Nick Gilbert

Nick Gilbert, son of the Cleveland Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert, represented the Cavs as they landed both the first and fourth overall picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. (Getty Images)

Cue the conspiracy theories. Did David Stern rig the draft lottery so that the Cavaliers could rebuild after being forsaken by LeBron James? Some will undoubtedly say so now that they have both the first and fourth picks in this upcoming draft. The Raptors dropped from third to fifth in tonight’s lottery, which makes it that much more likely that Bryan Colangelo will put that pick on the trading block to see more immediate results. Here is the draft order for the top 14 picks.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
3. Utah Jazz
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Toronto Raptors
6. Washington Wizards
7. Sacramento Kings
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Charlotte Bobcats
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Golden State Warriors
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets

If Colangelo elects to use his pick, here are some brief profiles of the five players most likely to be available at the fifth overall pick. I plan to have more extensive profiles of these prospects as we get closer to Draft Night on June 23 and gather more information.

Enes Kanter, 6’10″, 260 lbs., C
I don’t know if it says more about this draft or about Kanter that a likely top-five pick hasn’t played in a competitive game since April 2010. In contrast to the stereotypical European big man, Kanter loves banging in the post and crashing the boards. His history of knee problems is a blatant red flag for a young big man, and I have to wonder if Colangelo is willing to invest in a prospect who might not be able to make a significant contribution over the next two seasons of Colangelo’s guaranteed contract.

Brandon Knight, 6’3″, 170 lbs., PG
Knight’s most impressive attribute might be that he has NBA point guard skills in a six-foot-three frame. Considering his size, shooting range, and the fact that he won’t turn 19 until December, it baffles me that anyone would consider Kemba Walker to be a better NBA prospect. There might not be a “safe pick” after Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, but Knight strikes me as the prospect most likely to translate well to the NBA at this part of the draft.

Bismack Biyombo, 6’9″, 240 lbs., PF/C
I don’t like to do NBA comparisons with prospects I’ve never seen play live, but the comparison to Serge Ibaka is too obvious to ignore. He’s athletic and aggressive, he has an NBA body, and he seems destined to be a top shot-blocker at this level. The main question with Biyombo is the possibility that he’s not really 18 years old.

Kemba Walker, 6’0″, 180 lbs., PG
Leading the Huskies to the NCAA national championship has obviously helped his stock, but I’m not convinced he’s even starting PG material in the NBA. He’s too small and he’s neither a great shooter nor a great playmaker. I’m not even convinced he has more upside than Jerryd Bayless.

Jan Vesely, 6’11″, 240 lbs., PF
He’s not your typical European white dude — he’s raw, aggressive and loves to dunk on his opponents. As with Kanter, I wonder if Colangelo wants to take a chance on a raw prospect like this when the Raptors have given Colangelo such a short leash with today’s extension.

Understandably, all Raptors fans were praying that the team would luck out and land a top-two pick, but it’s widely regarded that the talent level between the third pick and the eighth or so pick is about the same. This clearly isn’t a night for celebration in Toronto, but I don’t think a mass suicide is in order, either. Maybe this won’t be the worst draft class in the past decade. Yeah, and maybe Andrea Bargnani will be possessed by Ben Wallace’s soul before next season. FML.

Comments (26)

  1. Wow this is painful Scott. Could there be a positive for the raps in the sense that this year’s draft is very weak compared to other years?

  2. It’s hard to find a positive in a team getting a top-five pick in what appears to be a historically weak draft. But there appears to be little difference between the talent level in the third through eighth picks, so I suppose the Raptors have that going for them.

  3. That sucked.

    At least the GM that put together a 22-win team and the coach who was at the helm for the worst defensive team in the league are going to be back so we have that to look forward to.

  4. Totally agree on the lack of difference between picking 3 and 8, or so. It would have been nice to luck out with the first pick, but this isn’t that depressing. I do disagree on Knight though. He may turn into a good player but I wasn’t impressed at all with what I saw in Kentucky. I’d take Walker over him but I’m not convinced either is an upgrade over Bayless.

  5. I think they should consider Kawhi Leonard if he’s still available at the 5th spot. Versatile swing man with lots of upside.

  6. hopefully we get knight cause hes a better defender than kemba and land big in free agency and maybe trade barhagain for odom???

  7. …………….. ……………… ………………………………………………
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  8. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, etc. etc etc.
    So much, for the year-long tanking theology!?!
    Ha, HA, HA ,HA, HA,HA.
    And the dudes here go like: “I don’t feel to taste that grape. It’s so sour (and too high!!!).”
    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
    “Third or fifth it’s just the same!”
    HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, etc. etc. etc.

