2011 NBA Draft Results: Kyrie Irving and the Top 10 Best Player-Team Fits
The 2011 NBA Draft is composed of so many players with flaws and red flags, the teams that failed will be plentiful a few years from now.
A few NBA GMs were able to flex their muscle of aptitude Thursday, navigating their teams through tough waters to find players who will be able to come in and provide a positive impact for their respective teams.
Of the 30 first-round selections, only 10 stand out as truly beneficial to help their new teams soon.
Who are they? Let's dig in, and find out.
10. JaJuan Johnson, Boston Celtics
With the 27th pick, the Boston Celtics get a stretch-four to possibly groom behind Kevin Garnett.
Johnson can light it up from the perimeter for a power forward and will have a chance to extend that range to the NBA three-point line. He's not a fantastic rebounding prospect, and he needs to toughen up, but Johnson is being placed in a situation where he'll be surrounded by mentally tough players who will give him a chance to shore up the weakest part of his game.
Boston has done a fantastic job in recent years of nabbing starters in the 20's (stealing Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins from similar spots) and may have done it again with Johnson.
9. Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City is becoming an outright scary franchise for a long time to come.
Already one of the most athletic teams in the NBA, the Thunder added to that recipe with one of the more athletic players in the entire NBA Draft.
Jackson enters the NBA as a combo guard who will need to learn how to be a better point guard. You know the last player the Thunder drafted who fit that description?
Some guy named Russell Westbrook.
That said, Jackson is no Westbrook. Westbrook is an All-World athlete, while Jackson is simply one of the better athletes in a lackluster draft. He immediately gives OKC another long perimeter defender though, and another piece to a contending puzzle.
8. Chris Singleton, Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards brought in the top perimeter defender of the NBA Draft in Chris Singleton.
The Wizards still need some scoring options, as it's John Wall's penetration and a bunch of question marks at this point, but Singleton makes this team better immediately.
The guy can guard shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards, and that versatility will help the Wizards match up immediately.
Now, if they can only find some scoring options...
7. Marcus Morris, Houston Rockets
It's shocking to me that Marcus Morris was drafted after his twin brother, Markieff.
The 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year, Marcus slid to No. 14 because he's seen as a tweener. Undersized as a four, my guess is he's just quick enough to make it into the NBA as a small forward.
Should he be able to make that transition, Marcus will be a steal and a great fit for a Rockets team in need of scoring. Although he can shoot at a high enough clip from the perimeter, his greater strength is his ability to score inside, as he can finish with either hand or spin off either shoulder.
6. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Give it to the San Antonio Spurs for always finding ways to improve.
George Hill is a solid NBA player, but backs up Tony Parker. The Spurs capitalized and flipped Hill over to the Indiana Pacers for Leonard, who immediately gives this aging roster another standout athlete and rebounder.
Along with Gary Neal and DaJuan Blair, Leonard gives the Spurs another young athlete to put right into a rotation that battles to stay near the top of the Western Conference.
5. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets landed the best statistical rebounder in the history of college basketball with the No. 22 overall selection.
At that point in this NBA Draft, every player had some sort of major red flag associated with their game.
Faried doesn't offer an offensive presence or great size as a power forward.
Give me rebounding, defense and effort any day of the week though.
Faried will give that to you eight days a week and make you happy he's on your team. He'll stick in the NBA by simply outworking everyone else.
4. Jordan Hamilton, Denver Nuggets
Hamilton will be an elite second-unit scorer with the upside of a powerfully-built starting shooting guard.
Finding that kind of value at pick No. 26 is outstanding work for the Nuggets, who have put together a stellar draft so far coupling the shooting and scoring of Hamilton with the hustle and effort of Kenneth Faried.
3. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors need shooters to fill out their offensive system.
They landed arguably the top shooter of the entire NBA Draft in Klay Thompson at pick No. 11.
He'll fit in with the Warriors system immediately and also offers the size (6'7") to actually guard NBA shooting guards, something the team has struggled with in pairing Stephen Curry with Monta Ellis.
2. Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz
With No. 3 overall pick Enes Kanter and 2010's No. 4 overall pick Derrick Favors, the Utah Jazz have a foundation of an extremely talented up-and-coming frontcourt.
Kanter brings interior scoring and rebounding, and should cause havoc on the glass with the athleticism of Favors.
This team has toughness, and if given time to properly develop, they can really win some battles inside. Kanter is a perfect piece to complement this foundation.
1. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie Irving will not be the best player in the 2011 NBA Draft class.
However, Irving is a safe bet to wind up as a long-time starting point guard at the game's top level. He is the primary piece to start digging Cleveland out of the NBA gutter, and he will be a good, but not great, pro.
Irving is a great fit to supplant Baron Davis at some point next season, and he provides the leadership and intangibles necessary to get this team back on track. He's a great fit to be the quarterback of a team heading back to relevance, it just won't happen next year.