The 2011 NBA Draft was definitely one of the best ones in recent history. There has already been three all-stars from this draft, and that number will only increase as these players enter their prime. While this draft had a few busts at the top like Derrick Williams, Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo, and Jimmer Fredette, the talent taken throughout the entire draft is astonishing. With the last pick, 60th overall, the Sacramento Kings found Isiah Thomas, an all-star. Chandler Parsons was taken in the 2nd round as well, and there were many great players taken in this draft.
30 – Chicago Bulls – Jan Vesely
Jan Vesely didn’t work out with Washington, but there was potential with him. He was a 6’11” highly athletic player who played hard defense. Vesely averaged 2.5 steals and 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes in his 3rd NBA season. He also had a 3.2 defensive box plus/minus that year, and offensively he shot 52.1% from the field for his whole career. Under head coach Tom Thibodeau, Vesely could have been a real weapon off the bench. With Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Omer Asik, and later Pau Gasol in the rotation, there would be time for Vesely to develop his offense as well.
29 – San Antonio Spurs – E’Twaun Moore
E’Twaun Moore established himself as a reliable role player with the Bulls. He started off as a bench warmer and worked his way into a role in which he started 22 games in 2015-2016. He played so well that he earned himself a four year contract with New Orleans. Last season Moore averaged 7.5 points on 48.1% shooting and 45.2% from three. He is the kind of player that Gregg Popovich would love to have on his team for his basketball instinct, chip on his shoulder from teams passing him up, and shooting ability.
28 – Chicago Bulls – Shelvin Mack
Shelvin Mack proved he belonged in the league as a rotational player with Utah last season. When he took over as the starting guard, Mack averaged 12.7 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 31.4 minutes per game on 44.4% shooting from the field and 35.7% from three. The Jazz outscored their opponents by 7.7 points per 100 possessions with Mack on the court, which was 7.5 points per 100 possessions better than without Mack on the court. The Bulls needed a young back-up point guard for the longest time after Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks‘ unreliable play, and even now they have an unproven Jerian Grant at the back-up point guard spot.
27 – New Jersey Nets – Kyle Singler
Kyle Singler can shoot three pointers. That is one of the only things he is good for at the NBA level, but it counts for a lot. Singler is a career 37.0% three point shooter, and a 40.5% shooter on corner threes. At 6’8″ and 228 pounds, he isn’t particularly athletic, but he was a star at Duke. The Nets had very little stability at small forward, as there were eight nets who played the position primarily alone and even more who got time at the position. Singler could be a floor spacer at the forward or two guard spot at the very least.
26 – Dallas Mavericks – Jon Leuer
Jon Leuer has very quietly been a nice player in the NBA. He has a career .106 win shares per 48 minutes, and is a prototype stretch four at 6’10” and 228 pounds and 37.5% career mark on three pointers. Leuer had a bigger role with Phoenix this past season, and he thrived. Despite the lack of team success, Leuer posted offensive and defensive ratings of 107 and 106, started 27 games, and averaged 16.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes. After starting off as a 2nd round pick, Leuer has yet to disappoint in the NBA. Dallas has a great power forward with a shot in Dirk Nowitzki obviously, but his back-ups haven’t been the best. Leuer could play a major role off the bench for Dallas as Nowitzki continues to age.
25 – Boston Celtics – Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert is a great defensive player. He has managed to overcome a complete lack of an NBA-level three point shot to become a key member of the 56-26 2013 Knicks and the World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Shumpert’s teams are a career 5.1 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court. His box score averages of 7.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game are more modest, but he does put up a solid 1.8 steals per 36 minutes. He would fit in well with the Celtics for his defensive versatility.
24 – Oklahoma City Thunder – Lavoy Allen
Lavoy Allen is not known by casual NBA fans, but he has been a good part of the Pacers and 76ers teams he’s been on since coming into the league. Allen is very mobile for a 6’9″ and 255 pound player, and he uses his size and mobility to play the pick and roll effectively (66.8% on shots under three feet deep.) Allen has 12.1 win shares in five seasons as a back-up big. He’s averaged 5.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game. He gives Oklahoma City some front court depth for them to deal with Kendrick Perkins‘ ineffectiveness.
23 – Houston Rockets – Donatas Motiejunas
Donatas Motiejunas was taken by the Rockets originally in this draft as well, and with the exception of not coming over until 2012-2013, and getting injured for much of 2015-2016, it has been worth it. Motiejunas is a 7’0″ power forward that, in 2014-2015, started 62 games (and played 71) for the 57-25 Houston Rockets team, he averaged 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 50.4% and 36.8% from three. He is a good fit alongside James Harden with his ability to score in analytically-friendly ways, and the Rockets keep him in the re-draft.
