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Mark Heisler's NBA Coast to Coast: Rethinking NBA draft predictions

On second thought, maybe Duke's Kyrie Irving isn't the slam-dunk No. 1 pick. And Arizona's Derrick Williams has made a big move up.

April 02, 2011|By Mark Heisler
  • Arizona forward Derrick Williams could go No. 1 overall in this year's NBA draft, particularly if Washington gets the top pick.
Arizona forward Derrick Williams could go No. 1 overall in this year's… (Chris Morriso / US Presswire )

Here's a mock draft update, finessing my way into position to claim I was right all along.

The big change is the debate about No. 1 — which will depend primarily on who gets the pick.

Numbers in parentheses are my pre-NCAA tournament rankings.

1 (t). Kyrie Irving (1) — Some see Chris Paul II, more see a better Ty Lawson.

I'm going with those who see greatness, even if Irving was only good in the tournament coming off his injury.

If Cleveland, Toronto, Sacramento or Utah (with New Jersey's pick) is No. 1, it's him.

1 (t). Derrick Williams (5) — Now top three, two or one.

If Washington, which has John Wall, gets the No. 1 pick, it's him.

Or . . .

3. Enes Kanter (3) — Listed at 6-10, 240, the weight looks right . . . as a low estimate.

If he's 6-9, Minnesota or Washington could take him No. 1 as an Al Horford-type center.

At whatever height he is, Kanter got 34 and 13 in the 2010 Hoop Summit against Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, et al.

4. Jonas Valanciunas (7 ) — Slender but the GMs sharpest on Euros say he could be a Pau Gasol.

Says a scout of Kantner and Valanciunas, "If they played college ball in the U.S., they might be 1-2."

5. Barnes (2) — Not ready but who is?

Not gifted at small forward where the athletes play, but has great feel, attacks, plays on the move.

I love him, but when I miss, all I have to do is write "Oops."

6. Sullinger (4) — Not coming out but deserves this salute.

I don't like comparisons to anomalies like Dennis Rodman or Kevin Love — but I think he's Love Child II.

7. Perry Jones (6) — On pure appeal since he's like a 6-11 guard. Baylor made the Elite Eight with Ekpe Udoh, didn't make 68-team field with him.

8. Kemba Walker (11) — Not big or a knock-down shooter but totally clutch, taking a young team through Big East tourney and loaded West bracket.

9. Terrence Jones (8) — Great-looking 6-9 athlete but production slipped as others stepped up for Kentucky.

10. Alec Burks (9) — Major shooting guard prospect, should go higher.

11. Brandon Knight (16) — Shot his way, literally, into lottery. Not a great penetrator but a knock-down shooter who defends.

12. Jan Vesely (12) — Admirers see Andrei Kirilenko.

13. John Henson (10) — Slender at 6-10, but answered questions about toughness, so far.

14. Jeremy Lamb (NR) — UConn soph, billed as Wes Johnson but better. Surfaced so recently, it's not known if he's coming.

15. Reggie Jackson (NR) — Boston College point, moving up, not just because I missed him. Big, athletic, considered third best behind Irving, Knight.

16. Kawhi Leonard (13) — Not a player you often see. Try Luc Mbah a Moute with Kobe Bryant handle.

17. Tyler Zeller (30) — Major mover. Filled out, got tougher and can shoot.

18. Lucas Nogueira (24) — Closely-watched 7-foot Brazilian, in next week's Hoop Summit.

19. Donatas Motiejunas (15) — Young, skilled, basket-facing Euro-type big man.

20. Kenneth Faried (29) — Morehead State senior, animal rebounder if only, like, 6-6. Nice tab by ESPN's Chad Ford.

Then there's Jimmer Fredette (17): Still in first round but scouts see him as a sharpshooting reserve, not a starting point.

—Mark Heisler

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