Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at 10:00 am  |  17 responses

Mock Draft: Brandon Knight, No. 3

Deron who?

by Eldon Khorshidi / @eldonadam

Call me crazy, but I think the Utah Jazz are in a great situation.

When the Jazz traded away their whole franchise—namely Deron Williams—they were left with a lot more than they bargained for. In Williams’ trail lie chunks of gold that Jazz fans discovered over the last third of the season. Derrick Favors is full of talent, with gross athletic ability and a knack for getting rebounds. Gordon Hayward can already create his own shot with ease and has the drive to play in this league at a high level. Veteran Devin Harris, who has an NBA Finals under his belt, has gas in the tank for at least a few more seasons, and the front-court of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson can compete with any in the NBA.

If Kevin O’Connor makes the right moves in the June Draft, the Jazz can rebuild faster than a set of Jenga. But that’s a big if.

With two lottery picks and no glaring hole on its roster, Utah has several options with the third pick, including trading it to acquire veteran leadership or move back in the draft. I think the Jazz should take the best fit with the most talent. There are probably seven or eight intriguing prospects to consider, but after dissecting each candidate…

With the third pick in the 2011 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Utah Jazz select…

Brandon Knight from the University of Kentucky.

With Andrei Kirilenko likely to sign elsewhere, the Jazz are in need of a small forward. But with Derrick Williams unavailable, Kawhi Leonard, Jordan Hamilton, and Tobias Harris become the next best at the position and none are worthy of this pick. And one of them, if not all three, will almost certainly be available when Utah is on the clock at No. 12.

Kemba Walker will be considered here, but Walker is molded for more of a combo-guard offense (see Sacramento at No. 7) at the NBA level than a one-man show.

Enes Kanter is intriguing here, but I wouldn’t take him for three reasons. 1) The majority of the hype he’s garnered is basically a result of one showing—at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. 2) Kanter is a power forward, not a center, so playing alongside Derrick Favors and Paul Milsap could hinder his development. 3) Brandon Knight is the best fit with the most talent.

With Devin Harris still producing at a high level, the Jazz can start grooming the 18-year-old Knight for a full season without expectations or mounting pressure. Knight’s maturity and leadership are years ahead of age, as was evident throughout the college season. He, not Terrence Jones or John Calipari, led his team to the Final Four. With a 6-4 frame and long arms, the Jazz will value his defensive versatility, as he could slide in and play minutes at the two-guard. He is a better scorer than passer right now, but he’s not one of those guys who asks for the ball then phases his teammates out or automatically looks to shoot, like we’ve seen with Russell Westbrook this postseason. (By the way, I’m not a Westbrook hater. The kid is realness, just give him room to breathe).

Knight’s upside is higher than Walker’s, and some argue Knight may even turn out better than Kyrie Irving. He is a silent killer, saucing the competition at every level he’s played. He averaged 33 points per game his senior year of high school, then posted a relatively quiet 17, 4, and 4 in Lexington. His crafty arsenal of moves, endless motor, and tremendous upside make him the third pick.

2011 SLAMonline Mock Draft
Pick Team Player Pick Team Player
1 Cavs Kyrie Irving 16 76ers  
2 TWolves Derrick Williams 17 Knicks  
3 Jazz Brandon Knight 18 Wizards  
4 Cavs   19 Bobcats  
5 Raptors   20 TWolves  
6 Wizards   21 Blazers  
7 Kings   22 Nuggets  
8 Pistons   23 Rockets  
9 Bobcats   24 Thunder  
10 Bucks   25 Celtics  
11 Warriors   26 Mavs  
12 Jazz   27 Nets  
13 Suns   28 Bulls  
14 Rockets   29 Spurs  
15 Pacers   30 Bulls  
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  • http://kentuckyfirsttimehomebuyer.com joel

    I would love to have Bknight go to Jazz. Not sure Kemba is better right now though.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Yea, I would’ve made the same call. I’m more curious who the Cavs select at 4 though.

