Saturday, June 25, 2011

NBA Draft Recap - First Round Picks 1-15

A Quick Rundown of the 2011 NBA Draft that went down the other night. For the purpose of keeping this simple with regard to the number of trades that went down, I'm only going to list the team the player actually ended up with. So here we go, picks 1-15:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Kyrie Irving - PG - 6'4" 191 lbs - 19 year old highly touted point guard out of Duke, Irving spent much of his freshman year injured before coming back for the Blue Devils' NCAA tournament run. Scored a season high 31 points against Michigan State before his injury and finished the year with 28 in their elimination loss to Arizona. For the year he averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 46.2% from 3-point range.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves - Derrick Williams - PF - 6'9" 248 lbs - 20 year old power forward out of the University of Arizona, Williams had a huge NCAA tournament last year where he averaged over 22 points and 9 rebounds a game. He scored 32 points and added 13 rebounds, both season highs, in the Sweet Sixteen against Duke to lead Arizona to the Elite Eight as a 5 seed. For the year he averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting nearly 60% from the floor, including 56.8% from 3-point range.

3. Utah Jazz - Enes Kanter - C - 6'11" 260 lbs - 18 year old Turkish center who was recruited by Kentucky but declared to be ineligible due to his earnings in Europe. In 2009 Kanter was named the MVP of the FIBA Europe U-18 Championships where he averaged 18.6 points and 16.4 rebounds while leading Turkey to a bronze medal finish. In Utah he'll join countryman Mehmet Okur to help bolster the Jazz's frontcourt.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Tristan Thompson - PF - 6'9" 227 lbs - 20 year old power forward from the University of Texas, Thompson was a bit of a surprise pick for the Cavs here. However, listening to Byron Scott on ESPN Radio, he made it sound like this was a guy they were real high on coming into the draft and they're excited they got him. As a freshman at Texas, Thompson averaged 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting nearly 55% from the field. He scored a season high 26 points against Kansas State in late February, but was held to just 3 points and 6 rebounds in their season ending second round loss to Arizona.

5. Toronto Raptors -  Jonas Valaciunas - C - 7'0" 245 lbs - 19 year old 7-footer from Lithuania who will have to wait a year before joining the Raptors due to his current contract with Lietuvos Rytas of the Lithuanian Basketball League. Valaciunas has led Lithuania to FIBA Europe U-16 and U-18 championships winning MVP awards both times. With the U-16s he averaged 14.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks and then at the U-18 level he averaged 19.4 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks.

6. Washington Wizards - Jan Vesely - SF - 6'11" 240 lbs - 21 year old swingman who can play either forward position who hails from the Czech Republic. The 2010 FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year has helped lead Partizan Belgrade to 3 straight Serbian Cup Championships, Serbian League Championships and Adriatic League Championships.

7. Charlotte Bobcats - Bismack Biyombo - C - 6'9" 243 lbs - 18 year old Congolese bigman who is a monster on defense, but does not have much of an offensive game drawing numerous comparisons to Ben Wallace. Recorded a triple double at the 2011 Nike Hoops Summit with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks and made his professional debut in the Spanish ACB League with Fuenlabrada in January.

8. Detroit Pistons - Brandon Knight - PG - 6'4" 177 lbs - 19 year old point guard from Kentucky with great size. Left Kentucky after his freshman year where he led the Wildcats in scoring (17.3 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg) en route to the Final Four. Knight made just one basket in Kentucky's tournament opener against Princeton, but it was a game winning layup with 2 seconds remaining. Knight followed that game up with a season high 30 points against West Virginia in the second round.

9. Charlotte Bobcats - Kemba Walker - PG - 6'1" 184 lbs - Walker joins Biyombo as the Hornets, like the Cavs got a pair of Top Ten picks. A 21 year old point guard from Connecticut, Walker saw his scoring average improve from 8.9 points per game as a freshman, to 14.6 points as a sophomore and finally to 23.5 points last year as a junior. He also led the Huskies on a remarkable 11 game run through the Big East and NCAA Tournaments where he averaged 24.6 points per game. Scored 36 points against San Diego State in the Sweet 16, but that was still 6 shy of his season high against Vermont back in November.

10. Sacramento Kings - Jimmer Fredette - PG - 6'3" 196 lbs - 22 year old guard from BYU who was the first player taken in this draft that actually had 4 years of college experience. Fredette led the nation in scoring (28.9 ppg) this year and I actually had the opportunity to see him play in person against Florida at the Sweet 16. Despite an off night (hit just 3 of 15 3's), Fredette still finished with 32 points and was surprisingly adept at getting to the rim against a much bigger, more athletic Florida team. He joins a Kings team with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins in what could be an explosive offense next season.

11. Golden State Warriors - Klay Thompson - SG - 6'7" 206 lbs - 21 year old shooting guard with good size out of Washington State. Led the Cougars in scoring his junior year with 21.6 points per game while also chipping in 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Hit 8 3-pointers and scored 43 points, a Pac-10 tournament record, in a 2-point loss to rival Washington in March. Helped Washington State to the NIT semifinals, but was held to just 6 points in a 31 point loss to Wichita State.

12. Utah Jazz - Alec Burks - SG - 6'6" 193 lbs - 19 year old guard from Colorado led the Buffaloes in scoring as a sophomore with 20.5 points per game and was their second leading rebounder (6.5 per game). After narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament, helped Colorado to the NIT semifinals where they fell by one point to Alabama. Burks had 20 points in a losing effort. Scored a season high 36 points in a win over Missouri in January.

13. Phoenix Suns - Markieff Morris - PF - 6'9" 241 lbs - 21 year old twin brother of Marcus Morris who spent the past three years with Kansas. Finished second on the team behind his brother in scoring as a junior and led the Jayhawks in rebounding. Averaged 14.3 points and 9.5 rebounds during the Jayhawks NCAA tournament run that ended with a loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the Elite Eight. Morris had 13 points and 12 rebounds, but turned the ball over 8 times in the loss.

14. Houston Rockets - Marcus Morris - PF - 6'9" 230 lbs - 21 year old picked 5 minutes after his brother, Marcus is projected to be more of a small forward than a power forward at the NBA level. Marcus led Kansas in scoring as a junior with 17.2 points per game and was second on the team in rebounding behind his twin brother Markieff. Marcus had 20 points and 16 rebounds in Kansas's loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the Elite Eight.

15. San Antonio Spurs - Kawhi Leonard - SF - 6'7" 228 lbs - 19 year old who was arguably the best player on a San Diego State team that came out of nowhere to go 34-3 last season. Finished his sophomore season as the team's leader in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 ppg) and led the Aztecs to the Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship. Scored 12 points and had 9 rebounds in their Sweet 16 loss to eventual NCAA Champion Connecticut.

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