With a few trades and surprises the 2011 NBA Draft is in the books. Here’s short profiles of each player taken in the first round.
Pick 1: Kyrie Irving - Cleveland Cavaliers Not the true number 1 status of predecessors but is going to be a true point guard in the sense of a floor general. He isn’t overly athletic, but he certainly knows how to handle the rock. Had an injury plagued freshman year but the 11 games he played were off the charts in terms of shooting percentages. Pick 2: Derrick Williams - Minnesota Timberwolves Tweener Forward with plenty of upside. Not sure if he and Michael Beasley can fit in the one team so will be interesting to see what happens. Great value in rebounding and an efficient shooter with nearly 60% from both the floor and 3-point range. His all-around skill level was enough for him to be touted as a first overall pick before dropping to number 2. Pick 3: Enes Kanter - Utah Jazz The Turkish teenage was the best big man in the draft, and could have been a consensus number one pick had he not missed this year’s College season. Big body who just may have the attributes to become a dominant player in this league. Pick 4: Tristan Thompson - Cleveland Cavaliers [caption id="attachment_1226" align="alignright" width="269" caption="Texas Longhorn Tristan Thompson was a surprise pick up at no. 4 for Cleveland"][/caption] Surprising pick as Thompson expected to go later in the draft. Has great athleticism, a large wingspan and great knack of getting to the line, even though his shooting percentage from the charity stripe is Dwight Howard-like. Pick caused a few changes for the teams after him due going earlier than expected. Was first team freshman All-American with a thirst for offensive rebounding. He’s in the Taj Gibson mold and needs a lot of development but has a ton of upside. Pick 5: Jonas Valanciunas - Toronto Raptors Another international player that may not necessarily play next season due to contractual issues. Great hands with good work ethic. Needs to work on strength and frame to mix it with the big guys in the league. Of note is his huge 7’6” wingspan that could make him a monster on the defensive end at disrupting shots. Pick 6: Jan Vesely - Washington Wizards Great athleticism, young and raw with a lot of upside to his game. Reminds people of Andrei Kirilenko due to ability to run the floor and fill up the stat sheet. Pick 7: Bismack Biyombo - Sacramento Kings (to Charlotte) Strong 6’9” rebounder and shot blocker with a great personality. Anemic offensively but a lot of upside as he’s only young but has an NBA-ready physique. Said to be in the mold of Ben Wallace but if they can develop his offensive game, could become anything. Pick 8: Brandon Knight - Detroit Pistons Big-bodied point guard with a scorers mentality. Improved as season went on and has plenty of upside with his age. Was first- team freshman All-American and worked in the Kentucky program. His decision making is still a work in progress, but is a great value pick here for the Pistons. Pick 9: Kemba Walker - Charlotte Bobcats Great leadership skills for this point guard who is a proven scorer. Has speed and quickness on his side and name has been used in the same breath as Chris Paul. Should find a role on the Bobcats roster and look for him to develop into a leader on the floor. Pick 10: Jimmer Fredette - Milwaukee Bucks (to Sacramento) Get on the Jimmer train! He’s a scoring machine with a huge fan base already. Defensive queries will be abundant early in his career so he will need to overcome that, but will be a scoring machine for the Kings. Has a great basketball IQ and will be a fan favourite if he can become an effective scorer like he was at BYU. [caption id="attachment_1227" align="alignleft" width="238" caption="BYU's Jimmer Fredette, the nation's leading scorer, will be plying his trade in Sacramento next season."][/caption] Pick 11: Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors Stands at 6’6”, which is phenomenal size for a guard. Definite role player who will be able to fit into the roster straight away and look to score. Needs to work on strength and shot creativity, as he is not overly athletic. Pick 12: Alec Burks - Utah Jazz Love this pick. Burks will look to fill the lanes and be an open court threat. Another 6’6” guard that can add muscle to his frame and mix it up nicely in the NBA. Pick 13: Markeiff Morris - Phoenix Suns Solid acquisition with a blue collar work ethic, strong and will be very active on the boards. Very competitive and will provide hardness. Has excellent range, right out to the three-point line and will probably be a starter before the All-Star break of his rookie campaign. Pick 14: Marcus Morris - Houston Rockets The other Morris twin. Again will bring toughness to the floor with athleticism. Impressive numbers in his final season with Kansas averaging 17.