  9. So does Colangelo’s return equal Triano’s safety as head coach? Say it ain’t so…..

    As for the draft, trade the pick or take a flyer on a point guard or big guy. We didn’t miss out on the next Blake Griffin or Derrick Rose by not getting #1…. Like, I’m pretty sure that Cleveland could have the top 5 picks in this draft and they’d still suck next year.

  10. this draft is weak, and other than derrick williams, irving and kanter theres no sure bet on how any of these players will play. we should trade ed davis for a 2012-2013 pick, we could get value for trading ed davis and the 2012-2013 draft class is much deeper than this years…a player like terrence williams would be a nice wing player for raps.
    and we should take tristan thompson with the 5th overall for 2011-2012, taken by the hometeam 5th overall hell rise to the occasion for sure, hes shown that he doesnt fold under pressure with texas and im sure he can make a big big impact on toronto. these are the type of moves that would make raps a serious contender in the future. raps need to take tristan thompson with the 5th pick.
    Carmelo anthony playing for his hometown knicks, derrick rose playing for his hometowm bulls, why not tristan thompson playing for his hometown raptors

  11. Anybody here think that Kahn in Minnesota would go for a trade of Bargnani, Calderon, and this year’s 5th pick overall for Darko, Jonny Flynn, and their 1st round pick next year? (Yes, at this point, i would consider Darko for Bargnani to be very nearly a lateral move. What we lose in talent we gain back to some degree in not having wildly vacillating effort. Also, at this point Ed, Amir, and the option of resigning Reggie give us the option of having random warm bodies for 4th and 5th bigs, plus Kleiza can play some PF.)

    If there’s no clear choice for us at #5 this year, using it as a sweetener for a deal like this where we shed salary and gain future flexibility and gain what is likely two top picks in a better draft (especially if there’s a lockout this coming year) should be a viable option.

  12. The ‘FML’ made me laugh. Glad I wasn’t the only one thinking exactly that.

  13. Kawhi Leonard and Kenneth Faried and players with good numbers.

    Devin Dignam has done some work on this, check out nbeh.

  14. and players with good numbers = are players with good numbers.

  15. [...] the one to fall back a couple of spots.” – Bryan Colangelo on the 2011 NBA Draft LotteryAs Scott Carefoot wrote last night, the Raptors fell to the fifth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery. With a weaker draft [...]

  16. “Knight’s most impressive attribute might be that he has NBA point guard skills in a six-foot-three frame. ”

    Well, except for his ability to run an offense and pass the ball. Other than that….

  17. I AM starting to support BC buy i swear if he resigns Jay Triano am gonna forget about them plus with all the games on ts2 i only watched 13 games come on score you gotta save us from tsn and get some raptors games

  18. Jeez would have been nice to move up … I say go for Vesely and then spend some money for Andre Kirelenko … this could give Vesely a couple of years to learn from a vet and in Kirelenko we get a good defender to match up with Lebron, Pierce, Melo ect …

    Plus having two SF’s listed at 6′ 11″ would be interesting to watch

  19. Vesely looks like an interesting prospect at the 3. Like Leonard, he doesn’t appear to be a good shooter either so that’s not great unless DD can really extend his range. He should be able to defend and rebound with his length and athleticism but I’m not sure he’ll pan out there.

    Personally, my preferred big would be Biyombo for his shot-blocking and rebounding potential (excellent name also). If BC takes a PG, I’d prefer Walker over Knight. SF – probably Leonard over Vesely but tough to say.

  20. take brandon knight he has legit star potential

  21. plus the raps have nothin but bad history takin europeans

  22. CB4 NOT, why do the Raptors need someone to match up with LeBron, Pierce, Melo, etc? Are they going to contend anytime soon?

  23. Although the 5th pick might sound disappointing, BC’s probably relieved considering most “experts” are calling this a two-man draft since it removes a lot of burden from Colangelo’s shoulders..

    I’d really like to see Kawhi Leonard in a Raps uniform next season though, especially if he can play a Gerald Wallace-type role.

  24. No Tim W the Raps will not be contenders soon although, you need to start some where. Signing a very good defensive player to help stop some of the bleeding might be a good move for a young team.

    Just an idea.

  25. It’s not really a good idea if that guy is going to start declining just as the teams might start to contend, in the meantime, taking playing time away from young players who need it to develop.

  26. Losing with a purpose, huh? BC is full of sh*t.

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