Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
NBA mock draft No. 2: Irving vs. Williams
1 Cleveland Cavaliers (From Los Angeles Clippers)
Kyrie Irving, PG
19 years old; 6'3"; 190 lbs
Irving has yet to work out for the Cavs, but by all indications he will be the top pick. Cleveland has been willing to grant him a one-on-zero workout, something it hasn't extended to "other" candidates Brandon Knight and Derrick Williams, saying it's "against their policy." The Cavs admitted to other camps that Irving is the favorite, even if they maintain that no final decision has been made.
While visiting Cleveland, Irving will be subjected to the most thorough medical examinations possible, and in particular the sesamoid bones in his foot, which are believed to have forced him to miss the majority of his freshman season. This will play a much heavier role in whether he's selected first overall than anything he's asked to show on the court.
2 Minnesota Timberwolves
Derrick Williams, PF
20 years old; 6'9"; 250 lbs
With Ricky Rubio(notes) finally agreeing to play for Minnesota next season, a major piece to the puzzle has been added to the Timberwolves' roster, allowing them to focus all their attention on this pick.
The team has reportedly narrowed down their choices to Williams and Enes Kanter at the moment, but it has also been calling around the league recently to see what this pick might yield via trade, asking particularly for a "veteran big man." It's likely that Williams will be the one taken since he is the consensus second-best talent in this draft, according to NBA decision makers. If Minnesota keeps the pick and indeed selects Williams, sources say the Timberwolves will look to move Michael Beasley(notes) as they try to improve the "culture of the team."
3 Utah Jazz (From New Jersey Nets)
Brandon Knight, PG
19 years old; 6'3"; 180 lbs
The Jazz are still far from making a final decision here, and probably won't for a while until they get to see all the main candidates in person (Knight, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo, who they, Detroit and Toronto will visit in Vitoria, Spain. For now, most NBA people have Knight penciled in here. Guard is a huge position of need for the Jazz and Knight is considered the most talented one after Irving.
The team is also actively exploring trade opportunities, namely for a proven starting point guard. It's an indication that things are still wide open at this pick.
4 Cleveland Cavaliers
Jonas Valanciunas, C
19 years old; 6'11"; 240 lbs
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
Valanciunas' buyout negotiations haven't progressed much since his team hired powerful Serbian agent Misko Raznatovic to represent the team in discussions. The initial asking price ($2 million dollars base, plus $100,000 for every spot he's picked over 16, and no NBA exit clause until 2012) was rejected by Valanciunas' NBA agents at CAA. But most expect this to be resolved before the draft since Rytas needs money for its budget next season.
Once the buyout hurdle has been cleared, Valanciunas is rumored to be Cleveland's preference at this pick, although it will reportedly give strong consideration to Bismack Biyombo and, to a lesser extent, Enes Kanter.
5 Toronto Raptors
Kemba Walker, PG
21 years old; 6'1"; 185 lbs
Toronto's situation will be in flux until a coach is hired to replace the recently removed Jay Triano. The vacancy makes this pick difficult to project at the moment. Nevertheless, if Brandon Knight is off the board, Walker is considered one of the strongest candidates in the early going, especially considering the team's clear-cut need for a franchise point guard. He joins dark horses Bismack Biyombo and Kawhi Leonard, candidates who would go a long ways in bolstering a team defense that ranked worst in the NBA last season.
6 Washington Wizards
Enes Kanter C
19 years old; 6'11"; 260 lbs
If Kanter isn't drafted second or third, his next most likely destination is in here. All indications are that the Wizards would love to add him to their frontcourt rotation. He would give them a big boost on the glass in particular, an area where they ranked among the NBA's worst last season. Washington is also exploring opportunities to move up, ideally to No. 2, where they'd be able to select Derrick Williams, who would be an ideal teammate for John Wall(notes).
7 Sacramento Kings
Kawhi Leonard, SF
19 years old; 6'7"; 225 lbs
San Diego State, sophomore
While many analysts feel the Kings would be best-served addressing their backcourt situation, where Tyreke Evans(notes) dominates the ball for long stretches, Sacramento appears to be most concerned with its weakness at small forward. Leonard would give the Kings an upgrade defensively on the wing over the likes of Donte Greene(notes) and Omri Casspi(notes), and is best-suited playing a complementary role off the ball alongside Evans, DeMarcus Cousins(notes) and Marcus Thornton(notes).