22 – Denver Nuggets – Alec Burks
Alec Burks has dealt with some unfortunate injuries these past two years, missing a total of 106 games over that time, but he has shown the ability to score the basketball at a high level. Per 36 minutes, Burks averaged 18.6 points last year, and he’s averaged over 13.3 points per game over the past three seasons. On Denver, the Nuggets seemingly addressed their two guard issue by drafting Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley, but Burks is more proven then them, and is much better than Randy Foye, who has been used at the spot in recent years.
21 – Portland Trailblazers – Cory Joseph
Cory Joseph keeps getting better and better. After developing into a championship bench player for San Antonio, Joseph became a key contributor for the Conference Finalist Toronto Raptors. Portland does not have a great back-up for Damian Lillard, as Brian Roberts and Tim Frazier both left the Blazers. Joseph has 11.8 win shares (.111 per 48 minutes) his career, and averages 6.1 points, 2.3 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game on 46.0% shooting.
20 – Minnesota Timberwolves – Markieff Morris
Markieff Morris stirred a lot of drama during the 2015-2016 season, but before the Phoenix Suns traded his brother Marcus, and since the Suns traded Markieff Morris to Washington, Morris has been a dynamic power forward. Morris holds career averages of 11.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game. Morris even won the player of the week award in November of 2013. On Minnesota, Morris would be an excellent back-up to Kevin Love in his first years there, and if they trade him, a great starter alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.
19 – Charlotte Hornets – Derrick Williams
Derrick Williams is one of the larger busts in recent years, but there was a reason he was selected as highly as he was in 2011. Williams dominated in the college game, but his 56.8% three point shot during his last collegiate season abandoned him in the pros, as Williams is now a career 29.9% three point shot. This decline hurt Williams’ efficiency, and therefore his justification for minutes greatly. That said, Williams thrived this past season as a New York Knick. Williams appeared in 80 games, and started in nine. He posted career highs in win shares (3.6 and .120 per 48 minutes,) PER (17.2,) and it was the first team Williams had a positive rating differential with 110 on the offensive end, and 108 defensively. Williams also averaged 18.7 points per 36 minutes on 45.0% shooting, and when he was given 30-39 minutes in a game, Williams averaged 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds in 33.2 minutes per game on 50.0% shooting. Charlotte could use the talent, especially at power forward, and they are a team that woul give him the big minutes he thrived with.
18 – Washington Wizards – Bismack Biyombo
Bismack Biyombo is a game changer. He has been unbelievable for his team’s success. Biyombo’s great defensive play and rim protecting abilities are what got the Toronto Raptors to the conference finals after Jonas Valanciunas got injured. In the last three seasons, Biyombo’s offensive and defensive ratings have been 116 and 100. He assembled 13.1 win shares (.153 per 48 minutes) in a back-up center role, and Biyombo has finished top-ten in the NBA in blocks and block percentage three of his five seasons in the NBA. On Washington, Biyombo and the 6th overall pick would form an intimidating front line to play with John Wall. They wouldn’t have to give up assets to acquire Nene and Marcin Gortat.
17 – New York Knicks – Marcus Morris
Marcus Morris overtook his brother as Morris number one last season in a great year with Detroit. Morris averaged 14.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 36.2% from three in 2015-2016. Morris’ versatility in Stan Van Gundy’s system was key to the Pistons making the playoffs and finishing the season 17-9. Morris would be good insurance to have as a back-up to the oft-injured Amare Stoudemire, and when the Knicks get rid of Stoudemire, they have a perfectly good starting forward, and one that would play well with Carmelo Anthony.
16 – Philadelphia 76ers – Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris has been a steal in every acquisition he’s been a part of. The Bucks got him in a draft-day steal of a trade at 19th overall with Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston for Corey Maggette, Jimmer Fredette, and John Salmons in 2011. Then the Magic got him with Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih for just Gustavo Ayon, Ish Smith, and a six week lease on J.J. Redick before he left in free agency. Then, the Pistons got him for Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings. Harris averaged 15.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in 33.2 minutes per game for Orlando on 46.3% shooting. After being traded to Detroit, Harris then averaged 16.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on 47.7% shooting and 37.5% from three. Harris is a dangerous player at 6’9″ and 235 pounds.
