The 2011 NBA Draft is over and it was not short of its fun. Teams can now go in to the summer with some optimism for this upcoming year. Not every team could be winners, but here's a list of some of the ones that stood out for me:
Drafts I liked:
- Faried will fit in perfectly in Denver and was exactly what they needed in terms of rebounding and toughness. With Kenyon Martin likely gone and Nene also a possibility to leave, he is coming through their door at the perfect time. Getting the dynamic Jordan Hamilton who has All-Star or at least starter potential, came at the expense of Raymond Felton, but they picked up Andre Miller and already had Ty Lawson, so it was worth it.
- Washington's needs going into the draft were to find a potential replacement to start at power forward and a defensive minded 3 to mix in with Jordan Crawford and Nick Young. They got exactly that in Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton respectively. In addition, Shelvin Mack will be a perfect player to come in to the game and get tough points that help close out victories.
- New Jersey needed to find some other building blocks in this draft to add to Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. While they have excellent complimentary players currently on their roster, they wanted guys who could either become starters for the future or be excellent trade bait for bringing in a veteran to play with Deron. Brooks could come in and start relatively early, with Morrow coming off the bench, while Jordan Williams will surprise people and could be the replacement for Kris Humphries if he decides to leave.
- Morris is very similar to Patrick Peterson who they drafted last year, but by drafting Motiejunas they potentially drafted their center of the future to replace Yao. Chandler Parsons will give them great versatility and hustle points off the bench.
- Klay Thompson is another soft defender added to a backcourt that already has too many. It seems as if Golden State will test out their current lineup and if it doesn't work out and they trade Monta Ellis they'll have insurance behind him. If not, it might be tough for him to find minutes especially if Dorell Wright plays well again. The next two picks are where they might have struck gold though. Jeremy Tyler had all-world potential when he came out of high school early, and despite the major setbacks overseas, he still has much of that potential left. Charles Jenkins might not be filling a need, but he'll give them excellent minutes coming off the bench as a flex guard.
- Brandon Knight is a great fit in Detroit, and could eventually replace Rodney Stuckey at point. He'll instantly provide leadership and stability to a team that is trying to regain it's footing. Kyle Singler somewhat replicates what they have in Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, but he's a skilled player that will somehow make a dent in their rotation. Vernon Macklin might be worth the pick due to his size and strength, but not much should be expected out of it.
- They got great players in this draft, but how much better are they than the guys they have. They already have Al Jefferson who is a similar player, and Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors at the other spot, so Kanter's play has to come at the expense of one of those players. Alec Burks is great too and will enjoy Utah after spending a few years in nearby Colorado, but starting him might mean giving up on Gordon Hayward.
- They got a player of the future in Kawhi Leonard, although it was at the expense of another one, George Hill. Not sure Cory Joseph will come close to replacing Hill, but he's young enough to take a chance on. Getting Bertans from Indiana was very nice for a San Antonio team that develops foreigners like a science. Hence you can't argue adding Adam Hanga late to San Antonio's long line of 'stock and see' players.
- Boston doesn't have much to build their future around besides Rajon Rondo, but by bringing in these two Boilermaker teammates, Boston was able to secure a tough-minded duo with a winning attitude to come in off the bench and potentially give them starter minutes.
Got a lot out of a little:
- With one pick and not a lot of needs, they got a young player loaded with potential that they could bring on slowly to provide relief for Mike Conley on a consistent basis.
- With only 2nd round picks at their disposal they got two players who will give them excellent minutes off the bench and much needed depth.
- Atlanta only had one late pick in the 2nd, but they made the most of it, getting a guy that could be the prime backup at center, or potential starter if he continues to develop, after averaging a double double and 3.6 blocks/game for an Oakland team that was not necessarily elite.