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: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 4:34 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Am I the only person that thinks the Cavs should have went #1 Williams #4 Knight?  I believe that would have been a better draft for them.  Then again how can we grade drafts the day after.  Drafts can not really be graded until 5 years down the road.

Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:39 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

You are overvaluing Miller and Fernandez. I love Miller, but he is 35, has no outside shot, and is a defensive liability. Fernandez is wothless garbage. He used to have value when he was knocking down 3s, but he has been averaging 37%/34% FG/3FG the last two seasons, has never played D, and does little else (decent on the fast break and circus plays, but that's it).

As for Nolan Smith, players selected at #21 are not expected to ever be starters in the NBA. Here are Portland's backup guards: Patty Mills, Armon Johnson, and Brandon Roy. You tell me if they have a need for a guard or if it's a "redundancy". Sure, he may have gone higher than expected, but that's why those who chose him get paid the big bucks to do so and everyone else is just spouting largely uninformed opinions.

And who really cares about pick #51? If they traded him for "cash considerations" like so many 2nd rounders are I wouldn't have lost any sleep.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:36 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Felton is flashier, but Miller steadier. The only advantage that Felton has is he can make some threes. He turns the ball over more than Miller. Miller is the better defensive player. Of course Felton may be less expensive, but probably about the same.  Portland had a great year. Can Brandon Roy comeback? They lost to Dallas who are world champs. At best, I see the Miller trade as a wash.

Since: May 5, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:34 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

The Warriors didn't lose anything.

You guys act like all Thompson can do is shoot. Even Van Gundy acknowledged he's a good passer and rebounder for a SG and stated he was impressed by his defense as well.

They added Tyler for some change and finally picked up a solid back up PG for Curry.

I'd say they get a solid B and that's with Ellis on the team.

They aren't dealing yet.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:10 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

If it wasn't for the fantasy sports I would bail on CBS.  The 'experts' are 3rd rate at best.  Charlotte couldn't score so they draft defense and ship off their offense.  Brilliant.  A+ for them huh CBS?

Since: Aug 27, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2011 2:29 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Cavs are the biggest losers of the draft and any "analysts" or "experts" that say otherwise were informed to by the league....... Chris Grant should quit now and avoid the repercutions of the most ill-advised draft ever...... picks 1 and 4 and you end up with "maybe 1" and "10-15" trade 32 for 2 future "cuts" and draft a guy that will never come to America


Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2011 2:19 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

I agree sickwitit, the cavs could of had Williams and a solid G at #4 like Kemba Walker for example...To me cavs=losers in the draft.

Since: Apr 27, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2011 2:12 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

oops... You may want to recant your opinion after irving busts and williams blows up, but then it will be too late.

Since: Apr 27, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2011 2:10 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

The Timberwolves did quite the contrary.  They gave themselves options at the 3 by drafting the best guy in the draft. Added two first round draft picks in future drafts.  Added a center to compete with Darko, then made a trade to gain cap space to keep said Center.  Also added an underrated 2 guard to compete with wes johnson.  In what everyone says is a weak draft, the Wolves got the best player, traded their mid-round picks that could have only gotten them mediocre and "iffy" players with unknown potentials for higher future draft picks, in drafts that are likely to be better than this one. Got a guard with comparisons to Westbrook.   And added much needed center depth.  That doesn't appear to be a bad draft to me.

Truth be told, for a team that has been in rebuilding mode, they look like they are about to turn the corner.  Rubio/Williams is going to be a much better tandem than Irving/Thompson and they have very serviceable players abound with high potential.  I am glad they did not hold on to Mont-something-something-bust-somet

hing... Anyway, in order to kee the team from over log-jamming, they decided to only draft two players and get another that fills an need.  there are players on this team that should not be playing in the nba, and the wolves are working those players out of the roster.  Anyway, you will want to re

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:17 am

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Your NBA reporting and opinions are garbage. Please find a new line of work. Otherwise, great job.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or