The NBA Finals have finished, but fans have yet another exciting event to behold: the 2011 NBA Draft.
This is the moment where college players’ dreams are fulfilled, and it is the beginning of an attempt at a legendary career for some. While only two or three of the players in this draft will likely ever make an NBA All-Star game, there is much more at hand than just drafting players.
As an insider of the game I can tell you now: there will be one or two impactful trades in this NBA Draft. Maybe a Monta Ellis or Andre Iguodala? How about that one guy…Dwight Howard? You can always follow me on twitter for the latest on trade rumors.
So who will go in the lottery? I think I might have the answer guys.
(No.1 pick) Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie Irving/Guard/Freshman (Duke)
Duke’s Kyrie Irving is probably the perfect pick for this Cavaliers team, a full year after losing LeBron James sent the franchise spiraling completely downwards in the NBA’s standings and cost them ticket sales, jersey sales, and everything else a once-in-a-lifetime player will bring you.
But what Irving can bring to Cleveland is a true set of PG skills, a leadership swag that not too many possess in this draft, and the talent to be a cornerstone to build on for the franchise. After all, if you’re going to start from scratch why not start with the most important position?
(No.2 pick) Minnesota Timberwolves
Derrick Williams/Forward/Sophomore/ (Arizona)
Strength, power, and athleticism all come to mind when I think of Williams. Most, like myself, did not notice how good of a basketball player Derrick Williams was until the NCAA Tournament, and luckily he was able to showcase his talent and versatility. He is quick to tell people that he can play small forward in the NBA rather than power forward, but that is yet to be seen.
The Timberwolves are clearly showing signs that they are ready to deliver when it comes down to building a roster. Kevin Love is coming into his own, Ricky Rubio is on his way, and the addition of Derrick Williams would give Minnesota some raw talent, athleticism, and explosiveness that they’ve needed for quite some time.
(No.3 pick) Utah Jazz
Brandon Knight/Guard/Freshman (Kentucky)
The Utah Jazz now are without Carlos Boozer, Jerry Sloan, and most importantly Deron Williams. Clearly the mood in Utah has changed from potential championship contender to rebuilding mode. They did a great job of bringing in Derrick Favors and Devin Harris, but Utah needs more of a scoring threat.
This is where Brandon Knight comes in. Kentucky, moreso John Calipari, does it again as another guard is now being sent into the lottery. Knight can bring a team a pure scoring threat. He is explosive at getting to the rim and has a nice 6’3 frame to go along with it. He is also creative at making his own shot, and he should poise issues for less athletic guards in the league.
(No.4 pick) Cleveland Cavaliers
Enes Kanter/Center/Freshman (Kentucky)
This is where the Cavs got extremely lucky. Not only will they land the most talented playmaker in the draft, but they will also land the draft’s best big man. Call me crazy, but the Cavs might want to thank LeBron for leaving simply because they will now have two key cogs for a solid franchise: an excellent point guard, and a dominate center.
Enes Kanter is a great talent overall. He has great rebounding skills on both ends of the court, and he also has soft hands, something most NBA centers lack. Another advantage Kanter holds is his ability at the free-throw line, which is very good for his position. It also helps that the kid is coachable and works hard. Way to go Cavs!
(No.5 pick) Toronto Raptors
Jonas Valanciunas/Center/International (Lithuania)
There goes Eastern Europe yet again giving the NBA another solid center with promise. They’ve been known for Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Zaza Pachulia, and are continuing the trend with Jonas.
Valanciunas is a great rebounder and has an amazing wingspan. He is surprisingly good at moving up and down the court at 6’11, and is very good with his feet. Most would think that a European rookie is ‘soft’, but let me correct them now: Valanciunas is nowhere near soft. His aggression has impressed many scouts and will make him even more valuable up in Toronto.
(No.6 pick) Washington Wizards
Jan Vesely/Small Forward or Power Forward/International (Czech Republic)
The Wizards had last year’s top pick in John Wall, and hats off to them for that. They received an athletic, distributive point guard, and are clearly trying to build around him.
With the sixth overall pick the Wizards will decide to go for one of the draft’s most versatile players, if not the most versatile player, Jan Vesely. At 6’11 and 230 lbs, Vesely can present problems to a defense in numerous ways. His length can be nightmares for undersized defenders on the post, and his quickness and explosiveness to the rim can be troublesome for taller, less athletic defenders.
(No.7 pick) Sacramento Kings
Kawhi Leonard/Small Forward/Sophomore (San Diego St.)
The Kings have not shown as much progression with Tyreke Evans as we’d hoped, and Demarcus Cousins continues with his attitude issues, but that won’t slow down the Kings’ agenda of building a successful franchise.
With their pick, they are assumed to take Kawhi Leonard, another very versatile forward in this draft. He has great length, is always active, and plays very well out on the perimeter. He covers a lot of space on both ends of the court, and when he attempts to take it to the rack, it’s usually with reckless abandon; this could be a positive or a negative. If the Kings can bring out the best in Evans and Leonard, Sacramento will have a strong back-court in the coming years.
(N0.8 pick) Detroit Pistons
Kemba Walker/Point Guard/Junior (University of Connecticut)
In my opinion Kemba Walker is the most ‘championship road’ ready player in this draft. By that I mean that Kemba Walker probably has the most endurance, heart, and fight in him to help or even will a team far in the post-season. What he did in his last year with UCONN was incredible, and most athletes do not posses the heart to fight like Walker did.
The Pistons have been nothing short of a disaster in the past couple of seasons. With John Keuster having been ‘hated’ by most of his players, and questionable moves by the front office, Detroit needs something positive out of this draft; that is where Kemba comes in. With his positive outlook on the game, athleticism, and improving jump-shot, he should be a solid overall player at the next level. Let’s just hope Detroit won’t mess him up.
(No.9 pick) Charlotte Bobcats
Tristan Thompson/Power Forward/Freshman (Texas)
With Michael Jordan now controlling the Bobcats, you can expect some decent improvements within the organization. They have a solid young core of DJ Augustin, Tyrus Thomas, and Gerald Henderson.
With the ninth pick, expect the Bobcats to take power forward Tristan Thompson. He came in with many questioning him physically. Well he seemed to put those critics to rest as he’s shed baby-fat, added some definition, and has gained some speed. Thompson is a great athlete, and will give many defenders trouble on the block simply due to the fact that he is left-handed. With a little polishing up, Thompson has the opportunity to become a very good power forward in this league.
(N0.10 pick) Milwaukee Bucks
Alec Burks/ Point Guard or Shooting Guard/Sophomore (Colorado)
The Milwaukee Bucks are as middle-of-the-road as you can get, and it’s not like they’re a poor team either. With young players like Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, and Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee still has solid pieces to work around.
Drafting Alec Burks should help this team out a lot. With older wing players like Corey Maggette and Michael Redd, it’s clear that the Bucks need some youth on the wing. Burks brings youth, athleticism, and a great 6’10 wingspan. He is also great at finishing at the rim with either hand, and should help open Milwaukee’s shooters over time.
Thanks for reading guys, and once again be sure to follow me on twitter!
- Kyrie Irving: NYDailyNews
- Brandon Knight: USAToday
- Jonas Valanciunas: EuroHopes
- Kawhi Leonard: Ball4Ball
- Tristan Thompson: IndiaTimes