Redoing the 2011 NBA Draft
Apr 11, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) reacts after making a three point basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter at the United Center. The Chicago Bulls defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 114-107. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs haven’t had a lottery pick since 1997. The Spurs took Tim Duncan with the first pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. The reason they haven’t gotten a lottery pick, is that they’ve made the playoffs every season since 1997.
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In 2011 the Spurs made a big trade, as they dealt George Hill for Kawhi Leonard, who was taken with the 15th pick. The trade was a franchise changing trade for the Spurs and the Pacers were stuck with a solid point guard that isn’t near the player that Leonard is.
If the top-15 of the 2011 NBA Draft was redone, where would each player go? Kenneth Faried, Isaiah Thomas, and Donatas Motiejunas barely missed the top-15.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: Kyrie Irving
New Pick: Kyrie Irving
The NBA is a point guard league. Kyrie Irving’s resume at Duke, despite injuries makes it easy to trust that he will become the player he has been. Other point guards in the class are Kemba Walker, Reggie Jackson, and Brandon Knight. He is clearly ahead of the pack. Irving won Rookie of the Year and is a three-time NBA All-Star. He has also won the All-Star Game MVP.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Derrick Williams
New Pick: Klay Thompson
The Minnesota Timberwolves can surely use a sharpshooter alongside Ricky Rubio. Klay Thompson fits the bill. The Timberwolves wouldn’t lose much with Derrick Williams not being selected. However the decision is difficult as Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard are on the board.
3. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Enes Kanter
New Pick: Kawhi Leonard
Enes Kanter finally broke out this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Regardless the Jazz have Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert down low. The Jazz would go with Kawhi Leonard over Jimmy Butler. Leonard doesn’t need the ball in his hands like Jimmy Butler, which means he will fit in nicely with Gordon Hayward.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: Tristan Thompson
New Pick: Jimmy Butler
Imagine a draft of Irving and Butler, that would be insane. Butler of course shocked the world as he was selected with the 30th pick. Butler and LeBron James would bail out Kyrie on defense. They would be an elite trio on the outside. Add in Kevin Love, it would not be fair. Thompson performed well in the playoffs, but with Love he isn’t needed much only on defense.
5. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Jonas Valanciunas
New Pick: Nikola Vucevic
Jonas Valanciunas has been solid in his three year NBA career, but the Raptors would’ve selected Nikola Vucevic. Valanciunas averaged 12 points and 8.7 rebounds last year. Vucevic on the other hand is a beast. He was arguably the biggest All-Star snub in the Eastern Conference. The 24-year old averaged 19.3 points and 10.9 rebounds last season. A trio of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Vucevic would be special.
6. Washington Wizards
Original Pick: Jan Vesely
New Pick: Tobias Harris
Jan Vesely is without question the first “bust” of the draft. The 7-foot forward had elite athleticism and size, unfortunately his skills never caught up to his tools. Vesely never averaged more than 5 points in three seasons. He is currently playing with Turkish club Fenerbahce. The Wizards will take Harris over Chandler Parsons. Harris is only 23-years old and he is still improving. Harris averaged 17.1 points and 6.3 rebounds last season.
7. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Bismack Biyombo
New Pick: Chandler Parsons
The Sacramento Kings selected Bismack Biyombo but his rights were traded to Charlotte. Instead of taking the one-dimensional Biyombo, the Kings could’ve taken Chandler Parsons. Parsons is a well-rounded small forward that can shoot, pass, and defend multiple positions. Parsons was selected with the 38th pick, so it’s clear that most would’ve ripped up the Kings decision to take him, at least for a while.
8. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Brandon Knight
New Pick: Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight aren’t too far in terms of talent, but Walker is more of a point guard. Walker is a better scorer than Knight as well. Knight has the ability to play either guard spot and he is a more reliable three-point shooter. Nevertheless the Pistons wouldn’t go wrong with either player.
9. Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Kemba Walker
New Pick: Reggie Jackson
Since Walker would be off the board, the Hornets would go with the best point guard available, Reggie Jackson. Jackson averaged 17.6 points and 9.2 assists in 27 games with Detroit last year. Like Walker, Jackson isn’t a good defender, but he is a better passer.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Jimmer Fredette
New Pick: Enes Kanter
Milwaukee Bucks fans will forever be haunted as their Bucks did not select Klay Thompson instead of drafting Fredette, who was traded for a bunch of veterans. The Bucks did get Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, and John Salmons, but they all play the same position and need the ball in their hands. Since Thompson won’t be on the board when Milwaukee is up, they will select Enes Kanter. Kanter is one of the best scoring centers, however he isn’t a good defender.
11. Golden State Warriors
Original Pick: Klay Thompson
New Pick: Jonas Valanciunas
If the draft was redone there is no way that Thompson would fall to the Warriors. Instead, they would settle with Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas is an upgrade over Andrew Bogut. He is only 23-years old and he is still developing.
12. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Alec Burks
New Pick: Brandon Knight
The Jazz made a good decision in selecting Alec Burks in 2011. Burks is a good scorer that can play both guard spots. Instead of settling for Burks, the Jazz would take Brandon Knight in a redo of the draft. Knight would be a huge upgrade over Trey Burke, who hasn’t played at the level many expected him to play.
13. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Markieff Morris
New Pick: Tristan Thompson
Markieff Morris has been everything the Suns have hoped for. The 25-year old averaged 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. With Marcus Morris gone to Detroit, Markieff wants out. Tristan Thompson is having a contract fiasco himself, but he is a better rim protector than Morris. The Suns can use Thompson’s defensive intensity.
14. Houston Rockets
Original Pick: Marcus Morris
New Pick: Markieff Morris
The Rockets selected Marcus Morris, but he was traded to Phoenix. Instead of taking Marcus, the Rockets would take Markieff, who would fit in well with Dwight Howard. Morris would spread out the floor for Howard.
15. Indiana Pacers
Original Pick: Kawhi Leonard
New Pick: Nikola Mirotic
The Pacers made a huge mistake by trading Kawhi Leonard for George Hill. In a redo of the draft there is no way Leonard will fall in their hands. Instead the Pacers would grab Nikola Mirotic, who would be traded for Hill. Mirotic would fit in well with Duncan and the Spurs. He is a great three-point shooter with size. The Spurs would have to wait a few years for Mirotic to come to the league. The Spurs won’t mind, after all they love international players.