old; speaks English well; combines brute strength with skill; plays with high motor and likes contact; high basketball IQ; scorers mentality; has polished post game but can also drain the mid-range jumper; coachable kid; strong work ethic; center size combined with power forward skills; history of knee problems; savvy beyond his years; not great athleticism; knows how to create space for himself; takes what the defense gives him; reliable pick-and-pop threat; great intangibles; mature, quiet; uses smarts and size to offset lack of athleticism defensively; fantastic hands; despite lack of competition stateside, competed against older players in Europe; patient; will initiate contact.
Donatas Motiejunas – 7-0, 224 – Born: September 20, 1990 (Kaunas, Lithuania) – Surprisingly didn’t enter the 2010 Draft; lefty; very high ceiling; can extend the floor like a 4, but doesn’t shy away from contact around the rim; strong legs and quick feet; runs the floor well; can play with his back to the basket or hit shots from the perimeter; good vision and passing ability; good enough ball-handler; concerns that he’s not an overly intense or passionate player; has array of shots – turnaround fadeaway, jump hook, etc.; added bulk to his frame this summer and should be able to add more; sometimes loses focus and intensity in practice; not great length, 6-11 wingspan; one of the best scoring big men in Europe; gets to the free throw line frequently; made strides in his perimeter game; not an instinctive rebounder.
Lucas Nogueira – 7-0, 225 – Born: July 26, 1992 (Sao Goncalo RJ, Brazil) – Excelled at the U-18 FIBA Americas tournament in San Antonio, where he led the tournament in rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage; true 7-footer with 7-6 wingspan; needs to add considerable bulk and muscle – weighs only 225 pounds; can easily get backed down in the paint; great mobility; nickname is “Bebe”; limited scorer and virtually no post game; could be an excellent defender considering his size and range; can have major impact as a shot-blocker; tends to “float” on the floor and lose focus; a project that’ll need time and work; played against low-level competition in Spain; runs the floor extremely well; excellent dunker off the break; gets his hands on everything; some concern about his attitude.
Jonas Valanciunas – 6-11, 240 – Born: May 6, 1992 (Utena, Lithuania) – Has battled Kanter many times; minute basis in points (21.8), rebounds (13.6), blocks (1.8), field goal percentage (74.4%), free throw percentage (87.5%), and fouls (9.1). That's quite an accomplishment for a skinny 18-year-old; 7-6 wingspan with huge hands; boundless energy; intensely competitive; runs the floor well, is quick off his feet; might not be done growing and should exceed 7-0; excellent shooting touch and overall mechanics; can hit the face-up jumper; good basketball IQ; good vision and court sense, will find open teammate if doubled; foul-prone; not a great ball-handler; very thin frame, but still has time to fill out; not a polished or diverse post game; very good free throw shooter.
Here's a group of five of this Draft's top centers who might be available when David Stern takes the podium to announce the Cavaliers' pick(s) ....