Tbird 2011 official mock draft, my big board, and calling my shot on what I think our Pacers do
Written by thunderbird1245
Less than 24 hours before the curtain rises on the 2011 NBA draft, and still there is mass confusion and little certainty about what will happen around the league in general and for our Pacers. Everybody in the world it seems tries to post a mock draft about what will happen, which in reality is kind of a goofy exercise in futility…..after all, who can possibly predict what some of these mostly inept franchises might do on a draft night? Factor in wildly different opinions on individual players, executives with different agendas and job pressures, and a looming lockout in a few days, and you have a recipe for variety of odd moves that will likely have some fans scratching their heads. Trying to apply common sense to how some teams and executives might think without having all of the same information they have is extremely difficult and usually foolhardy.
But since everyone else is doing it, I am going to try it again this year after swearing to myself last year I’d never try this again.
And of course, within this mock draft I will expand on our own Pacers move, and give my reasoning for why I think this is how it all shakes out.
First of all, let me present my own personal big board.
Players I have no film of, and have not studied at all:* Enes Kanter, Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo, Jonas Valanciunas, Donatas Motiejunas, Jeremy Tyler, Davis Bertans, Nikola Mirotec.
That is 8 possible players who are at least very possible to go in the first round, some very high in the lottery even, that I haven’t seen play either live or on film. All I know about them, just like you and most of these draft experts, is just what I have heard from other people or read online. So any opinion on these guys we all need to take with a grain of salt until we actually see them ourselves. If we somehow end up with one of them, we neither can really celebrate or criticize with any real basis of knowledge, to pretend otherwise would be silly. Therefore, I will keep them in a separate category on my own big board. Strictly going from what I have read about them and based on what I think our exact team needs are, I’d put these 8 in this order:
1. Enes Kanter….I’d be very worried if I were a team taking him based on just how long it has been since he actually played and competed, but for what we need he would be my first pick ONLY among this group.
2. Jan Vesely
3. Jonas Valanciunas
Undraftable by us: Bismack Biyombo, Donatas Motiejunas, Jeremy Tyler, Davis Bertans, Nikola Mirotic
I know listing those 5 guys as “undraftable” by us and off my big board is somewhat controversial, but for varying reasons with each one of those guys, that is how I feel. Biyombo is way too much of a project, Motiejunas isn’t my kind of player, Tyler’s background and basketball IQ concerns me, and contract issues are too deep for me to think we should risk selecting Bertans or Mirotec at any point in the first round.
The other 3 remain on my board, but in a separate category since I’ve never seen them play before myself, therefore anything I’d really say about them is a guess.
Ok, so my “big board” among the rest of the players eligible to be drafted is the following:
1. Kyrie Irving
2. Derrick Williams
3. Kawhi Leonard
4. Brandon Knight
5. Alec Burks*
6. Chris Singleton*
7. Darius Morris
8. Jimmer Fredette*
9. Nikola Vucevic*
10. Klay Thompson*
11. Tristan Thompson*
12. Marcus Morris*
13.* Tobias Harris*
14. Jordan Hamilton*
15. Marshon Brooks*
16. Markieff* Morris
17. Justin Harper
18. Kory Joseph
19. David Lighty
20. Trey Thompkins
21. Shelvin Mack
22. JuJuan Johnson
23. Josh Selby
24. Tyler Honeycutt
25. Charles Jenkins
So, based on my viewing of tape on players all across the country, that is my top 20 on my PACERS board….if I were evaluating players for a different team, I might have a couple different players here or there, and the order might change slightly, but for us, that is how I would rank them.
I assume some of you would protest me not listing PG Reggie Jackson. To me, his knee injury is a concern, but considering that his camp isn’t apparently sharing his medical history with teams at all either, that is a giant red flag to me and would take him off my board.
Ok, so my own draft board is laid out for all to see. No surprises I am sure to those who actually read my 10 draft profiles, which are marked with an asterisk * up above.
