Blog Entry

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 11:20 am

Posted by Matt Moore

It's all over. After an underwhelming crop of draft choices led to a flurry of trades, the dust has settled and the picks are wearing the right hats, finally. Here are your winners and losers of the 2011 NBA Draft:


Cleveland Cavaliers: Irving is mostly a case of winning by default, but they wouldn't have been the first team to be unable to get out of their own way with an obvious pick. Irving gives them a franchise point guard to build around and was the best player overall in this draft. Going for Derrick Williams would have been sheer hubris in order to burn LeBron by choosing a replacement forward. Then, with the fourth, they could have opted for Valanciunas, which would have been a good pick. But there's a reason so many teams were chasing Tristan Thompson. His workouts showed how he would translate on the next level, and with that kind of athleticism, he provides a good running partner for Irving. They managed to not overcomplicate the combination of two top-five picks. They got good talent both small and big. That's a win right there.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards very quietly had a terrific draft. First Jan Vesely was available, who fits a need for them at slashing forward. With his athleticism and aggression, he makes a perfect partner to run the break with John Wall. Then, miraculously, Chris Singleton tumbled all the way down to No.18 where the Wizards jumped all over him. Singleton is a lottery talent that fell out of the top 14. He gives the Wizards the ability to move Andray Blatche if they can find a taker for his contract. He can rebound and defend exceptionally well. Singleton's length and athleticism, combined with a chip on his shoulder from dropping, makes him a great pick for the Wizards. Shelvin Mack in the second round was a great value pick for backup point guard.

Charlotte Bobcats: In a day, the Bobcats transformed Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, the No.9 and No.19 into Corey Maggette, Bismack Biyombo, and Kemba Walker. That's a great haul. I've never been big on either of the Bobcats' draft picks, but when you consider the balance between an athletic super-freak who is unrefined and an established winner with limited upside, the Bobcats managed to grab two of the most hyped players in the draft. Biyombo provides length and athleticism to pair with Tyrus Thomas. Walker creates a complication at point guard with D.J. Augustin already being an undersized point guard. But Augustin has never won over the Bobcats organization and Walker will be given every chance to compete for the starting role. If his size issues aren't as much a concern as they've been made out to be, and if his shot creation translates to the next level, the Bobcats have just instantly created their foundation for the future while ditching one of their biggest contracts. A great start for the Cho era in Charlotte. 

Denver Nuggets: Raymond Felton got flipped for Andre Miller's non-guaranteed expiring contract and Jordan Hamilton, one of the steals of the draft who inexplicably fell. This for a guard the Nuggets didn't want in the first place. Oh, yeah, and they nabbed Kenneth Faried, who perfectly fits their needs and is a great value pick where they took him. Masai Ujiri is better than you.


Minnesota Timberwolves: Yes, again. Williams is a great pick, if they were moving Michael Beasley. Or if they were trading Williams. But David Kahn reportedly says they're not moving Williams. They wasted an opportunity to create more assets by moving either one, and instead, will now bullheadedly try to cram two similar players (three if you count Anthony Randolph) into a spot. It's a messy situation and Kahn should have taken one of the other offers made to him for the pick. Then there's the other trade, which was just a mess all over. They pulled in another Euro center to add to their collection, Brad Miller and his too-long, too-expensive contract, and ditched Jonny Flynn. The only redeeming quality is the future first which may or may not be protected into oblivion. Another sterling night for the Wolves. If Williams turns out to be worthy of the No.2 pick, and count me among the people that think he is, and the Wolves recognize that versus burying him as they did Kevin Love, this can be salvaged. From this vantage point, it doesn't look great. 

Update: Wolves wound up swapping Mirotic for the 28th and 43rd picks from the Bulls, then moved the 28th pick to Miami for the 31st pick, which they then sold as well as the 38th pick which was theirs. They used the 43rd on Malcolm Lee, and then traded for the 57th. While not getting Mirotic is a lot better than drafting him, they did all that and wound up with a first later, Malcolm Lee, and Targuy Ngombo. Not a great haul, there. Saved the boss some cash, though.

