Hindsight is 20/20: The 2011 NBA Redraft
This is the last in my current series of these redrafts, it’s been quite an experience getting one out every day. Like the 2010, it’s still to early to tell on a lot of these prospects. However, a lot of the post-lottery selections had great rookie seasons, so expect a multiple risers.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – 2011 Pick: PG Kyrie Irving 2012 Pick: Irving – He was just crowned the rookie of the year, and while he missed 15 games due to injury, he still averaged 18.5/3.7/4.5. Not a bad line for a rookie point guard who’s best option on offense is Antawn Jamison.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – 2011 Pick: F Derrick Williams 2012 Pick: Williams – though his stats don’t stand out, he only started 15 games for the T-Wolves, primarily playing behind Be Easy Mike Beasley and Kevin Love at the 3 and 4 spots. Williams has loads of potential, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up getting traded as I really see him as a power forward and GM David Kahn already has Kevin Love locked in that position (you can argue you can switch Love to center, but I dig Pekovic!)
3. Utah Jazz – 2011 Pick: C Enes Kanter 2012 Pick: SF Kawhi Leonard – Really, Kawhi Leonard going this high? The Jazz ended up starting multiple wings at the 3 spot, it’s pretty messy up in Salt Lake. Meanwhile, Leonard shined as he started 39 games for the Spurs and looks like he’ll be a solid contributor to the perennial Finals-hopefuls. Check out Rohit’s article about Kawhi. Kanter is a pick for the future, and he rarely played in 2012 as he was behind Utah’s hoard of big men including Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap, and Derrick Favors.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – 2011 Pick: PF Tristan Thompson 2012 Pick: SG Klay Thompson – Another riser, Thompson enjoyed a fantastic rookie season and can expect to be named to the All-Rookie team soon. He averaged 12.5 pints and shot 41% from downtown, his success and future potential was one of the reasons why Golden State felt comfortable in trading Monta Ellis. My theory is, if you have a hole and there’s tremendous value, you take the best player available. While Thompson will be the future PF for the Cavs, I wasn’t sold on his year, he needs to improve a lot to warrant going this high. Infact, I’d probably go with Kenneth Faried over him at this point as I know that Faried will only improve on his offense to complement his hustle and defensive prowess.
5. Toronto Raptors – 2011 Pick: C Jonas Valanciunas 2012 Pick: Valanciunas – GM Bryan Colangelo made this pick for the future, as he knew that Valanciunas would not play in the NBA this past season. The 7 foot, 20 year old has loads of potential, and if he was available in this year’s draft could go as high as number 2 overall. The Lithuanian dominated world play, where he averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the recent EuroBasket ’11 friendly matches, his debut on the national team. I can’t change this pick, we have no idea what he’ll become but I’m definitely intrigued.
6. Washington Wizards – 2011 Pick: F Jan Vesely 2012 Pick: Kanter – Swap out one raw European for a more polished, higher potential European. Both of these guys had underwelming rookie seasons, as Vesley averaged 4.7/4.4 over 18 minutes, and he’ll probably be more remembered for this than anything he did on the court. Kanter would get more minutes in Washington and would play with Nene, which would allow Kanter to play more outside and hit the open jumpers that he’s able to.
7. Charlote Bobcats – 2011 Pick: C Bismack Biyombo 2012 Pick: Biyombo – The Bobcats have a lot of holes, and one of them is at the center position where they had Boris Diaw until he decided to eat one too many “Le Big Macs” and showed up in horrendous shape post-lockout. Biyombo played 23 minutes a night for a terrible Cats team, but he’s developing. His ceiling is Mutombo, and his floor is low, very low… but the Bobcats should still go with it.
8. Detroit Pistons – 2011 Pick: PG Brandon Knight 2012 Pick: Knight – Knight had a successful season as the starting PG for Detroit, even though they again had a horrible record. When observing the other options, Knight still represents the best value and highest ceiling of all the other point guard prospects. I also thought of going with Kenneth Faried as he would be a huge upgrade over Jason Maxiel, but Knight worked well for them so I kept the pick.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – 2011 Pick: G Kemba Walker 2012 Pick: PF Kenneth Faried – Though the Bobcats are severely challenged offensively, I still don’t like the Kemba pick. His long term future is of a back up, scoring guard from the bench, at this point why not lock up the PF position for the next 4 seasons with a defensive oriented player and hope he develops with Biyombo. Faried already showed a huge improvement in his scoring as the season progressed, as the big man known for his outstanding rebounding in college (led the NCAA twice in rebounding, is the NCAA All-Time leader in boards too) quietly averaged 10 points with almost 8 boards. I should add that while Kemba scored 12 points a game, he also shot 36% from the field… yikes.
10. Sacramento Kings - 2011 Pick: G Jimmer Fredette 2012 Pick: PG Isaiah Thomas – Thomas was drafted by the Kings in 2011, but he went 60th overall… the NBA’s version of the Mr. Irrelevant. Thomas was anything but irrelevant as he ended up as the team’s starting PG over Jimmer, and he might sneak onto the All-NBA 2nd team behind Kyrie Irving. Not bad for the 5’9 guard from Washington who was told he was too small to play in the pros.
11. Golden State Warriors – 2011 Pick: K. Thompson 2012 Pick: G Iman Shumpert – The Warriors unfortunately miss out on Thompson in this redraft, but they would be wise to draft Shumpert who would help the defensively challenged Stephen Curry in their Golden State’s back court. While playing great perimeter defense (his loss in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Heat was the beginning of the end for New York), he still averaged close to 10 percent while chipping in with almost 3 assists and over 3 boards a game. Not bad overall game, and someone who would give Mark Jackson confidence defensively.
12. Utah Jazz – 2011 Pick: SG Alec Burks 2012 Pick: G MarShon Brooks – the Jazz remain high on Burks, but Brooks had a surprising rookie campaign for the Nets. Given almost 30 minutes a night, he didn’t disappoint as he aveaged 12 points, almost 4 boards, and over 2 assists a night. He’s one of the young building blocks the Nets have, and would almost certainly be apart of any package the Nets may willing to trade to acquire another star player.
13. Phoenix Suns – 2011 Pick: PF Markieff Morris 2012 Pick: T. Thompson – this feels like a better landing spot for the former Texas star. He has a higher ceiling than Morris, but while the former Kansas player had a nice rookie season, Thompson would be the smart selection as the Suns begin to rebuild.
14. Houston Rockets – 2011 Pick: PF Marcus Morris 2012 Pick: Markieff Morris – I feel bad for Marcus, the Rockets give up on him for his more talented twin brother. Imagine if Harvey Grant was released to make room for Horace, that would be such a huge bummer to Harvs. Anyways, Marcus had an extremely disappointing season as he was sent down to the D-League due to lack of playing time, maiking him a rare former lottery pick to spend time there. Markieff had a better season, averaging 7.4 & 4.4 to his brother’s 2.4 & 0.9.
Wow, so that was it. I’ve just redrafted all the prior 10 NBA lotteries. I hope you enjoyed!