Ten years ago, I thought Kyrie Irving is going to be a cool player.
And as always, the 60th pick of the draft will never amount into anything.
Kyrie Irving is a certified beast and beyond question, a first-ballot Hall of Famer BUT I don’t like him because he messed up my Boston Celtics. Also, the last pick of the draft became Isaiah Thomas. Sure, Thomas hasn’t been the top guy in the NBA for some time now… but once upon a time, he led my Boston Celtics to Eastern Conference heaven.
Also was I wrong in a lot of my choices.
So the 2011 NBA Draft came and went and a decade later, the class produced a lot of superstars, champions, and stunners. Aside from Irving the class also includes Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler, and IT4.
While sure, I ranked Kawhi Leonard higher than he was originally selected, I snubbed Klay Thompson over… Chris Singleton? No offense to Singleton but look at how Klay's career turned out. I also said I saw Jimmer Fredette as a John Stockton clone. That statement is dumb! Also, I took a premium with a lot of foreign players. Jonas Valanciunas turned out well but the same can't be said with current Fenerbahce standout Jan Vesely and AS Monaco Basket star Donatas Motiejunas.
Anyway, here is my blog from 2011.
The draft is a few days away and just like any other sports site, I am obliged to predict what will happen in the 2011 NBA Draft. Last year, we saw John Wall becoming a spectacle and Evan Turner groping to form.
Did anyone saw the production of Landry Fields?
A draft is a hit-or-miss event. For every Blake Griffin... there is a Hasheem Thabeet. I hope Thabeet makes up for his lackluster seasons now that he is with the Houston Rockets because the word “bust” should by now get on his nerves.
Anyway, here are my predictions!
GAME STARTS NOW!
1 KYRIE IRVING
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (FROM LAC)
PG – DUKE
Cleveland needs a superstar and I believe they have it in Irving. The guy came from an outstanding collegiate institution and the Cavs need a winning tradition more than ever. I am a cynic in terms of getting small players in the top spot but after seeing Allen Iverson and Derrick Rose plus the anomaly that is Kwame Brown, I am now a believer.
2 DERRICK WILLIAMS
PF – ARIZONA
I am not sold in their backcourt and when Irving becomes available at this spot, they should claim him. However seeing that he is almost a lock-in Cleveland, they might as well settle for Derrick Williams. Williams however will be joining a crowded frontline. Although except for Kevin Love, all of the Wolves’ frontliners are expendable.
3 ENES KANTER
C – KENTUCKY
Critics think that Brandon Knight will get a call but if I’m Utah, I’d pick Kanter. Memo Okur was non-existent last season and if he’s not fit to play in the coming season, then they need size more than guard depth. Sure, they have Derrick Favors but I think it’s best for the Jazz to at least give Devin Harris a free rein at the starting spot before abandoning on that thought.
4 BRANDON KNIGHT
PG – KENTUCKY
I think I’ll get flak with this pick but here’s the thing – if they can’t get Kanter to play for their squad, they might as well get the best possible player and use this said player as trade bait. They can either drop down and with cash considerations or trade this pick as a combo for a rising star. Still, Knight is no patsy. I wouldn’t freak out if he becomes a better player in the near future.
5 JONAS VALANCIUNAS
C – LITHUANIA
The draft depth is lacking at the center spot which is why we suddenly have two Euros at the top of the list. Canada would rather love Un-Americans because at the sight of free agency they wouldn’t leave in a heartbeat. With that said, the team is desperately in need of big men. Hopefully, this international talent can be a threat on the inside as much as he is on the outside.
6 KAWHI LEONARD
SF – SAN DIEGO ST.
If I’m going to call the shots for the Wizards, I will pick a player that can stabilize their small forward spot. Leonard can play both slashing positions and I think can suit the squad if they put Rashard Lewis as a 3 or a 4. Sure, Kemba Walker is still available but with John Wall in the team, Walker will just languish on the bench.
7 JAN VESELY
C – CZECH REPUBLIC
With Marcus Thornton now playing for the Kings, Sacramento must solve their frontcourt woes. I have no idea what Vesely brings to the table but the Kings’ success rate with these Euro stars could happen again with this guy. Also, he could easily give the team stability if and when the emergence of DeMarcus Cousins fails to happen in the coming season.
8 KEMBA WALKER
PG – CONNECTICUT
I think the Rodney Stuckey push needs to end. He couldn’t lift the team to greatness given the fact that he has 60 percent of the Detroit championship starting lineup in his grasp. Sure, they are old and probably brittle, but this also brings me to another point. It’s time to change the landscape of Motor City. It will be either Walker or Jimmer Fredette. I don’t have any beef with Stuckey but they need to revamp their quarterback spot.
9 BISMACK BIYOMBO
PF – CONGO
At 18, this Spanish League vet could pretty much be a project at best for Charlotte but Michael Jordan and his henchmen are praying ardently for this player to become a huge fraction of what was Dikembe Mutombo. Charlotte needs an inside force desperately and if they can’t get it on the draft I will not be surprised if they try to trade this for one.
10 DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS
PF – LITHUANIA
Milwaukee deserves a big player who is not like Luc Mbah a Moute who is an undersized PF or Ersan Ilyasova who is an oversized SF. Sure, they have Drew Gooden and Larry Sanders but the team also needs another big man if and when their injury-prone main man Andrew Bogut gets injured. The problem when picking these Euro bigs though is that you are not sure if they would play or stay in Europe.
11 TRISTAN THOMPSON
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
PF – TEXAS
Thompson will add bulk to a Golden State who is still in need of big-time bigs. Now I don’t know if they can solve their size with this 6’9 bruiser but the last thing they need right now is to pad their already souped-up roster. Although, perhaps a guard is not a bad idea considering that they are reportedly trying to trade Monta Ellis for hopefully a big-time big man.
12 JIMMER FREDETTE
PG – BRIGHAM YOUNG
While I believe the Jazz should still trust Devin Harris, I hope they select Fredette. Fredette patterned his game to Jazz great John Stockton and the city is trying to wipe the stench off a season that saw the nightmarish departure of Deron Williams alongside Carlos Boozer and long-time coach Jerry Sloan. I guess if Fredette turns into what the doctor ordered, this can serve as redemption for the Jazz faithful.
13 MARCUS MORRIS
SF – KANSAS
Morris in some ways is something that Phoenix fans should be happy about. If not for my greed to select centers and power forwards, he should at least be on the top ten. The guy is a big and explosive forward for his size and he can probably give the team offense that they lacked a season ago. He can become a crucial part of the squad when they turn "small ball".
14 ALEC BURKS
SG – COLORADO
Yep. The first real shooting guard of the draft enters near the middle of the pack. While teams could claim him early, the Houston Rockets are in dire need for scoring. Kevin Martin can’t do it alone and their depth is so lacking that Chase Budinger has become the team’s sole fixture at the SF spot. Burks has the tendency to explode and would do better if he can refine his outside scoring.
15 CHRIS SINGLETON
SF – FLORIDA STATE
While the team is in dire need to strengthen their frontline, I would rather have the squad use the draft to boost their scoring. Singleton is a 6’9 small forward that could "beast up" their scoring chances if he can take this to the next level. Chicago took Indiana out in the first round but the games weren’t lopsided.
So there you have it. If I have the collective mind of all GMs (or at least 14 of them), this is how the draft should play out.
As for my other favorites, I hope guys like Duke’s Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, Washington’s Klay Thompson, Texas’ Jordan Hamilton, UCLA’s Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt, and Butler’s Shelvin Mack would get selected in the first round.