Friday, June 24, 2011
NBA Draft Recap: Winners and Losers
The 2011 NBA draft was one filled with great surprises, multiple trades, happy moms and disappointed fans. Now that the dust has cleared, let's take a look at who came out on top in the draft, and who needs to catch up in the free agency.
No way Brandon Knight should have fallen this far. Selecting 8th overall, the Pistons didn't have to think twice about who to select. Knight was projected to go as highly as third in most mock drafts, yet somehow he landed in Detroit's feeble hands. The Pistons also picked up a polished, fundamental player in Kyle Signler, and had a nice selection in the second round with Vernon Macklin, a fierce rebounder out of Florida.
After watching him in the Big East tournament, I thought the kid would be a top ten pick. After watching him in the NCAA Tournament, I figured he'd be the top pick in the draft. How any team could see Kemba Walker's performances in big games and still pass up on him is beyond me. His dazzling scoring ability is unstoppable and his ball handling and quickness are hazardous to all opposing defenses. The Bobcats got a steal in Walker at the 9 spot, and when you add in Tennessee's Tobias Harris in the mix, you've got two players that are going to make an impact on day one.
Everyone knows it. Boston is aging. The Celtics are aware of it, and in turn picked up two solid young players who have large amounts of potential to energize Boston off the bench and eventually start for the Celts. Oh, and they already have good chemistry, being that they both went to Purdue. JaJuan Johnson is a lean, skillful forward with shot blocking ability, and E'Twaun Moore is a smart, sharp guard who can score effectively and handle the ball well. Doc Rivers has a good group of guys to work with heading into next season.
The proudest woman on the planet last night was Angel Morris, whose two sons were drafted back-to-back in the first round of the draft. The only problem she has now is deciding whose games to attend, because this is the first time Markieff and Marcus will be on different teams in their entire lives.
It just doesn't get any better for Phoenix. Not only did they miss out on sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, but they made absolutely no strides of progress in finding a replacement for aging point guard Steve Nash. Aaron Brooks is not going to cut it. There's no doubt Markieff Morris is a solid player and a good selection, but the Suns could have made efforts to sneak up higher in the draft and possibly steal Jimmer Fredette or even Brandon Knight. Looks like it could be another average year out in Phoenix next season.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers had four picks. Good, right? Not if they're all in the second round. Yep, Los Angeles missed out on all of the first rounders, and even with four picks in the second round, I don't see any of those players making a difference in L.A. in the near future. It probably won't be too big of a problem right now -- but with Phil Jackson out, Kobe getting older, and Derek Fisher nearing eligibility to collect social security, the could be the beginning of the end for Los Angeles...
Poor fellow. Not only did the point guard out of Kentucky slide to the 8th spot in the draft, the joke of a franchise Detroit Pistons snatched him up, consequently ending all of Knight's hopes of becoming an All-Star. Now, instead of having a chance to develop into a strong player, Brandon Knight will mosey around in the booming economic city of Detroit and count the days until his contract expires. All he can do is hope that management in the Motor City improves, or he'll be driving a Ford right over to the Free Agency.
And that's all for this year's draft. Congrats to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who took big steps forward in drafting Kyrie Irving with the first pick and Tristan Thompson out of Texas just three picks later. This wasn't the strongest draft ever, but I do think that we will see some of these guys have tremendous impacts in their rookie seasons.
Oh, and I'm calling it. Derrick Williams 2011-2012 Rookie of the Year.
Thanks for reading.