NBA Draft 2011

#1 overall pick Kyrie Irving
While March Madness ranks as my favorite sporting event of the year, the NBA Draft is a very close second. The generic terms, stellar broadcasting crew, and outrageous draft day wardrobes add to the overall upside of the draft. This year is widely considered to be the worst since the Kenyon Martin-Stromile Swift debacle of 2000. Of course Cleveland is lucky enough to pick first in this draft. Jon Barry tells them that "If you believe Kyrie Irving is the best player in the draft, you take him. If it's Derrick Williams, you take him." Uh, thanks Jon. As far as I'm concerned, both of these guys have huge risk factors. Kyrie played well, but he did miss three quarters of the season. Also, is there any doubt that Irving is nowhere near what John Wall was as a prospect? With the way Wall struggled this year, you have to be a little nervous about how he's going to play this year. Williams on the other hand, has a little bit of a Michael Beasley tweener factor going. However, Jay Bilas was quick to mention that his wingspan more than makes up for that.
Top International pick Enes Kanter

The next five picks of the draft brought us the foreigner/overvalued guy from Texas who didn't accomplish much in college and won't be very good in the pros phase. The highlights had to be Enes Kanter joining the only team in the league with multiple Turks, and Jan Vesely's girlfriend. You gotta love how after Dirk wins Finals MVP, teams go overboard trying to find his second coming, not realizing that for every Dirk or Tony Parker, there are a dozen Darko Milicics, Pavel Podkolzins, or Nikoloz Tskitishvilis. Kanter is a guy I actually like, though, mainly because of the way white guys thrive in Utah. He's joining a team that already includes Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, Kyrylo Fesenko, and Gordon Hayward. On a serious note, I really think that Utah has one of the best collection of bigs in the NBA. They have Al Jefferson (19 pts, 10 reb), Paul Millsap (17 and 8), Mehmet Okur (former all star), Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter (the last two #3 picks). Pretty solid core to build around. The Raptors snag Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas to their global roster that includes players from France, Brazil, Italy, and Spain. Next we get to Jan Vesely, one of my new favorite NBA players. From his kiss to his calling out of Blake Griffin, he is the first European in NBA history to have a personality. Not really sure what he can do on the court, but he will definitely be popular. Bismack Biyombo went 7th to Charlotte despite the fact that he has no offensive skills whatsoever, and nobody knows how old he is. I personally see him as a cross between Hasheem Thabeet and Saer Sene.

Jimmer is headed to the Kings
Next up is the point guard trio of Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, and JIMMER. First prediction: Brandon Knight is going to come into the league with a major chip on his shoulder from being passed up in favor of guys named Enes, Tristan, Jonas, and Jan, and will win Rookie of the Year in Detroit. Charlotte grabbed Kemba, which was probably a good pick as they needed someone with proven skills after grabbing the King of Upside, and trading any nearly every decent player on the roster. Jimmer unfortunately will not be playing in Utah, which breaks my heart. His biggest problem will be the culture shock of the California lifestyle, especially if the Kings make the expected move to Anaheim in 2012. For some reason, I can't see Jimmer and Orange County going well together. He'll be in Utah where he belongs in 2 years.

Kawhi Leonard
Two of my favorite players in the draft went next at 11 and 12 in Klay Thompson and Alec Burks. Of course it makes no sense for Golden State to pick a sharpshooting two guard, but he is a good player offensively at least.The more I think about it, the Warriors could potentially be the first NBA team in history to average 125 points per game and still have a losing record. The Jazz were unable to get a white guy with their second pick, so at least they got tattoo-less Alec "Not Jimmer" Burks from Colorado.

The rest of the draft was not quite as eventful, but still featured the Morris twins going back to back (including Markieff going to Phoenix, the team that swung and missed on Robin Lopez and Taylor Griffin), Kawhi Leonard (a legitimate future all star who should have gone top 10) getting drafted and traded so IUPUI legend George Hill could return home, the Knicks booing yet another pick, and Jordan Hamilton falling at an Aaron Rodgers-esque pace. Denver got Kenneth "Relentless" Faried, who prompted this Jay Bilas quote: "He's just a relentless player. You can't teach relentless. You don't have to say, Kenneth you need to be more relentless, because he's already so relentless." Relentless. Duke legend Nolan Smith also went to Portland in this range, easily the biggest reach of the draft. You know you made a bad pick when the draft analysts talk about "what a good citizen" he is. Miami went a step further torturing Cavs fans by landing hometown hero Norris Cole from Cleveland St.

All in all, while the caliber of the players in this draft sucked, it was still just as entertaining as ever. Watching future busts get raved about by Jay "Wingspan" Bilas, Dickie V going on 70 second on camera rants from his living room, and Spike Lee booing another busted pick by the Knicks just never gets old. Only 364 days until David Stern gets back up on that podium.
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