Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Your Sports First & BlvdAve Mock Draft: Top 10

Hello again everyone, and it's good to be back to the Ave'. Had to let things simmer down after that crazy NBA season, but right when you think it's all over, the NBA Draft comes and the excitement about next season comes right back. This year's NBA Draft, quite like the NFL, will be marred in controversy in the wake of the recent NBA CBA talks, which could ultimately lock the very players being drafted out of their teams respective training and practice facilities.

But with all the politicin' aside, we take a look at this year's top 10 Draft prospects and where they might land:

BlvdAve & Your Sports First NBA Draft Top 10

1. Cleveland Cavaliers -- SF/PF Derrick Williams, Arizona
  The consensus No. 1 point guard in the nation is Kyrie Irving, but the Cleveland Cavaleirs are in no position to draft the kid. After owner Dan Gilbert's behind closed-door-style rant, and the terrible season that followed, the Cav's can't afford to draft pure unproven upside? They need immediate, reliable production that can stay healthy, both of which Williams showed in his two seasons at Arizona. Derrick has a good face-up game that can pull forwards away from the basket and a wide enough body to bully small forwards in the post game. I think Cleveland fans are giddy at getting behind another strong scoring threat, and Williams just might be the guy.

Note to Cleveland. Derrick Williams will not be LeBron James. Ever.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- PG Kyrie Irving, DUKE

 T'Wolves owner David Kahn seems hell bent on drafting 100 points guards before he gets fired, and he may be pretty close to his goal, on both. Even with Ricky Rubio joining next season, there is concern about his inability to be productive in a less than NBA competitive Spanish League. So why not up the ante a little bit? 

It is to be noted that Irving skipped the combine, although he did get measured, at 10 percent body fat. This would ultimately suggest that either Kyrie couldn't work out because he has not fully recovered from his injury, or he feels that he has nothing else to prove beyond his dominant 11-game run at Duke. However, non of this will scare away David Kahn, who never met a point guard he didn't want to draft. 

3. Utah Jazz -- PG Jimmer Fridette, BYU

Speculation among the top analysts is that Utah is waiting to take Jimmer at the No. 12 spot. But I'm going to keep it 100 with my avenue. Jimmer Fridette has Utah written all over him, being a BYU alum, and practicing Mormon, the Jazz couldn't have a better ambassador for the state and the organization in the wake of losing pillar and pioneer Jerry Sloan and fan favorite and next best thing to John Stockton point guard Deron Williams.

Add the fact that Jimmer lead the country in scoring and you have yourself a fall-in-the-hands No. 3 pick to rebuild a franchise in desperate need of it. 

4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- PG Kemba Walker, UConn
As mentioned before, the Cavs need to put some exciting talent on the floor. And owner Dan Gilbert needs make sure his foot stays aptly away from his mouth. So it looks like Cleveland is doing everything within their power to make sure that he is true to his word and can put up a championship team before the LeBron James South Beach Miami Heat. 

And by drafting Kemba Walker the Cav's are doing just that, there is no other players in this draft more exciting than Kemba. Much is made about his lack of height, but he stood a legit 6-1 in pre-draft measurements. Players like Raymond Felton, Chris Paul, and Allen Iverson are comparable in height, while Walker actually stands taller than players like Aaron Brooks, Jameer Nelson, and Ty Lawson. It wouldn't be unprecedented to see Walker succeed as a point guard in the NBA. He will play in a more structured offense in the NBA than that of the NCAA. He will play in a more collective system than that of the isolation he was used to running at UConn as well. Look for Kemba to be the franchise player the Cav's are looking for. 

Also look for Cleveland to maybe pick Kemba up at No. 1

5. Toronto Raptors -- SF/PF Jan Vesely, Partizan Belgrade (Czech Republic)

Vesely more than likely spend most of his time facing the basket in the NBA, since despite his 6'11'' frame he is not a very strong post up player. His ability to shoot over small forwards and outrun power forwards plus an above average shooting range will make him a tough match-up problem. Much like that of a former Raptor named Chris Bosh. Jan is also a willing defender which is something that the Raptors can use, and also a player that can contribute to the young team immediately. Despite the need at center, the Raptors can't afford to draft any current front court talent and wait out their lengthy development time. 

6. Washington Wizards -- PG Brandon Knight, Kentucky

Knight ultimately loses the point guard battle in this year's draft by default. And despite Utah Jazz owners love affair with the play Knight all last season, the temptation to take Fridette early and the undeniable ability of Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight kind of falls right into the hands of the Washington Wizards. Looking to move on from the Gilbert Arenas era with John Wall and developing talent, Brandon Knight will fit right in to the team and should be able to produce early and often in their one-on-one style system. With any type of structure, the combo of Wall and Knight should be one the most dynamic in the league. But without, it could look more like Golden State Warriors with guards Monta' Ellis and Stephen Curry. 

7. Sacramento Kings -- SF Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State

Leonard's off-season workout has been dedicated toward making him a more explosive wing player, something that the Kings could use. Lacking the efficiency at the wing positions, the Kings were forced to have to rely on Tyreke Evans creating through iso and Demarcus Cousins and Spencer Hawes cleaning up the garbage. The Maloof's were looking to land a bigger name such as Jimmer or Kemba, but with those players leaving in the earlier picks, this is still a fair consolation for a team looking to find a way to let Evans drive and DeMarcus Cousins operate down low.

8. Detroit Pistons -- C Enes Canter, Kentucky

 The best player last year from the Piston's roster appears to be their top pick Greg Monroe, who played well in the post for the team. The Pistons will be looking to get another low post option to complement the play of Monroe. Kanter offers the best inside scoring ability of the three. Defensively, and in rebounding, his effort appears to range from indifferent to uninterested. Maybe after one year of getting hammered in practice by veteran bruiser Ben Wallace should either increase that effort greatly or pound him into Jell-O.

9. Charlotte Bobcats -- SF Marcus Morris, Kansas

Morris will by no means make up for the absence of recently departed Gerald Wallace, but he could potentially step into the starting lineup day one. He has a good enough shooting range to keep defenders honest and away from sagging on Stephen Jackson. He probably won't turn out to be an All-Star caliber player, but right about now owner Micheal Jordan is just looking for players less likely to bust. I'm sure Jordan is tired of hearing about Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison.

10. Milwaukee Bucks -- PF Tristan Thompson, Texas

 The Bucks are looking to build on their defensive performance from last season, and with strict coach Scott Skiles at the helm, Thompson appears to be NBA-ready on defense, but his raw offensive game and iffy rebounding ability could paint him as a situational stopper.

Also look for the Bucks to take peeks at Washington State SG Clay Thompson and Florida State SG Chris Singleton

So tune in on June 23rd @ 7PM ET on ESPN, and ESPN3 for the first two rounds of the 2011 NBA Draft to see where tomorrow's stars are picked.

For more "As I See It" go to chicagonow.com/asiseeit

Also follow me on Twitter @CSF_Inc

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