NBA Draft 2011: 10 Teams That Need to Redeem Themselves from Past Mistakes
There is a reason why some teams are repeatedly searching for that center or point guard to fill the void in their lineup. Whether it be injury, bad planning or just plain bad luck these 10 teams will try to cure ills from past draft mistakes that have been made.
The old saying goes that you cannot move backward, but rather you can only move forward. These teams will be moving forward next month as they try find the right player to fix that one lingering position.
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Minnesota had the best odds out of anyone in the NBA draft lottery to land the top overall pick in the upcoming 2011 NBA draft. The Timberwolves record of 17-65 was the league’s worst mark, barely beating out the Cleveland Cavaliers final tally of 19-63.
With that being said, Minnesota has now fallen behind Cleveland in the draft pecking order. The Cavaliers will pick first in next month’s draft while the Timberwolves will have the second selection.
The consensus thinking was that the Timberwolves would choose Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and finally get the franchise floor general they have been searching for.
This franchise has tried before to land their point guard of the future, most recently in 2009.
In the 2009 NBA draft, Minnesota chose point guards with back-to-back selections in the top 10. The Timberwolves chose Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio with pick five and Syracuse product Jonny Flynn with their sixth pick. Neither player has become the franchise floor general the team was hoping for though.
Flynn averaged just 5.3 points and 3.4 assists per game last season. Rubio meanwhile is still honing his skills in Europe and has yet to play for Minnesota in the states.
Minnesota has tried various times to find a point guard that they can build their struggling franchise around. It is now uncertain as to what Minnesota’s move will be at pick two in next month’s draft. The franchise was hoping to have this issued resolved by now, but the search goes on.
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Milwaukee needs to emerge from this 2011 NBA draft with a small forward that they can move into the future with.
I am far from sold on Carlos Delfino. Corey Maggette meanwhile is a solid player, but he is not the long term solution at the position either.
Milwaukee made a huge investment in this position three years ago when they selected West Virginia’s Joe Alexander with the eighth pick in the 2008 draft. Alexander has not panned out for the franchise though. He averaged 4.7 points per game as a rookie with Milwaukee in 2008, but that would be the only season that Alexander would play with the Bucks. He spent last season in the developmental league playing on the Texas Legends.
The Bucks have the 10th overall selection in next month’s draft. There should be plenty of talent available for them to select the swingman that they so desperately need. Milwaukee missed once, and it will be up to the franchise not to whiff again.
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Golden State’s best player is power forward David Lee, but besides that, the Warriors frontcourt depth is lacking as a whole.
The Warriors have used first-round selections on big men such as Andris Biedrins, Patrick O’Bryant and Epke Udoh. None of the aforementioned prospects has emerged as a true compliment to David Lee in the post. Although to be fair, Udoh only just completed his rookie campaign.
Many mock drafts have the Warriors once again selecting a big man in the first round of the upcoming draft. Marcus Morris’s name is being bounced around a lot at pick 11 for the Warriors.
Golden State has a great young backcourt in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. Frontcourt is the franchise’s far more pressing need in comparison to the backcourt, but Golden State needs to finally find their complement to the aforementioned David Lee this time.
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Utah is looking for another talent to place with star Al Jefferson at the center position. The Jazz are solid at power forward with young prospect Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap. The center spot is lighter though, and the franchise needs a prospect to help carry Jefferson’s load.
You might remember that in 2008, Utah drafted Ohio State center Kosta Koufos. Koufos’s time with the Jazz was short lived though, and the former Buckeye only has career averages of 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.
At pick three, every big man on the board should be available to Utah. This draft is loaded with top notch foreign prospects, and Utah will be eyeing each one heavily at their spot in the top 10. The Jazz just need to make sure they select the right big man this time with their lofty selection.
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Portland cannot be faulted too much for their initial judgment in selecting Ohio State center Greg Oden with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but in hindsight, this now looks like a giant mistake.
Oden has only played in 82 games throughout his four-year NBA career. For those that are unaware, that is the full length of one NBA season. The big man’s knee problems have slowed his NBA progress, and unfortunately injury has become the defining attribute of Oden’s career.