15 – Indiana Pacers – Brandon Knight
Brandon Knight has been stuck in many unfortunate situations, but he has played admirably in all of them. Getting drafted to the Pistons during their rebuilding years was rough before the Van Gundy era begun. They had little perimeter shooting, which made it hard for their players to score. Then Knight went to the Bucks during their dark years, and they turned into a playoff team under his play among other reasons. Now Knight is stuck on the Suns in their rebuilding years, but he is still playing excellently. Knight averaged a career high 19.6 points per game last season with Phoenix, this was in a career in which he’s averaged 15.9 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in 32.9 minutes per game and a 36.0% three point shot. On Indiana, Knight could have been the piece that pushed them to the NBA finals. George Hill and Darren Collison are both solid point guards, but they aren’t at Knight’s level. A team with Knight, Collison, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Danny Granger, David West, Tyler Hansbrough, and Roy Hibbert could very well have made the NBA Finals since the Pacers took LeBron James to seven games in 2012-2013.
14 – Houston Rockets – Nikola Mirotic
Nikola Mirotic took three years to come over from Serbia and the Spanish League, but he made these last two seasons count. After winning Spanish League MVP, Mirotic has spent the last two seasons as one of the best young stretch fours, he’s averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game. His 35.5% three point shot doesn’t reflect his ability to make the ones that aren’t the ill-advised deep 30 footers Mirotic takes. Despite his shot selection, Mirotic has career offensive and defensive ratings of 109 and 102, he has 9.6 win shares (.140 per 48 minutes,) and the Bulls have been 3.4 points per 100 possessions better with Mirotic on the court. On Houston, Mirotic could play well in the Rockets’ fast paced offense, and they would definitely use his excellent three point shot effectively.
13 – Phoenix Suns – Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter is a superstar waiting to be unleashed. There are few players who have dominated on the offensive end quite like Kanter has since he arrived in Oklahoma City. To close out the 2014-2015 season, Kanter averaged 18.7 points and 11.0 rebounds on 56.6% shooting and 75.0% from three. Kanter had a 24.9 PER, and got .220 win shares per 48 minutes. Kanter followed it up this season with the same level of efficiency. He had a 24.0 PER, .226 win shares per 48 minutes, and offensive and defensive ratings of 123 and 105. Kanter’s 21.7 points and 13.9 rebounds per 36 minutes on 57.6% shooting and 47.6% shooting from three are incredible. On a team like Phoenix, Kanter could be the guy in the front court.
12 – Utah Jazz – Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson has been a beast since earning a starting role. On Detroit, Jackson has averaged 18.5 points, 7.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds in 31.1 minutes per game. Jackson, a player who has always been able to score, took the next step as a playmaker by finishing 9th in assist percentage in 2016. Jackson won player of the week twice last season, and he got 6.9 win shares last year as well. The Utah Jazz spent a lot of time looking for a point guard, going through Devin Harris, Mo Williams, Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Raul Neto, Shelvin Mack, and now George Hill since Jackson was drafted, and acquiring Jackson would have saved them a lot of trouble, and it would create a great point guard with their other talented players like the 3rd pick, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert.
11 – Golden State Warriors – Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is not Klay Thompson (the original selection,) but he is the best available player. Vucevic has averaged 16.2 points and 10.7 rebounds in 32.7 minutes per game on 51.6% shooting with the Magic. He has a PER 0f 19.8, 22.2 win shares (.119 per 48 minutes,) and a player of the week selection since being traded from the 76ers. Vucevic’s defense has been questioned, but he is a 7’0″ 260 pound giant with great offensive skills. With his size, defense can be taught by the right coach. Golden State needed a center, that’s why they traded Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, but now they can get a shooter to replace Klay Thompson in exchange for Ellis to recreate their 2015 championship and 2016 record setting team.
10 – Milwaukee Bucks – Chandler Parsons
Chandler Parsons has been a good player in the league since being taken in the 2nd round by Houston. Parsons has averaged 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 33.3 minutes per game on 47.4% shooting and 38.0% shooting from three. Since entering the NBA, Parsons has 27.7 win shares (.118 per 48 minutes.) Parsons would be a good addition to the Bucks. He would be a consistent player on a team with many inconsistent players (both in health and in play) like Brandon Jennings, Larry Sanders, O.J. Mayo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jabari Parker over the years.
9 – Charlotte Bobcats – Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker has been a great selection for Charlotte. He has led them to two playoff appearances behind averages of 17.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game. Walker’s last season was one of the best by a Charlotte player. He got 9.9 win shares (.165 per 48 minutes,) and led them to a competitive seven game series against the Miami Heat. In the playoffs, he averaged 22.7 points per game. Charlotte made a great selection by picking Walker 9th in this draft, and they keep their original pick since he is still available.
8 – Detroit Pistons – Klay ThompsonKlay Thompson is now a two-time all-star, a two-time 20 point per game scorer, and a champion. The Warriors have been 13.6 points per 100 possessions better with Thompson on the court since 2013-2014 started, and Thompson has 29.5 win shares (.113 per 48 minutes) as an NBA player. There are few better shooting guards in the league today. Klay Thompson is a perfect fit for Detroit. He is an all-star wing player that can shoot the three ball. He is the perfect player for Detroit to surround Andre Drummond with when they get him, and Greg Monroe with until then.
