NBA Draft 2011 Grades: Utah Jazz and 10 Winners of the NBA Draft
Who won the 2011 NBA draft?
The truth is there were many winners. Ten, in fact.
No one really won the draft outright, although Utah has a pretty good case. Like this year's draft class, there was really not one team that made you say, "wow."
A bunch of teams got good players, but didn't fill needs, while a bunch of teams filled needs, but didn't get good players. The key was to mix those two as well as you can.
Here are the top 10 teams that came out on top in the NBA draft.
10. Orlando Magic/Memphis Grizzlies
With only a 53rd overall pick to work with, Orlando made a really savvy trade into the front of the second round to pick up Justin Harper. He will play great with Orlando, because Howard will get him open looks. And Harper? He doesn't miss open looks.
Memphis had just one pick in the draft, and they made it count, selecting frustratingly inconsistent guard Josh Selby. The Grizzlies are hoping that the Josh Selby from high school resurfaces in order to allow him to back up Mike Conley. If it doesn't work out? It was only a 49th pick.
9. Milwaukee Bucks
Their biggest "get" wasn't even made during the draft. Milwaukee acquired enigmatic small forward Stephen Jackson, who is an almost automatic 18 points per game.
In the deal, they also received Beno Udrih, a decent backup, as well as the 19th pick in the draft which they used to select underrated power forward Tobias Harris. Obviously Harris is a little small to play power forward, but him and Jackson together is some pretty good offense, something which has been lacking in Milwaukee for quite a while.
8. Toronto Raptors
Toronto also had only one pick in the draft, and they too made it count. Valanciunas is considered one of the best big men to come from overseas in the recent past, and is even being discussed as a better player than Enes Kanter.
Problem is he doesn't come to the US until next year. Toronto isn't rushing though, so they have the ability to wait.
7. Phoenix Suns
While Phoenix didn't add much flash, they did fill a need with a talented big man.
I am very high on Markieff, and expect him to play phenomenally in Phoenix. He and Steve Nash will play well together, but more importantly, Morris fits right into the Suns' tempo.
6. Detroit Pistons
While Knight was certainly the biggest steal in the draft, Detroit was hurt by their choice of Kyle Singler. They should have drafted a big man there. Otherwise, solid. Don't look at Macklin just yet.
5. Washington Wizards
With three terrific players, Washington would have been much higher on this list except for one thing.
Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton play the same position! I understand the value of Singleton at No. 18, but it does lower their ranking because they can't start both of them. Mack was a solid second-round 2 pick as well, but he was chosen pretty early.
4. Denver Nuggets
With Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton and Andre Miller, Denver's draft was spectacular.
They did lose Felton though, and Hamilton is sort of stuck with Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
I really love Faried though; he is going to be a fixture in Denver for years to come.
3. Golden State
Klay Thompson, Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler? What a terrific job by Jerry West (yet again), and by first-time head coach Mark Jackson.
Although I would have liked to have seen more size, Jenkins and Thompson were both by far the best picks available when they were each taken. Tyler is a work in progress, but he can at least show off his athleticism in Golden State.
2. Houston Rockets
No big men, no problem for the Rockets, as they clean up two of the bigger guys in the draft.
They both play the same position, but Marcus Morris is an inside presence, while Donatas Motiejunas is more of a perimeter Chris Bosh-type.
Great job by Daryl Morey.
1. Utah Jazz
What can you say? They got arguably the best big man, and the best 2-guard in the draft. And they did it swiftly. Twelve picks and they were done with the draft. Burks was a nice "get," because he may have fallen a couple of extra spots because of that blockbuster three-teamer that went down.
Burks might play better initially, but I think Kanter will be the real deal for Utah down low. Every GM's dream.