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Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Mock draft, espnW style

By Patricia Lee

With the college basketball season long gone, the NBA Finals just completed and the next NFL and college football season seemingly eons away, we needed something to quench our thirst for fantasy teams and bracket challenges. And what better timing than now for Thursday's NBA draft? The clock might not be ticking, but our decisions were made with just as much thought as those made by men and women in suits.

Here's who we pick in our espnW 2011 NBA Mock Draft:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, point guard, Duke
Pending medical clearance, the Cavaliers will take Irving, scathed toe and all, as the team is looking for a young, talented, charismatic player to rally around.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, power forward, Arizona
Williams is sure to add a fierce bite to the Timberwolves' frontcourt with his versatility and good handle, something they've been missing for a while.

3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, point guard, Kentucky
Touted for his maturity, size and shooting ability, Knight should jazz things up for a Utah team that traded away Deron Williams earlier this season.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, center, Turkey
The Cavs are looking for height and a stronger frontcourt presence with immediate results. And they "kant" go wrong with the 6-foot-11 low-post player whose size and aggressiveness make him an international commodity.

5. Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard, small forward, San Diego State
With Dwane Casey taking the helms of the Raptors, Toronto will most likely look to strengthen its defense, and Leonard's great rebounding makes him a high candidate.

6. Washington Wizards: Jan Vesely, small forward, Czech Republic
Big man? Check! Athleticism? Check! Good motor skills? Check! It doesn't take Wizardry to know that picking this Czech is the right thing to do.

7. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker, point guard, Connecticut
This UConn leader doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk, leading his team to a conference and national championship. For a Kings team hoping to draw more fans, there's no better choice than Walker, who's a confident winner and a tough, clutch player with defensive quickness and charisma.

8. Detroit Pistons: Jonas Valanciunas, center, Lithuania
With a name with almost as many letters as his age, this Lithuanian could pan out to be the best pick in this year's draft class. The Pistons are snagging a great deal taking Valanciunas at 8, and if he's forced to miss this season because of international buyout rules, they get him a year later -- more developed and still boasting outstanding athleticism and inside shooting.

9. Charlotte Bobcats: Marcus Morris, power forward, Kansas
Michael Jordan has never had a good drafting track record as an executive. He's hoping to change that by going with a safer, low-risk pick. With their ninth and 19th pick, the Bobcats are looking to draft the Morris twins, with Marcus going first as a versatile player that adds rebounding and toughness to a roster that lacks it.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Klay Thompson, shooting guard, Washington State
The Bucks shoot ... and they score! If they pick Thompson, that is. This sleeper enters as one of the best shooters in the game and possesses a high basketball IQ, something Milwaukee definitely lacks.