Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams? 2011 NBA Draft Lottery Breakdown


nba draft lottery

Barring something incredibly stupid happening, or Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn calling the shots, the top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft will either be Duke point guard Kyrie Irving or Arizona forward Derrick Williams.  Had North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes declared for the draft rather than choosing to return to the Tar Heels for his sophomore season, he would also be in the discussion.

The ping pong balls will sort themselves out Tuesday night in the annual NBA Draft Lottery.  Let’s take a look at each team’s odds and whether they would lean towards picking Irving or Williams if they earned the spot.  Go here for The Sports Bank’s 2011 NBA Mock Draft.

By: David Kay

Minnesota Timberwolves (25%)- Kyrie Irving
I maintain my stance that Ricky Rubio will never play for the Timberwolves, and since Luke Ridnour is better suited as a back-up and Jonny Flynn suffered through a horrid sophomore slump, Minnesota is still searching for a point guard of the future.  (I will now remind T-Wolves’ fans that their general manager drafted three point guards just two years ago and it is highly likely that NONE of them will pan out to be their future floor leader.)  They could draft Irving though and then turn around and deal Flynn for another asset while he still has some sort of value rather than him making a home on the bench.

If I am proven wrong though and Rubio ends up committing to the Land of 10,000 Lakes which is highly unlikely since a lockout is looming, then you would think this decision would be a no-brainer and Williams ends up being the pick.  However, with Kevin Love and seemingly rejuvenated Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph at forward, where does Williams find his minutes?  All three T-Wolves do become restricted free agents in the summer of 2012 though, so Williams would certainly be a safety net in case one, two, or possibly all three of them end up signing elsewhere.

A third option would be drafting Irving and then trading him or Rubio’s rights for a quality player or two and possibly a 2012 draft pick since the Clippers own Minnesota’s from that ever awful Marko Jaric/Sam Cassell trade that Kevin McHale made.  (Timberwolves’ fans will now slam their head in their car door repeatedly until they blackout.)  Is Kahn actually smart enough to think of that though or would he try to force feed the idea that Rubio and Irving could play together in the same backcourt?

Go here for a look at the Timberwolves’ off-season needs.

kyrie irving nba draftCleveland Cavaliers (own pick: 19.9%), (Clips pick: 2.8%)- Kyrie Irving
I really think Barnes would have been the perfect fit for a team that has options at the point and power forward but sorely lacks a true wing scorer.  Neither Baron Davis nor Ramon Sessions is the point guard of the future in Cleveland but Antwan Jamison is also entering the final year of his contract and is a similar combo-type forward as Williams.  So long-term, there is a need for both types of players looking beyond the 2011-2012 season.

Jamison’s expiring contract is attractive to other teams and could possibly net a quality player or two via trade which would make Williams’ abilities the higher need.  Davis’ contract is seemingly impossible to move until maybe the summer of 2012 but the Cavs can create opportunity for Irving by dealing Sessions and the reasonable remaining 2-years, $8.8 left on his contract.

This selection likely comes down to who the Cavs think will turn into the better pro.  Early buzz has Cleveland enamored with Irving so I will make him their selection, subject to change of course.

Go here for a look at the Cavs’ off-season needs.

Toronto Raptors (15.5%)- Kyrie Irving
This is a bit of a toss up since Toronto does not have a true scoring forward but could also use an up-grade at the point since from the Jose Calderon/Jerryd Bayless combo.  Based on need alone, I would lean towards Williams since Calderon and Bayless are still under contract for a couple of more years.  However, it is difficult to pass up on a future star point guard and Bayless could always be dealt again.

Go here for a look at the Raptors’ off-season needs.

Washington Wizards (11.9%)- Derrick Williams
Since they have the face of their franchise in last year’s top overall pick, point guard John Wall, Washington has to go with Williams by process of elimination.  The Wiz do not have a long-term solution at small forward and would hope the Pac-10 Player of the Year could find a home at that spot since the team formerly known as the Bullets have solid, young talent at the four.

Go here for a look at the Wizards’ off-season needs.

Utah Jazz (NJ’s pick: 7.5%), (their own pick: 0.7%)- Kyrie Irving
In 2010 lottery picks Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, Utah already has a young frontcourt to compliment veterans Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.  If Williams was the pick, he would have to see a lot of time at small forward unless Favors, Millsap, or Big Al were dealt.

Utah does have Devin Harris running the point, but he seems to have hit his ceiling.  The Jazz do not have any depth behind Harris so they could take Irving and not thrust him into a starting job right away.  I also think you could play Irving and Harris in the backcourt at the same time.

Sacramento Kings (7.6%)- Kyrie Irving
This decision will come down to whether or not the Kings brain trust thinks Irving can co-exist in the same backcourt as hybrid-guard Tyreke Evans who is at his best when the ball is in his hands.  If they think that marriage will work, Irving is the selection.  If not, Sacramento goes with Williams who provides an athletic compliment to the size and inside scoring of last year’s first round pick, DeMarcus Cousins.

Go here for a look at the Kings’ off-season needs.

Detroit Pistons (4.3%)- Kyrie Irving
I have been on this bandwagon for some quite time, but I don’t think Rodney Stuckey will ever be the starting point guard on a legitimate title contending team.  Plus, he is a restricted free agent this summer.  I would rather draft Irving than have to pay to keep Stuckey as my point guard for another four-five years.  You could not blame Joe Dumars if he went in the other direction and took Williams since Tayshaun Prince is a free agent, though Detroit does still have Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye, and Jonas Jerebko who are all in the combo-forward mold.

Charlotte Bobcats (1.7%)- Kyrie Irving
Unless the Bobcats are convinced Williams can replace Gerald Wallace at the three, Irving is the likely pick.  Charlotte has Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas at power forward and while they do have a young point guard in Augustin, Irving figures to be a better long term prospect and has the potential to be the face of the franchise for years to come.  I say take Irving and try trading Augustin for a small forward or true big man.  Having played at Duke, Irving’s connection to state of North Carolina is an added bonus for a team that needs to find a way to fill up their arena.

derrick williams nba draftMilwaukee Bucks (1.1%)- Derrick Williams
Even though the Bucks have a decent amount of depth in their frontcourt with Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette, Larry Sanders, and Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee already has a young point guard in Brandon Jennings who holds the reins to the team.  The Bucks take Williams and find a way to work him into their rotation and also providing Scott Skiles with some needed scoring off the bench.

Golden State Warriors (0.8%)- Derrick Williams
With Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis in the backcourt, Irving would be a waste of a pick unless of course Golden State is willing to deal Ellis.  Even then, Golden State would have an even more under-sized backcourt with Irving and Curry.  Williams comes in and competes for a starting frontcourt job alongside David Lee, and uses his athleticism to fit nicely into the Warriors up-tempo offensive attack.

Phoenix Suns (0.6%)- Derrick Williams
This is somewhat of a toss up.  Grant Hill is a free agent and Vince Carter will likely be cut loose this off-season as well, meaning the Suns have a whole at small forward.  They also could use an up-grade at the power forward making Williams a more immediate fit.  With that being said, Steve Nash is in the final year of his contract and Aaron Brooks is a restricted free agent.  So Irving could be brought in as the point guard of the future.

Houston Rockets (0.5%)- Kyrie Irving
The Rockets are another team that goes with who they feel is the better prospect for the down the road.  At the point, Houston has Kyle Lowry who is coming off a career year and locked up for the next three seasons.  Goran Dragic is the back-up but a restricted free agent so there would be room for Irving somewhere.  As for Williams, he need to play more of a small forward role in Houston since the Rockets have decent young depth at the four.








David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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