  • http://www.egay.com eGirl

    hes no Mario Chalmers

  • Jer dawg

    I, too, think Knight will be better than Irving because he’s a little more athletic and taller, I think. Combine measurement I saw but forget exact numbers. He only lacks the charisma that Irving has. Irving seems humble, friendly, and smiles a lot. Knight kind of goes about his and that’s it. I think charisma is only thing separating the two.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    this is a kid who desperately could use AT LEAST one more year of college….He’s a great kid, a good player…just not there yet. He’s not a PG, never has been…not in college not in HS. There is a lot he’s got to learn about running a team. What he is however a good athlete with a good stroke, and the NBA can always use another one of those guys- but his game just seems so immature to me, both skill wise and physically. Don’t think he’s big enough or skilled enough to see major minutes in the L anytime soon, so he should be prepared to get some D-League experience

  • JL

    Knight and Irving are the same height actually. Knight has some control issues but his potential just seems to fit better into an NBA game. Irvine kinda reminds me of Andre Miller, except he can dunk and has more range. I guess that’s not too bad at all! Either way this draft has been talked down so much I think most of the top picks will out perform current expectations.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    I sorely wish he woulda stayed another year, but I’m not even so sure it was completely his choice. With the way things are going at UK nowadays, Coach Cal was probably told him to enter the draft….Calipari is ruining college ball man

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    Kyrie reminds you of Andre Miller????? lmao….didn’t watch to much of him at Duke I’ll guess. Dude is a blur on the break, maybe an ounce or two below say John Wall. If anything I’d compare him and his handle to that of a young Chris Paul…not quite as seasoned a pure PG yet

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    i don’t get where so many people are saying Brandon is more athletic than Kyrie?….better leaper yeah, Kyrie (healthy) is probably quicker

  • dubs

    Your right, im sure coach cal told his best player to leave..smh What cal told knight was probably what he tells all of his likely lottery picks: If you want to help your family, then enter the draft. If you want to help my family, then stay. No one can argue that Knight leaving wasn’t the right choice. Cal doesn’t lie to his players. Since it’s a weak draft, and after the way Knight played in the tourney, his stock isnt getting better. You don’t get why so many people are saying Knight is more athletic than Irving? It’s because they are experts and you are not. Its their job to know such things.

  • Jorts the BWK

    @ The Black Rick Kamla – Um, nobody watched much of Kyrie at Duke.

    I agree, though, that Kyrie appears to be the more complete player right now and more comfortable running the point.
    However, Brandon has the height/wingspan you would like to have in your PG. He is a very confident and intelligent kid with a high basketball IQ and GREAT work ethic, so I like him to close the gap quickly.

    It is anyone’s guess who will end up being the better pro.

  • Jason

    Just as he does with all of his players, Calipari presented Knight with all the information he could, and he DID advise that Knight should go this year. Which is absolutely a great decision for Knight. He will go top 5 this year, which is incredible. One more year in college, especially with how tough the draft will be next year, would NOT make Knight go any higher. Also, UK has Marquis Teague coming in, who would have played the 1, and Knight would have been moved to the two. Great decision by Knight. Jazz should not pass him up.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Jason’s right.
    Sure-fire top 5 pick this year.
    Possible top 10 pick next year.
    It’s a no-brainer.

  • Wawayne Wade

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, i dont get what all the hype is about this kid. he IS good,will make a solid pro but then again im not a teams GM

  • http://dsjkflf.com Jukai

    I’d take Kanter only because I think he can play the five pretty seamlessly in this league with the shocking athleticism he showed at the combine. If he could only play the four, this is the smart choice.

  • http://dude Chukaz

    There’s no doubt this dude will be better than Irvin. Irvin’s the safe pick. He’s slightly taller, has like 3 inches on him on the wingspan department, and he’s a great athlete. Irvin’s got t-rex arms and he’s pretty slow and although the call him a pass 1st pg and compare him to cp3 he wasn’t much of a passer in college. 3 years from now this will be like the Howard vs Okafor. Okafor was the safe pick but orlando went with howard and they lost their star (t-mac) cuz of it, but in the end the safe picks was nothing spectacular. There was no way okafor was gonna be a bust but we all knew he was never gonna be a star and neither will irvin but knight might be

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