7 – Sacramento Kings – Isaiah Thomas
Isiah Thomas has become so much more than “Mr. Irrelevant: the 60th overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft.” Thomas became the franchise player for the 48 win Boston Celtics last season after great years with Sacramento and Phoenix. Thomas averaged 22.2 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 32.2 minutes per game last season. This marked the 2nd time Thomas broke the 20 points per game mark in his career. Thomas also has a career PER of 19.7, 32.9 win shares (.148 per 48 minutes,) and his teams are 6.3 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court. Sacramento should have held on to him, and with a contract for the 7th overall pick instead of the 60th, they could have kept him.
6 – Washington Wizards – Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried’s lack of development was a bit disappointing after terrific rookie and sophomore seasons for Denver. Still, Faried has been excellent as a hustling player and a defensive energy force. Faried has 30.1 career win shares (.156 per 48 minutes,) a 19.6 career PER, offensive and defenive ratings of 114 and 105, and he averages 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per gameon 54.4% shooting. The Wizards would welcome another power forward to play with Trevor Booker and Bismack Biyombo, this drafting saves them the need to make a trade.
5 – Toronto Raptors – Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas was a great pick by the Raptors, so he’s gonna stay. Valanciunas has 25.7 win shares (.166 per 48 minutes) in four years with Toronto. The Raptors are thought of as a guard oriented team, but Valanciunas is the only reason they have finished as a near or over 50 win team the past three seasons through his defense and play on the low block. Valanciunas also has offensive and defensive ratings of 117 and 104, and he’s averged 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game. Toronto has enjoyed great success with Valanciunas, so they keep him.
4 – Cleveland Cavaliers – Tristan Thompson
Tristan Thompson is not the fourth best player in this draft, but with Cleveland, and particularly LeBron James, he fits with and plays so well and impactful. There is no way the Cavaliers could have won without Thompson’s hustle and energy. His 130 offensive rating from last season led the entire NBA, and Thompson also got 8.7 win shares primarily off the bench. Thompson is the kind of player that every NBA team would love to have, and the Cavaliers won a championship with him.
3 – Utah Jazz – Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler just keeps getting better. After starting off as a sparingly used late first round pick, Butler then became a starter and a defensive force. In 2014-2015, Butler took it to the next level by becoming a 20 point per game scorer and an all-star. Now Butler is the face of the Chicago Bulls, and the team they are building is centered around him. In the last two seasons, Butler has averaged 20.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.7 steals on 45.8% shooting. He holds career offensive and defensive ratings of 116 and 104, and has 35.5 career win shares (.169 per 48 minutes) despite the slow start, minutes wise, he got off to in the NBA. Butler would be an excellent addition to the Jazz. His perimeter defense combined with the rest of the roster’s toughness, and Rudy Gobert’s rim protecting abilities are enough to be the best defensive team in the NBA.
2 – Minnesota Timberwolves – Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is another player who continues to get better and better. After winning finals MVP at 22 years old in 2013-2014, Leonard became an all-star player behind averages of 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds,2.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game on 50.6% shooting and 44.3% from three. Leonard’s length and wing span make it nearly impossible for his opponents to both score on him and defend against him. Leonard holds career offensive and defensive ratings of 117 and 98, and he has 41.8 career win shares (.207 per 48 minutes,) including 13.7 this past season. With Leonard and Kevin Love, Minnesota has a core for years to come, and a pass first point guard to set them up for success in Ricky Rubio.
1 – Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving can ball. That was undisputed this postseason, as he dominated over two-time league MVP Stephen Curry. Irving may not have the kind of impact on both ends of the court as Leonard or Butler, but he has the most dynamic offensive game of anyone in this draft. Like Tristan Thompson, Irving was a member of the Cavaliers team that won the championship this past season, and there is no reason to split this team up. Irving is a three-time all-star with career averages of 20.8 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 34.0 minutes per game on 45.2% and 37.8% three point shooting. Irving has 31.4 win shares (.144 per 48 minutes,) and he would have even more if health was on his side. It’s in the post season where Irving really steps up. His statistics from the 2016 playoffs include 25.2 points per game, 47.5% shooting and 44.0% three point shooting, .210 win shares per 48 minutes, and a 24.4 PER. This was against some of the best point guards in the NBA like Reggie Jackson, Jeff Teague, Kyle Lowry, and of course Steph Curry. The Cavs keep Irving in the re-draft.