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, also lead Kansas in at least one statistic every game. May never be a star, but will give consistent effort each and every night. Pick 15: Kawhi Leonard - Indiana Pacers (to San Antonio) Part of the trade for George Hill sees Kawhi head to the Spurs. Stands at 6’7” with nice large wingspan and good rebounder at the small forward position. Good athlete that, with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, could breathe new life into the aging Spurs. Pick 16: Nikola Vucevic - Philadelphia 76ers Good inside game, but limited range and not the quickest big man you’ll see. Hard to see him starting. Pick 17: Iman Shumpert - New York Knicks Was thinking about staying in the College system one more year but opted to remain in the draft. This guard is 6’5” and a great athlete. Needs to work on his jumper and ball handling but is a stellar on-ball defender - something that the Knicks desperately need. Pick 18: Chris Singleton – Washington Wizards [caption id="attachment_1228" align="alignright" width="249" caption="Twins Markieff (L) and Marcus Morris were drafted 13th and 14th in the Draft."][/caption] Great defender who runs the floor well. Will need to continue to work on ball handling and offensive skills. Of note Singleton had a triple double this season that included 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 steals. First triple double in ACC history to include steals, which bodes well for a Wizards team that needs a go-to defender. Pick 19: Tobias Harris - Charlotte Bobcats (to Milwaukee) Tennessee Freshman who has been moved onto the Bucks. His great work ethic coupled with good skills and versatility sees him have a lot of upside. Former Coach says he was first in the gym and last to leave, so he is a workhorse. Pick 20: Donatas Motiejunas - Minnesota Timberwolves (to Houston) Big European center who has some offensive weapons. Needs to improve on his rebounding. Is a lefty with long reach which mixed with his skills will make hard to defend. Has been moved on to the Rockets. Pick 21: Nolan Smith - Portland Trailblazers Hard working 6’2” player at the point who can swing to shooting guard. Took over the point at Duke when Kyrie Irving was injured. Named first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year. Will be an excellent backup to newly acquired point guard Raymond Felton. Pick 22: Kenneth Faried - Denver Nuggets Did mention in draft preview that Denver may be after a good defender and rebounder in case of free agency issues with Martin. Well, they have got a rebounding monster in Faried. Capable defender as well that needs to work on his mid-range. [caption id="attachment_1229" align="alignleft" width="241" caption="Chris Singleton will become the wing defender that the Washington Wizards desperately needed"][/caption] Pick 23: Nikola Mirotic - Houston Rockets (to Minnesota) Another European player with a large 7’1” wingspan. Looks to be a good shooter from the arc and if he can add some size to his frame could develop into a Dirk type player. Don’t we hear that all the time about European prospects? Pick 24: Reggie Jackson - Oklahoma City Thunder Surprise pick for the Thunder with a rumour floating around that he was on a promise. Has great speed and leaping ability. Yet to be determined if he is a point or shooting guard. Will probably split time between the two. Pick 25: Marshon Brooks - Boston Celtics (to New Jersey) Big and strong guard with Big East honours and finished 2nd in scoring. Needs to work out and get stronger but look to be a potential scorer for the Nets. Great insurance for if they can’t resign Deron Williams. Pick 26: Jordan Hamilton - Dallas Mavericks (to Denver) Forward from Texas who is a good rebounder and passer. Interesting note was his stats showing that he was usually at his best against the better ranked opponents. Plays big in big games. Pick 27: JaJuan Johnson - New Jersey Nets (to Boston) A great athlete who has been moved onto the Celtics who are desperate for size. 6’10” Forward with a 7’1” wingspan. Needs to bulk up his frame but his athleticism and All-American honours this year show he could be a player to watch. Working with superstar Kevin Garnett will be absolutely invaluable for Johnson. Pick 28: Norris Cole - Chicago Bulls (to Miami) Strong work ethic for this guard who also takes pride in defense. Had impressive overall stats for his college Cleveland State. Interesting note: Only 2 Div. 1 players in the last 15 years have had a 40 point 20 rebound game. From a guard, that is insane. Norris and the other player was Blake Griffin. Will definitely compete for the starting point guard spot from day one. Pick 29: Cory Joseph - San Antonio Spurs A Canadian who has plenty of upside. Lot to learn needs to improve free throw percentage but is a good shooter. More of a depth player than anything. Pick 30: Jimmy Butler - Chicago Bulls Variety of skills can guard a few position and will play shooting guard/small forward type role. Variety of defensive moves may be the key to his game.