8 Detroit Pistons
Bismack Biyombo, PF/C
18 years old; 6'9"; 240 lbs
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)
Detroit is another team that has NBA decision makers scratching their heads regarding which direction it's headed. Biyombo makes sense here considering how well he complements the strengths and weaknesses of cornerstone Greg Monroe(notes) '" but not as the Pistons' long-term power forward as rumored. We have Biyombo here for now as the clear-cut best talent available, but things could definitely change over the next three weeks, particularly until Detroit's top brass gets to see him up close in Vitoria, Spain on June 9.
9 Charlotte Bobcats
Marcus Morris, PF
21 years old; 6'9"; 230 lbs
Charlotte's front office is under a tremendous amount of pressure to "get this pick right," as mandated in a recent meeting with owner Michael Jordan. Morris would be the quick fix, as he's one of the most polished players in the draft. Still, the team has major needs on the wing that could be addressed by the likes of Klay Thompson and Jordan Hamilton. The Bobcats could also eventually move this pick, although for now they are saying otherwise.
10 Milwaukee Bucks
Jan Vesely, SF
21 years old; 6'11"; 240 lbs
KK Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
This is surely the lowest Vesely, considered a top-five or six talent in this draft, would slide. His toughness and intensity-level would be welcomed by fiery head coach Scott Skiles, even if his offensive limitations don't make him a great fit on this roster.
11 Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson, SG/SF
21 years old; 6'7"; 205 lbs
Washington State, junior
Thompson would give the Warriors some much needed size on the wing, as he's big enough to see time at either the two or the three with Golden State's high-scoring combo guard duo. He's rumored to be a favorite of recently hired consultant Jerry West, which never hurts in the eyes of ownership.
12 Utah Jazz
Alec Burks, SG
19 years old; 6'6"; 195 lbs
Burks complements projected third overall pick Brandon Knight for the Jazz, who are staring at a big hole at shooting guard.
13 Phoenix Suns
Tristan Thompson, PF
20 years old; 6'9"; 230 lbs
Thompson is an outstanding athlete who has a great deal of room to develop for a team that surely will be looking to rebuild at some point in the near future.
14 Houston Rockets
Jordan Hamilton, SF
20 years old; 6'8"; 230 lbs
Houston's biggest need appears to be at small forward. Hamilton has great size for the 3 at 6-foot-8 and should be able to score from Day 1 in the NBA. His interviews have gone much better than expected, which gives plenty of room for optimism considering his very high talent level.
15 Indiana Pacers
Jimmer Fredette, PG<
22 years old; 6'2"; 195 lbs
Fredette in Hoosier country is a match made in heaven, even if he'd likely have to come off the bench as a combo guard. He makes sense if the Pacers see him as the best talent available, especially considering that they don't need to add any more projects.
16 Philadelphia 76ers
Markieff Morris, PF
21 years old; 6'10"; 240 lbs.
Power forward appears to be the biggest position of need at the moment for the 76ers. Morris is clearly the best big man available, and would give the Sixers some added toughness and athleticism.
17 New York Knicks
Donatas Motiejunas, PF/C
20 years old; 7'0"; 215 lbs
Benetton Treviso (Italy)
This would be a major slide for the Lithuanian big man, who entered the draft expecting to be a top-10 pick. Nevertheless, he'll surely be pleased to land on a team that plays a free-flowing, up-tempo style under a head coach who cut his teeth in the Italian league, the same place Motiejunas did.
18 Washington Wizards (From Atlanta Hawks)
Tobias Harris, SF/PF
18 years old; 6'8"; 225 lbs
If the Wizards go big with their first pick, their next biggest need would be on the wing—particularly the 3—where they are painfully thin. Harris has the type of work ethic and character the team wants to build around cornerstone John Wall.
19 Charlotte Bobcats (From New Orleans Hornets)
Chris Singleton, SF
21 years old; 6'9"; 230 lbs
Florida State, junior
Singleton fills a major need as he'd be the only true small forward on the roster, and could also be considered the best player available at this stage of the draft.
20 Minnesota Timberwolves (From Memphis Grizzlies)
Kenneth Faried, PF
21 years old; 6'8"; 225 lbs
Morehead State, senior
The Timberwolves clearly have no need for another rookie, as they were the second-youngest team in the NBA last year. Nevertheless, they'll be adding just that as things currently stand with Ricky Rubio and the No. 2 overall pick. This pick is already being shopped according to reports we've received, but if they keep it, adding a blue-collar, low-maintenance role player like Faried makes sense.
21 Portland Trailblazers
Nikola Vucevic, PF/C
20 years old; 7'0"; 260 lbs.
