NBA Draft 2011: Winners and Losers
With the 2011 NBA Draft completed, teams will relax for the moment. Everyone, from the owners, coaches and players to the fans, are wondering if their team did the right thing.
Some teams drafted for immediate help, while others chose the big risk, big reward route. Some teams drafted for another team in hopes of working out a deal down the line or completing one that was agreed upon.
Micheal Jordan got the ball rolling on draft night by ridding his Charlotte Bobcats of talented but disgruntled SG Stephen Jackson in a three-way trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings.
The Bucks will get Jackson and PG Shaun Livingston, Sacramento's PG Beno Udrih and the 19th pick (Tobias Harris) from the Bobcats. Charlotte picks up the No. 7 pick from Sacramento (Bismack Biyombo) and SG/SF Corey Maggette from Milwaukee. The Kings acquired SG/SF John Salmons from Milwaukee and the 10th pick (Jimmer Fredette).
That was just the beginning, as what was called an average draft became an exciting night of picks, trades and even twins getting selected in back to back picks. Let's take a look at the big winners, those who added some solid pieces, those who reached a bit and teams who left us scratching our heads with their choices.
Washington Wizards: John Wall must be a happy camper, as the modern version of the Jail Blazers (Portland's old band of knuckleheads) has pretty much been dismantled and infused with some intriguing pieces.
In Jan Vesely, the Wiz get an elite athlete who can really get up and down the hardwood. Wall will enjoy Vesely in the open court, where his knack for throwing it down will be displayed. Vesely will have great dunk contest battles in practice with Javale McGee.
Chris Singleton will provide great energy and athleticism on defense, as well as toughness and the ability to defend three positions in the NBA.
Shelvin Mack, another first-round talent, will provide Wall and the Wizards with a solid backup at guard. Mack is strong, and a sweet shooter who has some serious bounce.
Utah Jazz: The Jazz picked up two players with questions about their games but great upside. Enes Kanter is a big strong center who can rebound and has a good touch out to 20 feet. With no game experience over the last two years, he is a mystery to many.
Alec Burks is said to be the top shooting guard this year, and yet he lacks an NBA-quality jump shot. What he does bring to the table is great athleticism, a strong handle and solid penetrating ability. When his shot comes together...watch out.
Charlotte Bobcats: Jordan knows toughness prevails in the playoffs, and the draft additions of Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker are right on point in that regard. Biyombo, who is so strong already, will provide toughness, shot blocking and high-octane energy. Kemba is a proven winner and is an upgrade over D.J. Augustin as a scorer.
Golden State: Coach Mark Jackson is smiling as he picks up a highly talented 6'7" shooting guard in Klay Thompson, a backup point guard in Charles Jenkins and a young big man prospect in Jeremy Tyler.
In Thompson, you have a kid with great basketball pedigree who can create off the dribble and truly understands the game. He scored over 20 points a game for a college team that didn't even push the ball.
Jenkins is a very strong power guard who can play the point and score if needed.
Tyler is still growing, but he already has a big body at 6'11" and 265 pounds. He has great upside and athleticism but is very raw.
Teams Who Added Some Solid Pieces
Sacramento Kings: The Kings made the move the Maloofs wanted and acquired a guard with range and toughness. Jimmer will surprise many with his offensive ability in the league.
In Tyler Honeycutt, the team is getting a multifaceted player with strong skills to match his athletic ability. His game should really grow in the NBA because he defends and passes so well.
Isaiah Thomas' game didn't warrant his drop to to the last pick of draft. He is a solid, true point guard who can shoot, score and leap, and he plays with great heart. Salmons will give the team a solid combo guard/forward with a proven NBA game.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs took the most coveted guard, and best playmaker in the draft, in Irving. Will the team give him the keys to the car on day one and push Baron Davis to shooting guard? Irving is a born leader and a classy individual whose upside will be determined by how much the team plays him.
