The NBA draft is without a doubt one of the best basketball related nights during the year. It is where teams and fans find hope. With a single pick a whole franchise can be changed. Just look at what LeBron James did to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In continuation of the re-draft series, let’s look at the 2011 draft.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Kawhi Leonard (original pick: Kyrie Irving)
Kawhi Leonard is the obvious first pick here in the 2011 draft. The two time all-star has turned into a star that can carry any franchise. Averaging 25 points per game, Leonard can score and defend with the best. In fact, he has been the only one who has proven to give LeBron any trouble. Kawhi will be a perennial superstar for years to come.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Klay Thompson (original pick: Derrick Williams)
Man, Derrick Williams was a bust! Pairing Klay Thompson with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio would be a perfect match. Klay, one half of the “Splash Brothers”, may be one of the most underrated players in the league. He is not only one of the best spot-up shooters in the history of the NBA, but he can defend at an elite level. This is a man who was considered to be someone who couldn’t be more than a 6th man coming out of college, however, he has proven all those myths to be wrong.
- Utah Jazz: Kyrie Irving (original pick: Enes Kanter)
It is crazy to think that after almost six seasons in the NBA, Irving is still only 24 years old. He is also a 4 time all-star already! After battling a few injury problems throughout his career thus far, Kyrie has proven to be one the most exciting guards in the league. It is yet to be seen if he can truly carry an NBA franchise like Kawhi Leonard can, but he is well on his way. The Utah Jazz finally get the guard they’ve been searching for ever since Deron Williams left.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaiah Thomas (original pick: Kyrie Irving)
With 6 all-stars in the 2011 draft, after the first three picks, there is still plenty of talent. With the Cavs going Kawhi Leonard instead of Kyrie Irving at the top of the draft, Isaiah Thomas would provide the scoring spark needed by Cleveland. Standing at only 5 foot 9, Thomas originally fell to the 60th pick in 2011. He has been continuously getting better that picking him at 4 makes sense. This year alone, Thomas has averaged almost 30 point per game! Imagine how the Cavaliers would have turned out if you pair Isaiah Thomas with Kawhi Leonard??
- Toronto Raptors: Kemba Walker (original pick: Jonas Valanciunas)
Coming out of Uconn, Kemba Walker was a champion. Now in the NBA, Walker has proven to be even better than expected, especially after making it to the all-star game in 2017 in a crowded East. I’m not sure why, but Walker and DeRozan backcourt excites me! Putting those two men together could provide a lot of trouble for the Eastern Conference for years to come.
- Washington Wizards: Jimmy Butler (original pick: Jan Vesley)
When I was making this draft, I had no intention of dropping Jimmy Butler to six, but it happened. After being a bench player for his first few years in the league, Butler emerged as a star in his fourth year. The Wizards get saved here by drafting Jimmy Butler instead of the disappointment that was Jan Vesley. Giving John Wall a legit second option is something The Wizards have struggled with. The only reason he drops to six here, is the recent locker room troubles Butler has been tangled in.
- Sacramento Kings: Tristan Thompson (original pick: Bismack Biyombo)
Now that all the all-stars are of the board, the Kings can really draft for best fit here. There is plenty of talent still left, and Tristan Thompson is the next man up. He may not have been the player that he was thought to be, but he adds value in many aspects of the game. A frontcourt of Boogie Cousins and Thompson would grab every rebound available.
- Detroit Pistons: Chandler Parsons (original pick: Brandon Knight)
Chandler Parsons thrived in a Houston Rockets system his first few years in the league, however, he hasn’t been able to fit a good fit since. Putting him in Detroit with the eventually Stan Van Gundy and Andre Drummond would be a fantastic fit. Parsons has the potential to be an all-star, just needs the right fit.
- Charlotte Hornets: Nikola Vucevic (original pick: Kemba Walker)
The Hornets get the big man they wanted without having to trade for Bismack Biyambo who went 7th in 2011. Now, they miss out on Kemba Walker, but they walk away with a man who can easily give you 20-10 any night. Vuvevic, unlike Biyambo, was NBA ready and could contribute right away.
- Milwaukee Bucks: Reggie Jackson (original pick: Jimmer Fredette)
Jimmer Fredette never played a minute for Milwaukee. He was traded to Sacramento, where he had a few nice moments, but never lived up to the hype. Reggie Jackson is a much better fit for the Bucks who have been in need of a point guard for years. Jackson has shown that he can score with fellow draftees like Kemba Walker and Isaiah Thomas, but he hasn’t gotten the right situation just yet.