I regret not making time for a really indepth 11 article on Darius Morris, who I feel is a potential really nice player in this draft. In my “best of the rest” article I compared him to Steve Blake, but I think that is his floor…..a pure point guard with size and athleticism, I think he reminds me a little of a poor man’s Ron Harper, a player I used to really like. Morris sees the floor very well, has the vision to see over smaller defenders, has a confidence and flair to his game, and cuts well off the basketball. Defensively I think he can guard 2 positions depending on the matchups, and his greater defensive talent/potential plus his size is why I ranked him ahead of Jimmer Freddette for us slightly.
Klay Thompson has grown on me some since I first did his profile, not because I think he will suddenly be a better defender than I thought originally (he won’t, he will be a sieve still), but because I think offensively he is better than I may have thought even. And while I don’t think that right now Tristan Thompson is really all that good of a basketball player, I do think he at least has a bit more potential down the road than either Morris twin, though each of them would be a much safer selection. Vucevic is where he is due to the overall lack of centers in general, and the fact that I think he can easily be our long term back up 5 man for years, and possibly can develop to the point that that position becomes a major position of strength for us…..and of course not having to overpay for centers is really good cap management going forward.
Ok, with all of that out in the open, here is my mock draft as of 10PM Wednesday, June 22. This draft will be a little different, because I am going to forecast some trades in here that havent happened yet, which is a goofy thing to attempt to predict but I am doing it anyway. Hope you enjoy:
1. Cleveland : Kyrie Irving. No shocking move here.
2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams. I don’t think Minnesota gets a deal done, despite trying very hard, at least on draft night.
3. PROJECTED TRADE: Washington trades up to #3 and takes Enos Kanter. Utah gets the #6 and #18 picks in the draft in the deal, might be a player or 2 involved as well.
Isn’t projecting trades more fun?????
4. PROJECTED TRADE: Sacramento moves up to #4 and takes Brandon Knight, the 3rd straight year they take a player coached by John Calipari. Cleveland gets #7 from Sacramento and some other assets, could be some money involved coming from Cleveland, and a player headed from Sacramento to Cleveland.
5. Toronto selects Tristan Thompson. I have no idea what Toronto is doing in general, so this is more of a guess than anything. But Thompson is more highly rated than I have been able to understand, and he is from Toronto, so let’s give him here.
6. Utah selects Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is a nice pick up for them, as he improves them greatly defensively and is a nice fit for the Jazz next to Gordon Heyward long term.
7. Cleveland selects Jan Vesely. Vesely I have never seen play, but apparently he is very athletic and would make a nice long term screen/roll partner with Kyrie Irving.
8. Detroit selects Kemba Walker. Detroit needs to start making some sense of a muddled roster, and their new owner wants results immediately. Enter Walker, who becomes a starter and de facto team leader in Detroit from day 1.
9. Charlotte selects Marcus Morris. Another reasonably safe and unexciting pick for the league’s most boring franchise. Having said that, they need ready to play talent and Morris is going to be able to get rotation minutes with them immediately.
10. PROJECTED TRADE: Houston moves up and selects: Jonas Valanciunas. Houston gets the 10th pick and pick #40 from Milwaukee, Milwaukee gets pick #14 and #23 from Houston
11. Golden State selects Chris Singleton. Very good move by the defensively challenged Warriors in my judgment if it plays out this way.
12. Utah selects Jimmer Freddette, making everyone in Utah very happy.
13. PROJECTED TRADE: Indiana trades #15,* and AJ Price to Phoenix. Indiana is on the clock. Phoenix makes this move since Fredette is gone, and they need a legitimate point guard with experience for Steve Nash. Plus, they can move down and still get the guy they want.
OK, SO NOW IT IS TIME TO CALL MY SHOT!
In this scenario, many rumored targets are gone, but remaining on the board are Bismack Biyombo, Marshon Brooks, Markieff Morris, Nikola Vucevic and Alec Burks among others.
This is an easy call for me to make:
With the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA draft, the Indiana Pacers select ALEC BURKS, SG, COLORADO.