Marcus Camby has performed admirably in Oden’s absence, but Camby is 37 years old and only has a few more seasons left in him.
Greg Oden will be a restricted free agent this summer, so ultimately it will be up to Portland regarding what direction they want to go with Oden.
At pick 21, there should be some promising big men for the Trailblazers to choose from. Portland needs a long term solution at center because Greg Oden cannot be depended on as an everyday type of player.
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The Bobcats only averaged 93.3 points per game last season which ranked 29th in the league.
Stephen Jackson provided good scoring on the wing averaging 18.5 points per game. Jackson is more of a pure shooting guard though. The Bobcats need a natural small forward who has a scorer’s mentality and can allow Jackson to move back to his natural position.
You may have remembered that Charlotte thought they were getting this type of prospect back in 2006 when they drafted Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison. Morrison never lived up to the hype that surrounded him coming out of college though. He played OK as a rookie averaging 11.8 points per game, but since then, Adam’s production has severely fizzled out.
Charlotte was hoping that Adam Morrison would be a strong scoring presence on the wing for years to come, but those hopes never materialized for the Bobcats. Charlotte will now use their first-round pick to find a player who can give them consistent production at the small forward position. San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard is a name that is being tossed around a lot for Charlotte at pick nine.
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Jamal Crawford will be an unrestricted free agent for Atlanta this coming offseason. This will leave the Hawks dangerously thin in the backcourt. Kirk Hinrich also needs help at the point guard position, backup Jeff Teague did not contribute much last season.
The Hawks will use their lone second-round draft selection to address their backcourt. At first glance, it may be distressing that the Hawks are drafting in the mid-second round. It could not go any worse than it did in 2007 though.
The franchise selected Acie Law IV out of Texas A&M with the 11th overall pick in the 2007 draft. Law played with the Hawks for two seasons contributing very little for the franchise.Law recently played for Memphis where averaged 8.5 minutes per game and played in just 11 games. He is now a member of the Golden State Warriors.
Acie Law was one of my favorite players in college during his time at Texas A&M. I do not want to be too hard on him, but this is one selection that Atlanta would love to put behind them. Hopefully the Hawks can find better value in the back of draft next month than they did at the front of the draft in ’07.
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Cleveland has a huge draft coming up. The Cavaliers have the number one overall pick in the draft as well as the fourth pick. Cleveland had the second worst record in the league last season, and they need help all across the board.
It may seem simple enough to find quality so high in the draft, but sometimes it is not that easy. DeSagana Diop was the play with the eighth pick in the 2001 draft and Oregon’s Luke Jackson was taken with the 10th pick in the 2004 draft. Needless to say that Jackson and Diop never became huge contributors for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland cannot afford to miss on their two top-five picks as they did with the selections of the aforementioned Diop and Jackson.
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Excluding center Brook Lopez, New Jersey has not had the Midas touch when it has come to drafting first-round talent.
New Jersey’s recent selections over the past five years include Josh Boone, Marcus Williams, Sean Williams, Ryan Anderson and Terrence Williams. Not every one of those players is a bust, but none have become huge contributors for the Nets either.
New Jersey’s best move came when they acquired point guard Deron Williams via a trade. The Nets are selecting at the back of the first round at pick 27, but nonetheless, there should still be an ample amount of value on the board.
None of those aforementioned selections will make an all-time greatest busts list, but they will not be remembered as franchise defining selections either.
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Detroit is in a similar situation as New Jersey in that none of their recent selections have truly become major contributors. D.J. White and Aaron Afflalo standout in particular as two selections that have not held up for the Pistons. To be fair, Greg Monroe did show promise last season as a rookie with the club.
The Pistons will be selecting at pick eight in next month’s draft. The Pistons franchise has fallen on hard times, and it will be on Joe Dumars and company to get the Palace rocking again.
Let us not forget that this is the franchise that took Darko Milicic with the second pick in the 2003 NBA draft.
Detroit only went 30-52 last season, and if the Pistons hope to once again be legitimate contenders, they are going to have to find great young talent via the draft.