Prediction: Bulls take Butler’s Mack, Purdue’s Johnson in NBA draft
BY LACY J. BANKS firstname.lastname@example.org June 22, 2011 11:34PM
The Cavaliers are hoping that Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, the likely No. 1 pick, will fill some of the void left by LeBron James. | Streeter Lecka~Getty Images
When: 6 tonight. TV: ESPN.
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
Bulls’ picks: First round: 28, 30; second round: 43.
Updated: September 24, 2011 12:20AM
I hate NBA mock drafts more than I hate NCAA office pools.
On the surface, it would appear easier to guess which 60 players will be selected in the two rounds tonight, as opposed to the March Madness guessing game.
The problem with the draft is last-minute trades.
Normally, I feel pretty good about which players will be selected in the top five, maybe even 10, slots. But once those trades take place, most mock drafts fall apart.
Nevertheless, here I go again, making a fool of myself. I don’t intend to. But after the first dozens picks, I’ll have plenty of company. As usual, I’m doing only the first round.
You may strongly disagree with my picks, but whose mock draft is it anyway? Right. It’s mine, and I deserve the right to look stupid, like most others trying to do this.
1. Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke The Cavaliers hope this all-around talent can fill the star vacuum caused by LeBron James’ defection.
2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona Even though he plays the same position as Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, the Timberwolves can’t ignore his upside.
3. Utah: Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU He would be an even better fit if Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan were still coaching this perennial contender. Fredette could be the next John Stockton.
4. Cleveland: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey He could be the strong inside presence the Cavaliers need to suck in defenses and get open looks for teammates.
5. Toronto: Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania At 6-11 and 240 pounds, Valanciunas has one of the better outside games for a big man. Could he be Chris Bosh’s replacement?
6. Washington: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky Can Knight also play shooting guard? The NBA champion Mavericks did well playing point guards Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea together.
7. Sacramento: Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut Walker is a great asset after leading UConn to the NCAA title. If he drops this far, the Kings will have to take him.
8. Detroit: Bismack Biyombo, PF-C, Congo This exceptional rebounder and shot-blocker might replace Ben Wallace. Can’t shoot well. Neither can Wallace.
9. Charlotte: Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State Leonard provides an offensive and defensive boost. And with Michael Jordan calling the shots, the Bobcats must pick the best player at this point.
10. Milwaukee: Marcus Morris, SF-PF, Kansas Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris want to be picked by the same team. They played well together at Kansas. But Marcus joins the Bucks first.
11. Golden State: Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State Singleton has a vertical leap of 371/2 inches and will help the Warriors more defensively than offensively. Averaged 13 points as a senior.
12. Utah: Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas Morris could blend well with Fredette to help remind Jazz fans of the legendary pick-and-roll duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone.
13. Phoenix: Jan Vesely, SF, Czech Republic He has the size, speed, quickness, shooting skills and moxie to keep the Suns running and gunning.
14. Houston: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas He’s one of those gifted combo players who’s productive scoring and rebounding.
15. Indiana: Alec Burks, SG, Colorado Some call the 6-6 Burks the second coming of Pistons star Tayshaun Prince. But the huskier Burks gives the Pacers another banger in the box.
16. Philadelphia: Nikola Vucevic, C, USC: At 6-11 and 260 pounds, he provides size, strength and skills at center and can be a valuable piece, igniting coach Doug Collins’ up-tempo game.
17. New York: Reggie Jackson, PG-SG, Boston College Jackson will be one of the sleepers in this year’s draft. He averaged 18.2 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds for the Eagles.
18. Washington: Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State With Gilbert Arenas gone, the Wizards seek another hardworking player who can score. It may be Thompson. He says he’s more mature and disciplined since being suspended for drug possession.
19. Charlotte: Jordan Hamilton, SG-SF, Texas He’s considered one of the best spot-up shooters. Hamilton also averaged 7.7 rebounds.
20. Minnesota: Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania This 7-foot Lithuanian is too frail to play inside. But his perimeter passing and shooting skills can help Love’s inside game.
21. Portland: Tyler Honeycutt, SG, UCLA Although he’s a rangy 187-pounder who averaged 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds last season, he’ll have to add weight and strength to endure the NBA grind.
22. Denver: Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence You can’t question his work ethic, determination and dedication. He improved his play each year to where he averaged 24.6 points as a senior.
23. Houston: Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State This 6-8, 223-pound banger has a chip on his shoulder. He vows to pay back every team that passed him up. He averaged 17.6 points and 14.5 rebounds.
24. Oklahoma City: Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee Harris played only one season with Tennessee and impressed scouts, averaging 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.
25. Boston: Kyle Singler, SF, Duke He played four years at Duke and was a solid contributor with an outstanding work ethic. He’s a dedicated role player the Celtics can use.
26. Dallas: Davis Bertans, SF, Latvia: So what if he’s a 6-10, 210-pounder from Latvia. On a team already powered by imports Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea, Bertans would fit right in.
27. New Jersey: Josh Selby, SG, Kansas The 6-3 freshman failed to live up to his billing, averaging 8.7 points. He blames injuries. But he can at least come off the bench.
28. BULLS: Shelvin Mack, PG-SG, Butler This 6-2, 205-pounder led the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA finals before losing to Duke and Connecticut. He averaged 15.2 points.
29: San Antonio: Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia Aging Spurs need fresh meat in the frontcourt. This 6-10, 240-pounder averaged 16.1 points and 7.5 rebounds. But he occasionally lacks motivation.
30. BULLS: JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue A 6-10, 220-pounder, Johnson averaged 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Boilermakers.