Some say Tristan Thompson is a reach at pick No. 4, but his knack for scoring in the post, shot-blocking and offensive rebounding will diffuse those thoughts in due time.
Milan Macvan is a pretty skilled, strong bruiser who might stay overseas for more seasoning.
New Jersey Nets: The Nets were in dire need of a shooting guard, and just might have picked the best one in the draft in Marshon Brooks. The 6'5" Brooks can really put it in the basket. He has a solid skill set that fans will enjoy when he gets into his new stadium in Brooklyn.
In Jordan Williams, they pick up a solid rebounder and tough kid in the 6'9", 250-pound center who will have to play power forward in the NBA as well.
Bojan Bogdanovic is a shooter who could pan out to be an Andres Nocioni type of player after some growth.
Could Be Solid Pieces or Ones That Struggle
Boston Celtics: After falling quickly to the Heat, Doc Rivers knows that this Celtic group needs an infusion of youth to keep up with the Joneses.
Enter college teammates JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, both four-year players from Purdue. Johnson was acquired in a trade with New Jersey, and, like new teammate Kevin Garnett, is a stud athlete who should learn plenty from KG and hopefully gain the toughness he needs in his game to be a force in the NBA.
In E'Twaun Moore, you have a gifted shooter who can do many things well. He also has great length and can handle the ball if needed, giving the Celts some depth at guard.
Minnesota Timberwolves: They tried hard to convince teams to give up a major star for the second pick, but to no avail. You have to wonder why, but they still came away with scoring stud Derrick Williams.
Williams could turn out to be the star of this draft if his talents bode well at the next level. One of the most efficient players coming out of college, Williams will bring his toughness to the T-Wolves, and if he plays the small forward position well, the tandem of Williams and Kevin Love will be formidable for years to come.
In Malcolm Lee, they pick up a great 6'6" perimeter defender who can play both guard positions and defend them as well.
Targuy Ngombo is a project who needs more time to develop overseas.
Denver Nuggets: Along with acquiring Andre Miller, the Nuggets picked up two young forwards in Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton. With Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin probably leaving for other teams, these two rookies have a chance to impact their new team.
Faried, another extension of the Carmelo Anthony trade, is a beast on the boards in the mold of Dennis Rodman or Charles Barkley. His motor and toughness are matched by few, but in the NBA, everyone can play, so he won't be a man amongst boys like he was in college. He needs to find some kind of offensive game to make teams respect him on that end of the floor.
Hamilton is a big SG/SF type who can really stroke the ball but needs to get in better shape. If Chandler returns, he might find himself watching behind Gallinari and Chandler.
Losers: What Were You Thinking?
Chicago Bulls: With D-Rose logging so many minutes and playing so hard every night, you would think the Bulls would look for point guard depth. Instead, they drafted a 6'10" shooter in Nikola Mirotic and SF Jimmy Butler.
Point guards Reggie Jackson, Norris Cole, Corey Joseph and Shelvin Mack would have been quite formidable, but I guess the Bulls know something we don't know. Maybe they plan on addressing PG needs through free agency or via a trade.
Mirotic will probably stay oversees for a year or two, and Butler is a defensive-oriented player who will have to work real hard for minutes.
Detroit Pistons: With a logjam of guards and small forwards in Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Will Bynum, Richard Hamilton, Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince, you have to have scratched your head as the Pistons picked Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler.
They are both extremely solid players, but unless there are trades in the near future, I'm not convinced this was the right thing to do. They could have traded down and still gotten value and some size to help Detroit's lack of toughness inside.
Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers chose to draft by need rather than talent in their selection of 7' Nikola Vucevic. With so much talent available, they must have decided to take the biggest player around. Vucevic has a decent game, but might end up buried on the bench behind Spencer Hawes and Marreese Speights.
In Lavoy Allen, you have a player who didn't produce great numbers over his four-year career at Temple and has a questionable motor.
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