2011 NBA Draft Results: Jimmer Fredette and 10 Other First-Round Winners
In sports, there is winning and there is losing.
Usually, it is easy to decide a winner; whoever scores the most points wins.
But with the NBA draft, it is less clear. Let's say, hypothetically, that the Cleveland Cavaliers have the fourth pick in the draft and they draft (RE: reach for) a player projected to go 10th.
Again, this is only hypothetical. In that situation, are the Cavaliers losers, or is that draft pick a winner?
These are the types of questions I had to answer when I was sorting through the first round of the 2011 NBA draft. There was a lot of movement and a lot of surprises. Needless to say, there were many winners in last night's draft. Both players and teams.
Let's get on to the list!
**To make it easier to follow, I will go through the draft starting from pick one**
I don't want to take anything away from the big man from Texas, but he is not a fourth overall pick. He should be ecstatic at where he ended up (and I don't mean Cleveland, I mean the fourth pick), because he very easily could have fallen to the eighth or ninth pick.
Thompson is a hard worker and a very athletic big man. But he is going to work even harder now to prove the Cavaliers right for taking him so high. He could be the next Tyrus Thomas or he could be the next JaVale McGee.
Either way, last night, he was a winner.
Toronto Raptors Fans
Yes, it has gotten to this point with Raptors fans. They are excited that Toronto drafted a player who won't be in the NBA next season (Jonas Valanciunas).
Why? Because they were so sure that Bryan Colangelo was going to screw up another draft pick and take Andrea Bargnani clone, Jan Vesely.
Despite the year off for Jonas, it's a great pick for Toronto and its fans. They weren't going to compete this year anyway, and Valanciunas has a chance to be very, very good. Some experts believe he is better than Enes Kanter.
Toronto fans: winning!
Can you say, "Yipee!"
Well, even if you can't, John Wall definitely can. He's been saying it all night.
Wall got two more toys to try out this year with super athletic wingmen Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton.
The possibilities are endless.
Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and the Charlotte Bobcats
Michael Jordan is a bad drafter?
No more, my friends. Jordan had his best draft as owner of the Bobcats, not only by adding Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, but by getting rid of headcase Stephen Jackson. Finally, this team is moving in the right direction.
As for the two guys who were drafted:
Bismack Biyombo, or as I like to call him, "Dikembe Mutombo Lite," must be on cloud nine. Or whatever they call it in the Congo. He was getting crushed by mock drafts for the last month, but a few nice workouts this past week and all of the sudden he is your No. 7 pick.
Crazy how this works.
Kemba Walker. I'm just so happy for the guy. He had one of the greatest runs in NCAA history last season with UConn, but for some reason, the media decided not to give him any credit for that insane run. Instead, they said he was "too small."
Well, folks, I'll let Kemba respond: "I may not be 6'3" or 6'4", but I've got a big heart."
You tell 'em, Kemba!
Jimmer Fredette and the Maloof Brothers' Wallets
Don't pay any attention to that picture. Jimmer is a Sacramento King. He is a winner for two reasons:
1. He got picked right after Kemba Walker.
With all of the drama between the two PGs being sought after by the same teams, it's a miracle that they got chosen one after another. One had to assume that once Kemba was picked, Jimmer would fall into the teens.
2. The No. 10 pick! Are you kidding me?
Fredette must love the fact that he is basically a national hero now, because that is the only reason he was the 10th pick. He has the talent to be a top-15 pick, but No. 10 is a reach, in my opinion. He has shown no ability to play defense in any capacity so far.
We will see.
Speaking of Jimmer being a national hero, the Maloofs can thank him in advance for all of the ticket sales and jersey sales. He is the most marketable player in the draft by far. The Maloofs need money badly.
This may have been a financial decision just as much as it was a strategical basketball decision.
The Morris Brothers
Amazing story. Identical twins spend their whole lives together, including college ball, and then get picked back-to-back in the NBA draft. Unbelievable.
I'm especially happy for Markieff, because he has found himself in the perfect situation. He is going to thrive in Phoenix and he is going to get a ton of minutes.
There are very few times in sports where we get to see athletes showing real, true emotion.
Marcus crying when his brother was drafted was one of those moments.
Personally, I think he was crying half because he was upset that he didn't get drafted first and half because he was happy for Markieff. But that's just me.
Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs
Again, ignore the picture. Leonard is a Spur now.
It's a great fit for both parties, as Kawhi can be brought up slower with less expectations and San Antonio can start their slow rebuilding during the post-Tim Duncan era (moment of silence).
I don't understand why San Antonio decided to trade George Hill as opposed to Tony Parker, but I guess they must really like Leonard. And what's not to like? He is an extremely durable, tough player, both mentally and physically.
He is a great start for San Antonio.
Houston Rockets Frontcourt
No more Yao Ming and Chuck Hayes?
Houston took care of its big-man problems in a hurry, drafting Marcus Morris and Donatas Montiejunas. Morris is a bruiser whose preference is to stay within 15 feet of the hoop.
Montiejunas is a finesse, Chris Bosh-type player who prefers to play on the perimeter but has the ability to go down if he needs to.
I really like Montiejunas' potential.
Nolan Smith (But Not Portland)
Nolan Smith had a rough last few months. After leading his Duke Blue Devils all year, Kyrie Irving comes in and everyone just forgets what Smith did.
He was fantastic in Irving's absence, keeping Duke afloat until their superstar returned.
Last night, Nolan was rewarded.
Portland definitely reached, picking Smith with the 21st pick, but Nolan will be a solid contributor and someone who will play his position with the highest amount of professionalism.
A rock-solid pick, but he was taken about 10 picks too early.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets; Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
Both are unbelievable stories in totally different ways.
Faried came out of nowhere and relies solely on determination, toughness and doing the dirty work. Butler has always had the skill, but has had to face many obstacles in his life after his mother kicked him out the house at the tender age of 13.
Homeless at 13. Terrible.
But Jimmy persevered, as usual. This kid has an unbelievable amount of determination, a trait he shares with the man-child from Morehead State.
For the sake of all that is good in this world, I hope that Faried and Butler both go on to be very successful, durable NBA players. I don't ask for much.
Cory Joseph and Norris Cole
Even though Joseph's leap into the first round was shocking, Cole is the bigger winner here.
Joesph didn't do so bad for himself, either, with the tiny Texas freshman going to one of the most highly regarded organizations in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs.
Following the George Hill trade, the Spurs needed a PG. How they landed on Joseph with so many other good options available, I have no clue. But I know that Joesph will get terrific coaching, and he will have the ability to learn from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
Not too shabby.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment down below, and I will respond ASAP!
What did you think of the draft? Let me know!