Golden State Warriors: How many guards can they need? New head coach Mark Jackson and GM Larry Riley constantly talked about defense. Then the Warriors took a shooter. They haven't moved Monta Ellis, so now on the roster they have Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Charlie Bell, Jeremy Lin, Acie Law and Reggie Williams. And they just added Klay Thompson. It was an unnecessary move with bigger players with more defensive presence available. The Warriors have enough talent to not need the best player available. But, again, they opt for the usual. Disappointing.

Portland Trail Blazers: Where did that come from? The Blazers first take a huge reach on Nolan Smith at No.21. Smith had his proponents as the draft got closer, and certainly isn't a terrible pick. But in taking him, they elected to create redundancy after trading too much (Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez) for Raymond Felton. The result is a reformed back court as the Blazers had promised, but not nearly as good as one you would have thought they could carry with the pieces available. Smith may work out well, but he'll never be starter caliber. And, with as many talented guards as there were late in the draft, taking him was a bit of a shock. Jon Diebler is 6-6 and can shoot. That's about it.  

Individual Winners:

Jan Vesely: Underrated as everyone talked about Kanter and Valanciunas, Vesely not only winds up with a good team fit for himself, but stole the highlight of the night with a kiss on the mouth of his lady friend. Then he said "I like the John Wall game" in his TV interview. Vesely came off incredibly cool for a 21-year-old Euro who can't shoot.

Tristan Thompson: Congratulations, Tristan, you cleared about ten spots in three days! It's a marathon, not a race.

Joe Dumars: Lucks into Brandon Knight. Rodney Stuckey problem: solved.

Individual Losers:

Brandon Knight: Plummeted due to his attitude and wound up in dysfunctional Detroit.

Josh Selby: If there was no age limit to the draft, Selby would have been a top ten pick last year. Now he falls all the way to the second round.

Jordan Hamilton: Something really bad must have been found on Hamilton, medically or otherwise. There was a nineteen-pick differential between Hamilton and a player who has rumors of being older than listed with a back issue and a contract problem. That's not a good look for the Texas ex.

Since: Jun 27, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:35 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

I think the Cavs failed. They should have drafted Derrick Williams and Klay Thompson. This was their 2 biggest needs. Who is starting at the sg for them? Who is their sf?

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:05 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

The Warriors did fine, especially once they deal Monta for a big man...With M.Jackson's comments about Monta, and taking 2 guards, he's as good as gone...They plugged some holes and added depth, which is what they needed to do. I expext we will see a completely different lineup next year.

Since: Jul 8, 2010
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:47 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers


Since: Jul 8, 2010
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:46 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

I have to agree. CBS Analysis is a lot like going into your local barbershop and listening to the people there. I feel like they just re-read notes from ESPN and when they don't, they sound very amature. Luckily they have one of the best fantasy formats around or I wouldn't ever bother. Having a nice suit and lots of hair gel don't make you a sports expert.

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:39 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Plummeted due to his attitude and wound up in dysfunctional Detroit.

Matt Moore, you are an ABSOLUTE moron. What attitude "problem" would Brandon Knight actually have? This kid was nothing short of genuine at Kentucky. Yes sir, no sir, etc.....his work ethic and professionalism on AND off the court were simply fantastic. He "fell" to #8 because of how the draft picks were taken, not because of his "attitiude".


Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:34 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

why would the cavs take a pf when they have hickson and varejao already on the roster?  add hollins and they have TOO MANY power forwards.  thompson is better than people give him credit for. 

with no lebron in this draft, the cavs made two VERY solid picks.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 7:46 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

There was a large consensus of fans/experts that believed the Cavs should have gone Williams #1 and best PG available #4... I am definately one of them.  I personally liked Kemba Walker and would have streched a bit at 4 to take him.  He is a proven winner and tough as nails. 

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 6:34 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Irving is Sam Bowie. His toe injury will define his short NBA career. It will be a constant problem, and Kyrie will miss more games than he will play. Stupid pick.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 6:04 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

  I agree these guys think because need at center or strong/big forward you had to take inferior player while letting a big guard who can shoot and pass and play defense slip by.Good pick and you are correct their not done dealing yet.

Since: Sep 22, 2010
Posted on: June 24, 2011 5:44 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Irving's not that good, just over hyped. He might make it in the nba 3 years then will be forgotten!

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