With the NBA draft early entry list being revealed recently, it is due time for The Hot Hand Blog to release its first mock draft. This year’s draft class is consistently viewed as weaker than recent drafts due to factors such as the potential lock out next season and, probably resulting from that, the withdrawal of many top prospects. Yet this draft does have players with All Star potential. As with everything, time will tell how this draft stacks up.
Like the title explains, this is a pre-lottery draft. Thus, this order is likely not how they will be drafted considering different teams have different needs. So take this draft order with a grain of salt.
Kyrie Erving PG. Though the freshmen’s season was cut short by a toe injury, his stellar play early for Duke, and his tournament performance leave no question as to who is the top prize in 2011. The epitome of a true lead guard, Kyrie’s game is tailor made for the next level. He possesses a crafty handle, excellent body control, x-ray vision and the way he penetrates keeps him from committing charges. His pull up jumper is NBA ready, and has been since high school, and his defence is very advanced for his age. His most underrated aspect has to be his demeanour and personality. Not many freshmen would have been given the green light, not only by Coach K, but by the upperclassmen on that Duke team. However, that was Irving’s team from the jump. He will be able to fit in seamlessly to any NBA roster. Ceiling: Chris Paul Basement: D.J. Augustine
Derrick Williams PF. Going from the least regarded of Arizona’s 2009 recruiting class, to a potential number 1 pick, nobody has exploded on to the scene quite like Williams. A physical specimen at the 4 spot with a versatile game that can do damage inside and out. One of the best shooters from his position in all the NCAA, Derrick shot 56.8% from 3 on 74 attempts. His stroke paired with his athleticism, foot work and motor has Williams primed to anchor the front line on an NBA roster for years to come. Ceiling: Amar’e Stoudemire Basement: Paul Milsap
Kemba Walker PG. Lacking the physical stature of most typical lottery prospects, Walkers utter destruction of college basketball this season has solidified his place in top 5 territory. Excellent mid range game, handle, vision, and a scorer’s mentality that reminds me of a young Iverson. Needless to say the way he carried an average team to the Promised Land as the only legitimate consistent threat was remarkable and brought back memories of AI in ’01. His ability to work the pick and roll will be his bread and butter throughout his career. Ceiling: Devin Harris Basement: T.J. Ford
Bismack Biyombo PF: Having burst on to the scene after his triple double in the Nike Hoop Summit, teams are salivating at the freakish physical measurements of this cat. Standing 6-9 with a 7-7(!!!) wingspan, and devastating athleticism, Biyombo will be a terror defensively as soon as he steps on to and NBA floor. A native of Congo, Biyombo’s 12/11/10 triple double against the top NCAA prospects in America, and his dominant, aggressive personality have him primed to be shaking the comish’s hand very early on draft night. Ceiling: Serge Ibaka Basement: Jason Maxiel
Enes Kanter C. Although he had to sit out this season at Kentucky, Kanter has a very bright NBA future. A beast inside with an Andrea Bargnani-like outside stroke, he has the ability to get buckets from wherever. Not an athletic freak like Biyombo, but with infinitely more skill, the Turkish big stands a chance to be in the top 3 with good workouts. He currently holds the Hoop Summit scoring record that was previously held by Dirk Nowitzki. Ceiling: Rasheed Wallace Basement: Vlade Divac
Alec Burks SG. The first swingman on this mock, Alec Burks has the potential to be the very best player from this class in the long run. He possesses the one skill that is most highly valued from wing scorers at this level; excellent 1v1 capabilities. A terrific handle, shot creating skills, and the ability to drive and finish with either hand, Burks was one of the best scorers at the college level regardless of position. He is a willing passer and a great rebounder at the guard spot. Will be most effective with the ball in his hands. Ceiling: Brandon Roy Basement: Chris Douglas-Roberts
Tristan Thompson PF. Frankly speaking, Thompson is better than Ed Davis right now, and is one of the most overlooked players in this draft. A freak athlete with great hands, footwork and a relentless motor Thompson should be able to defend effectively and score around the bucket at the next level. Watch the way he ran the floor this past season at Texas. He was consistently the first player down, running to the opposite baseline before coming back to the rim and establishing deep position in the post. His offensive game is raw but his defensive ability will keep him on the floor. Ceiling: Shareef Abdur-Rahim Basement: Amir Johnson
Terrence Jones SF. One of the most versatile players in the Draft, Jones can bang down low, or step outside and go to work from the wing. A very underrated passer and ball handler, and the right mentality for the NBA game has me believing that ,for once, Coach Cal may have hurt one of his players draft stock this past season. A good athlete, paired with his versatility could make Jones a very valuable pickup for a team. Ceiling: Lamar Odom Basement: Dorrell Wright
Jimmer Freddette G. Jimmer just gives off the air of a superstar already. His confidence, swagger, and sheer ruthlessness on the court show that Jimmer has the perfect frame of mind for what his NBA role will be (straight gunner). His ability to create offence for himself and others is invaluable in the NBA and if he is given a free reign to go nuts...he will. At worst he is a killer as a spot up shooter, at best he can be the perfect offensive compliment to any dominating big man. Ceiling: Jamal Crawford Basement: Eddie House
Brandon Knight G. Though he manned the point at Kentucky, I see Knights future as a more undersized combo guard. His ability to run his defender off screens is too good to restrict him to playing the point full time. He would be most serviceable working off screens from the baseline. He does have a tight handle, good 1v1 play, and demonstrated in the tournament and the Mcdonalds all American game in high school, that he can be trusted with the game on the line. Those skills are highly regarded and should allow him to be a contributor right away. Ceiling: Rip Hamilton Basement: Lou Williams
-Contributions by Nicholindsey Hobson for The Hot Hand