I don’t love Burks as much as I loved Paul George last year, but he is my favorite player in this draft. He is 2 1/2 years younger than Marshon Brooks, can get to the rim at will, is a willing and capable passer, and I think he can even play some point guard in emergency situations. He needs to get stronger no question, and I see no reason why he won’t as he physically matures. Right now his range is 18 feet or so, he needs to expand that to the NBA line at some point, but he is a hard working young man from all accounts and has an uncanny knack as an elite scorer that we need, especially as a slasher and isolation guy in time. He can be our third or 4th wing in our rotation immediately, and long term projects to me as a 20 points per game* type guy assuming he develops as I think he will. An almost perfect prototype player skill wise right between Danny Granger and Paul George, since he would be immediately from day 1 our best ballhandling wing. He also will quickly be a strong ballhandler in the screen/roll game I feel, and be our best threat in screen/roll other than possibly Collison. To me in this scenario he clearly would be the best player available. No offense to all of you Marshon Brooks fans, but I just simply think Burks is a superior player…..and I don’t even really see it being all that close.
14.* Milwaukee takes Marshon Brooks.
15. Phoenix takes Markieff Morris, who they would have taken anyway at #13 perhaps.
16. Philadelphia takes Nikola Vucevic.
17. New York takes Bismack Biyombo.
18. Utah (now on the clock after trading down) takes Nikola Mirotic. Nice move by Utah, as they can stash the highly rated Mirotic overseas. In this scenario, Utah already has made 2 selections and wouldn’t want a third rookie on their payroll for 2011/2012.
19. Charlotte takes Jordan Hamilton. Charlotte is a perfect match for his game, as the Bobcats need outside shooting very very badly. They will consider Hamilton I think at 9 even tomorrow night.
20. PROJECTED TRADE: LA LAKERS ACQUIRE PICK #20 FROM MINNESOTA FOR $3 MILLION IN CASH. LA Lakers then select Malcolm Lee, 6’6 PG from UCLA.
21. Portland selects Kenneth Faried
22. PROJECTED TRADE: INDIANA ACQUIRE PICK #22, AND* KOSTA KOUFOS FROM DENVER FOR BRANDON RUSH AND PICK #42
I would personally clearly go with Darius Morris, but I believe Indiana would want to go big here…..if Lance is really as good as Bird seems to think, moving Rush and Price on draft night clears playing time for him, and Morris would only be in the way if we took him, so with this move I am thinking Indiana must have a clear front court guy to take.
WITH THE #22 PICK IN THE 2011 NBA DRAFT, INDIANA SELECTS TOBIAS HARRIS, F TENNESSEE
Harris is a very intelligent, clear headed, high character versatile player that probably reminds Bird alot of another very similar player to him, Austin Croshere. The ability to play backup minutes in 2 spots helps Bird pull the trigger to make this move, but mainly it is to clear Brandon Rush out of town and give minutes to others.
23 Milwaukee selects Darius Morris
24. Oklahoma City selects Donatas Motiejunas
25. Boston selects Davis Bertans
26. Dallas selects Jimmy Butler
27. New Jersey selects Iman Shumpert
28. Chicago selects Tyler Honeycutt
29. San Antonio selects Reggie Jackson
30. PROJECTED TRADE CHICAGO TRADES PICK #30 TO THE HOUSTON ROCKETS FOR CASH CONSIDERATIONS.
Houston then selects Justin Harper.
So there you have it…..I’ll be lucky to get most of any of that correct of course, but I think it is fun to speculate on what other moves around the league might be made.
I do however think I have Indiana’s first pick correct….I think we will move up if we have to, or just stay put and let him fall to us, but one way or the other I think Alec Burks is an Indiana Pacer tomorrow night.
Of course I am biased, because that is exactly who I myself want, with my second choice being Chris Singleton and my third Darius Morris. Harris is in the middle of my preferences, but I believe Bird likely has him higher in his list of preferences than most, so with a clear opportunity to clear salary and still take him, I think Bird would make a move like I described above if it presented itself. But clearly the highlight move for me would be landing Burks, who I’ve had my eye on since I started breaking down film on him in January. High character, with a skill set that perfectly compliments our core players and a high ceiling. Alec Burks is one of the things we really need to be a complete well rounded talented team….we probably need a big enforcing rebounding stud power forward/center a little worse, but THAT guy isn’t in this draft.
We will all see what transpires tomorrow night.
I will be in Fort Wayne until Sunday night, but I will have a draft piece about whatever we do Thursday night when I return. Have fun tomorrow Pacers fans!
As always, the above is just my opinion.