It is pretty much etched in stone that the Cleveland Cavaliers will select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. There has been much speculation however since Tuesday night when the NBA Draft Lottery took place what direction the Cavaliers will take with the fourth pick in the first round which they also own. Saturday the “Cleveland Plain Dealer” reported that the team that finished the regular season with the second worst record in the Association may look to Europe to acquire a big man.
The most prominently mentioned player is Turkish center Enes Kantner who started playing as a pro in his native country when he was just 16. Kantner enrolled last fall at the University of Kentucky but the NCAA ruled him ineligible to play because of his pro experience in Turkey. Kantner is 19 years old and stands 6’11” and weighs in at about 259 pounds. Unlike many European players Kantner has the reputation of being a hard-nosed physical presence in the paint. He may be a strong partner for power forward J.J. Hickson in the Cavaliers front court. Kantner could be off the board by the fourth pick as the Utah Jazz are also stated to have interest in the big man.
Other names mentioned in the report include Lithuanian power forward Donatas Motiejunas, his fellow countryman center Jonas Valanciunas and Jan Vesely a power forward from the Czech Republic. The article also lists San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard who is looked at by many as the second best player at his position in upcoming draft. Arizona Wildcats forward Derrick Williams is the consensus choice as the best small forward coming out in this year’s draft and is expected to be chosen second on June 23.