Who will be the top 5 picks in the NBA draft?

May 19, 2011

Cavs talking Turkey

Dom Amore

Hartford Courant

After suffering a meek year after The LeBron Decision, Cleveland inherits the Earth, picking first and fourth. So they're not drafting a player, but a core, and it makes most sense for them to go point guard and big man, even if the latter is a project.

They'll use that first pick on Duke's Kyrie Irving and the fourth pick on Enes Kanter, the 6-11 center who has been playing in Turkey. When you've already picked first you can afford a risk at No. 4.

Arizona small forward Derrick Williams makes a lot of sense for the Timberwolves at No. 2. Point guard Brandon Knight makes sense for the Jazz at No. 3.

The consensus has UConn's Kemba Walker going No. 7 to Sacramento. However, he would be best equipped to put the Raptors back on the map in Toronto, so I'll go with him as the No. 5 pick.

damore@tribune.com

Dropoff after No. 2

Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

The top two picks will feature the best players before a dropoff.

The Cavs earned the first and fourth picks of the draft and can take two of the more intriguing players out of college. Expect them to select Duke's Kyrie Irving with the first pick. An elite pure point guard is too good to pass up and Irving proved to be crafty with the Blue Devils.

Arizona forward Derrick Williams showed off his athleticism and improved his stock greatly during the NCAA tournament, making him a clear-cut No. 2 pick by the Timberwolves. Kentucky's Brandon Knight has some flaws, but he is the best available guard at No. 3, where the Jazz will take him off the board. The Cavs will pick perhaps the most interesting player in Enes Kanter, who did not play at Kentucky after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA.

Look for Toronto to take an equally intriguing prospect with the No. 5 pick, selecting 6-11 center Jonas Valanciunas from Lithuania.

sryan@tribune.com

Irving to Knight

Lisa Dillman

Los Angeles Times

The latest in a never-ending series of mock drafts … and thinking if Cleveland can cash in on a 2.8 percent chance of winning the lottery, it might be time to buy a lotto ticket this weekend.

1. Cleveland: Kyrie Irving. Another point guard arrives in town. Understudy to Baron Davis. Ramon Sessions better start looking for change-of-address forms.

2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams. Power forward moving up fast. Of course, there is the unpredictability of GM David Kahn.

3. Utah: Enes Kanter. Big man feeling the love from experts despite not playing a minute last season at Kentucky.

4. Cleveland: Kawhi Leonard. Rebuilding 101 for the Cavaliers.

5. Toronto: Brandon Knight. His Kentucky debut happened to be an exhibition game in Canada against the Windsor Lancers. We're all about symmetry here.

ldillman@tribune.com

Gets hazy after No. 1

Zach McCann

Orlando Sentinel

The Cavaliers are taking Duke's Kyrie Irving first overall, and that's about as set in stone as an NBA draft pick can be in mid-May. Past that, though, things get a little hazy.

Will the Timberwolves take Arizona power forward Derrick Williams with Kevin Love on the roster? I believe they will, giving them one of the best young front lines in the NBA.

That leaves Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight to the Jazz at No. 3, giving them an exciting guard to replace the departed Deron Williams.

Cleveland, with the No. 4 pick, will then select Knight's college teammate, Enes Kanter. Kanter gives the Cavaliers a big man to pair with Irving and a decent core going forward.

Finally, at No. 5, the Raptors could certainly use some size, and Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas is just the man to fill the bill.

zmccann@tribune.com

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