The 2011 NBA draft was a bevy of expectations met and surprises issued, and as for drafts in general, that’s about par for the course. Mock drafts and even the most sophisticated statistical analyses can never account for the minds of men; the quirks of GM’s and the latitudes of self-aggrandized owners. And that’s not even addressing the secrecy and deception employed by teams all around the league, in the hope that they may mislead opponents and snag a sleeper late in the draft.
Still though, when experts convene, or at least one of them takes the time to document the insights of his fellows, the consensus is usually fairly near the reality. This year that was as true as ever. The only truly unforeseeable acquisitions were the products of the three-team trade negotiations.
Whether they should have been foreseeable or not, there were a number of surprises in this year’s draft. Here’s a look at the biggest ones. These aren’t merely picks—they’re the biggest surprises of draft day—and some of them are pretty exciting.