Posts Tagged ‘2011 draft’

Fallout From 2011 Draft Continues

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).

The Remains Of The Date

LOS ANGELES – The bottom continued to drop out of what was already a weak June 23 draft when Harrison Barnes announced Monday he would return to North Carolina for his sophomore season, the second top-five pick and fourth probable lottery choice to stay in school.

Barnes, along with Derrick Williams, would have been under consideration for the No. 1 pick if the team that wins the May 17 lottery is set at point guard and has no pressing need for Kyrie Irving. Instead, Barnes’ swerving season that began with a good chance at going first and detoured into a disappointing start before finally reclaiming his original promise, ends with a decision to remain a Tar Heel.

“As a team, we’re preparing for a special season,” he said in a statement released by the school. “My offseason plans are to diligently work on honing my basketball skills in all areas with one team-goal in mind – to bring the 2012 national championship home to UNC.”

John Henson, a possible lottery pick, had previously said he would return to North Carolina.

Barnes and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger were both projected to be picked in the top five, and perhaps the top three. Perry Jones was headed for the top 10 before choosing to stay at Baylor another season. Henson was a fourth lottery candidate, creating the chance for several prospects who would have been destined for the late-teens to move into lottery money.

Underclassmen must declare for the draft by Sunday. They can withdraw by May 8 and retain college eligibility.

The Draft, Um, Buildup

What a strange season leading to the June 23, 2011, draft. Robbie Hummel, with a good shot at the first round, tore a knee ligament in a preseason practice at Purdue that ended his season before it began, prompting his plan to return in 2011-12 as a fifth-year senior. The freshman season of Enes Kanter, headed to the lottery and possibly the top five, ended before it began when the NCAA ruled him ineligible, pending a Kentucky appeal, for excessive benefits while playing in Europe. And, front offices are considering the possibility that even the threat of a lockout could impact whether players come out or stay in school another season.

Now comes word, from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on his satellite-radio show, that a toe injury could force star point guard Kyrie Irving to miss the rest of the season, just as Irving had moved into contention for the No. 1 pick.

Krzyzewski said Wednesday during his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” on XM Radio that the freshman will be out “a long time.” Krzyzewski did not elaborate, according to the Charlotte Observer, but he has said there is a chance Irving could be sidelined the remainder of 2010-11 after hurting the big toe on his right foot Dec. 4. The Blue Devils list Irving as out indefinitely.

Irving was a major prospect all along, but he moved up with impressive debut games at the same time North Carolina freshman Harrison Barnes, the preseason No. 1 in the eyes of most NBA clubs, labored through a slow start. The conversation turned to Barnes, Irving and Perry Jones of Baylor for the top spot in what became an affirmation of the belief by many executives and scouts that the position was wide open all along. Barnes may have been the consensus pick early, but he was hardly the heavy favorite the way John Wall was a year ago at this time or Blake Griffin was early in 2008-09.

Irving has Wall-like electric quickness, but executives and scouts will now wait to gauge the impact of the toe injury. Even if he misses the Duke season, there would still be time to flash through individual workouts before the draft. And if Irving isn’t 100 percent for the evaluations, a team that needs a point guard and sees enough from the eight appearances could still take him No. 1.

His injury will likely mean more time at the point for Nolan Smith, the son of former NBA guard Derek Smith.