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With the 9th pick in the 2011 TrueHoop Network Mock Draft…

The TrueHoop Network’s mock draft will be released on our individual sites during the rest of the day, tomorrow and Wednesday. Picks are predictions, not our preferences.

First eight picks:

  1. Cleveland – Kyrie Irving (Cavs: The Blog)
  2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams (A Wolf Among Wolves)
  3. Utah – Brandon Knight (Salt City Hoops)
  4. Cleveland – Jonas Valanciunas (Cavs: The Blog)
  5. Toronto – Kemba Walker (Raptors Republic)
  6. Washington – Enes Kanter (Truth About It.net)
  7. Sacramento – Kawhi Leonard (Cowbell Kingdom)
  8. Detroit – Bismack Biyombo (PistonPowered)

And now, with the 9th pick of the 2011 TrueHoop Network NBA Mock Draft, your Charlotte Bobcats select:

Marcus Morris of Kansas

Huzzah.  With Jan Vesely still available and viewed as a potential All-Star type talent (NBA Draft 2011:  Ranking prospects by tiers – Chad Ford – ESPN Insider), this was a difficult decision, but I went with the player perceived to be the safer pick. Between Adam Morrison, Sean May, Alexis Ajinca, and D.J. Augustin (yes, he’s decent – but no, he’s not a 7-feet tall starting center who currently plays in New Jersey), the Bobcats have a bit of a history of gambles in the first round not paying off. Considering how brief Charlotte’s overall history is, it makes those questionable decisions all the more painful and risk-deterring.

In the linked Chad Ford article above, Marcus Morris is considered by scouts and personnel guys from around the league as a solid lottery pick – but a tier below Vesely. So why take the potentially lower reward player? Because the Bobcats need rotation players and Alexis Ajinca is probably still quite fresh in the minds of the Bobcats front office when looking at long, lanky international players with a penchant for perimeter play.

Enough about the guy the Bobcats don’t theoretically take – back to the man they are mock drafting. Marcus Morris is a potential tweener at the 3/4 with good range on his jumper (showing an impressive 3-point stroke from NBA distance in workouts) who can rebound and attack the basket. In his junior year at Kansas, Marcus attempted slightly better than one free throw for every two field goal attempts, while also attempting two 3-pointers a game. A nice mixture of inside and out play, that would also appear to indicate someone who does not fall in love with the 3-pointer when he has the size to bang inside. Give his stats a once over at Kenpom (Kansas team stats at Kenpom.com – scroll down to the bottom) – Marcus puts up nationally ranked numbers in efficiency and usage, and on a Charlotte team that was still among the league’s worst offenses last year, that would be a useful skill set.