Vucevic is one of the fastest rising prospects in the draft, thanks to an outstanding weekend at the NBA combine. In a weak class at his position and with 37-year-old Marcus Camby(notes) the only center guaranteed to be on Portland's roster next season, Vucevic could provide the team with some solid depth.
22 Denver Nuggets
Iman Shumpert, PG/SG
20 years old; 6'6"; 220 lbs
Georgia Tech, junior
Shumpert is another player who has seen his stock take off in recent weeks, after measuring out a legit 6-6 and ranking as one of the best athletes in the draft. Talent has never been the issue with the former McDonald's All-American, who has arguably the most upside of any guard on the board at this point. Capable of defending three positions at the NBA level, Shumpert can give the Nuggets depth and versatility and will fit into the up-tempo style George Karl likes to play.
23 Houston Rockets (From Orlando Magic)
Tyler Honeycutt, SF
20 years old; 6'8"; 190 lbs
With Honeycutt, the Rockets can continue to shore up their small-forward position long-term with a prospect who is a couple of years away from contributing at the NBA level. He's versatile with all the tools and talent needed to be an effective swingman down the road, but will need some seasoning on Houston's D-League team.
24 Oklahoma City Thunder
23 years old; 6'9"; 225 lbs
Many teams feel like Singler is as safe of a pick as you'll find at this point in the draft, which is why his stock has risen over the past few weeks. Singler can space the floor at both the 3 and the 4, will compete defensively and on the glass, and won't need a great deal of schooling to make the transition to the pros.
25 Boston Celtics
Marshon Brooks, SG
22 years old; 6'5"; 195 lbs
The Celtics lack depth on the wing and aren't getting any younger at that position with Ray Allen(notes) and Paul Pierce(notes) both well into their 30s. Another fast-riser as of late, Brooks is a senior who can help them right away as one of the top scorers in college basketball last season. He did not come from a winning culture at Providence and has much to learn in that regard, but will be in the perfect place to do so alongside Boston's trio of future Hall of Famers.
26 Dallas Mavericks
Lucas Nogueira C
18 years old; 7'0"; 225 lbs
MMT Estudiantes (Spain)
"Bebe" needs to go to a team with great facilities and staff that is willing to be patient as he works to reach his considerable potential, and the Mavs are exactly that, having the added bonus of being able to supplement his development through playing time on their D-League team.
27 New Jersey Nets (From Los Angeles Lakers)
Josh Selby, SG
20 years old; 6'3"; 195 lbs
Outside of Deron Williams(notes), the Nets really don't have a player who can consistently create his own shot from the perimeter. Selby, while undersized, could help in that regard.
28 Chicago Bulls (From Miami Heat)
Charles Jenkins, PG/SG
22 years old; 6'3"; 220 lbs
If there's one thing the Bulls lack, it's another creative scorer on the wing that can both make shots and put the ball on the deck when the offense gets stagnant. Jenkins ranked as one of the most effective pick-and-roll and isolation threats in college basketball this past season, but also scored in a highly efficient manner. Whether or not he can translate that to the NBA level remains to be seen, but the Bulls will surely like the work ethic and character he brings to the table, as well as his commitment to defense.
29 San Antonio Spurs
Davis Bertans, SF
18 years old; 6'10"; 210 lbs
Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia)
The Spurs have never been afraid of drafting international prospects they can stash in Europe for another year or two, allowing him to develop on someone else's dime. Bertans is more concerned with the franchise that selects him than being drafted very high, and would likely elect to stay in the draft on June 13th (the official early-entry withdrawal deadline) if given assurances he'd be picked by a strong development team such as San Antonio. At 6-10, with one of the best perimeter strokes and overall scoring instincts in this draft, Bertans is one of the best prospects in his age group in Europe, and is already seeing solid playing time on a Euroleague team.
30 Chicago Bulls
Justin Harper, PF
21 years old; 6'10"; 225 lbs
The Bulls are telling teams that are calling that they're unlikely to keep both of their first-rounders, which means that this pick could be in someone else's hands by the time the draft rolls around. While shooting guard may be the biggest position of need on this roster, the options available don't appear attractive. Picking up a floor spacing power forward like Harper makes sense, as none of Chicago's big men are dangerous from the perimeter.
There are plenty of players who could hear their name called at this stage, such as: Travis Leslie, Reggie Jackson, Nolan Smith, Darius Morris, Malcolm Lee, Jeremy Tyler, JaJuan Johnson, Chandler Parsons, and Norris Cole. Harper gets the nod this time for securing the last guaranteed contract of the 2011 draft.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.