Now it’s Jimmer Fredette, after the Kings’ buyout that became official Thursday. That came not long after Washington offloaded Jan Vesely and Cleveland fired Chris Grant as general manager.
In the meantime, Markieff Morris continues to develop in Phoenix and Kawhi Leonard really develops in San Antonio. Oh, and Nikola Mirotic says hello from Europe.
The 2011 NBA Draft was an interesting one anyway, with its heavy overseas influence in the top seven, the Spurs trading George Hill for the uncertainty of Leonard and the run of point guards in the lottery. But now it’s turned fascinating.
Every draft has developments, but the fallout from this one is everywhere:
- David Kahn, the former general manager for the Timberwolves, laced his cement shoes tighter by taking Derrick Williams at No. 2;
- The Kings’ front office made itself more unpopular by choosing the popular Fredette and trading for John Salmons as part of a draft-day package deal;
- The Bobcats did better with No. 9 (Kemba Walker) than No. 7 (Bismack Biyombo).
- No. 16 Nikola Vucevic has developed to the point where the Magic’s gamble of accepting him from the 76ers instead of Andrew Bynum from the Lakers as part of the Dwight Howard extraction has become a brilliant call;
- The Rockets got Marcus Morris at 14 and Donatas Motiejunas at 20, but are a Western Conference threat now, in large part, because of the 38th pick, Chandler Parsons.
- Isaiah Thomas went from the last pick in the draft to starting at point guard for the Kings, putting up numbers worthy of a lottery pick.
That’s how the 2011 draft has turned out. The first pick, Kryie Irving, was a good one by the Cavs. GM Grant worked a trade to get the pick that turned into the No. 1, and he nailed the pick (though things didn’t get any better for Cleveland from there). Teams found some nice pickups in the mid-to-late teens, with Kenneth Faried at 22 (to Denver) and Reggie Jackson at 24 (to Oklahoma City) and the potential of very good value on the 23rd pick, Mirotic (who ended up in Chicago’s hands).
(The Bulls got his rights as an investment, knowing it would be years before he left Spain for the NBA, and have watched his stock dramatically rise. One executive, after seeing Mirotic play, said the power forward originally from Montenegro would go “top two or three for sure” if he was in the 2014 draft and “maybe even one.” Mirotic could be in Chicago next season.)
Four picks from the last 10 of that draft remain in the league, led by Thomas and including Lavoy Allen (50, now with the Pacers), DeAndre Liggins (53, now with the Heat on a 10-day contract) and E’Twaun Moore (55, now with the Magic).