The NBA Draft: It is the night where a young man's college career ends—and his NBA journey begins. It is where dreams come to life, the realization that all those long hours spent shooting free throws after practice have paid off.
For the NBA Draft class of 2011, it is no different. All those players worked tirelessly, day after day, to achieve their goal of playing professional basketball in the NBA. And now that their goal has been achieved, it's time to set new ones.
One of the new goals that has to be on every rookie's list is to be an All-Star, one of the greatest honors that a player can receive. It is, in a sense, the world recognizing a player's superiority and skill in the game of basketball.
There is no doubt that at least one current rookie will receive this honor of being named an All-Star, so let's take a look at five of them. Here are five players who will be in the NBA All-Star game in two years.
Golden State Warriors' fans may not have much to cheer for right now, but Klay Thompson is an exception.
Drafted with the 11th pick in the NBA Draft, Thompson started the year playing off the bench, but due to the trade of Monta Ellis, he is now the regular starting shooting guard for the team.
He scored a career-high 31 points against the Sacramento Kings on March 24th, which is the second most points scored by a rookie this season. Thompson leads all rookies who have played significant minutes this season in three-point percentage (as you can see in the video) and free-throw percentage. He has scored in double figures in each of the last 15 games, averaging 17.9 points, 3.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds.
I have had the privilege of watching Thompson play every game, and I would dare compare him to Reggie Miller. This rookie has great potential, and definitely should be an All-Star in two years. But I have to admit: If Monta Ellis was not selected as an All-Star with the type of season he had, I have second thoughts about Thompson making the All-Star team.
Derrick Williams reminds me a lot of Blake Griffin, only a bit bigger and stronger. Those dunks in the video clearly explain why he was selected to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest this season.
He was selected second in the NBA Draft by the Timberwolves, and he combines with point guard Ricky Rubio to form a dynamic duo up in Minnesota.
It is puzzling that he only averages 21 minutes a game. In those 21 minutes, he scores about nine points, so if Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman would just play him more, Williams would be a double-digit scorer.
His explosiveness and endurance will make him a fan favorite in the NBA for years to come, making him a potential perennial NBA All-Star.
May I present to you MarShon Brooks, the 25th pick in the NBA Draft, starting shooting guard of the New Jersey Nets, and the next Kobe Bryant.
Yep, the next Kobe Bryant.
His style of play is so Kobe-like—fadeaway jumpers, attacking the basket—and his whole demeanor and style are exactly like Bryant. (He even looks like him.)
Brooks is averaging 12.8 points a game for the dismal Nets. Comparably, Kobe only averaged seven points a game in his first season.
Look for this rookie to light it up in the next few years, and participate in a good number of All-Star games.
Steve Nash, anyone?
Another member of the Minnesota Timberwolves makes the list. Ricky Rubio is a dynamic, all-around point guard who is impressive and fun to watch. He was actually drafted in 2009, but played overseas in Spain until coming over this season.
He is just a rookie, but he plays like a veteran. Setting up teammates with unbelievable passes, dazzling the crowd with amazing dribbling moves, and drilling clutch shots are all in a routine day of work for Rubio.
Unfortunately, Rubio tore his ACL recently, and will miss six to nine months. However, don't let that deter you from prematurely penciling in his name on the All-Star ballot in two years.
It doesn't entirely make up for the loss of their once-beloved King James, but it certainly helps. Hopefully, Kyrie Irving won't take his talents elsewhere, because this 6'3" point guard is already the face of the Cleveland Cavalier franchise.
Irving was drafted No. 1 overall in 2011, and for good reason. Although he played just eleven college games at Duke before declaring for the draft, the Cavaliers picked him anyway.
Kyrie is averaging 18.7 points a game, and is the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year. He is not as flashy as Rubio, but he gets the job done. He is shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range, and 87 percent from the foul line.
There is no need to compare Irving to anyone, because he is already a superstar. It is a mere formality that he will be an All-Star next year, and every single year until he retires.