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Re-Drafting the 2011 NBA Draft lottery picks

Like most other draft classes, the 2011 NBA Draft produced its fair share of All-Stars, busts, and second-round steals. Hindsight is of course 20/20 and it’s easy to go back and laugh at some of the worst picks of the draft while simultaneously marveling over certain players falling down draft boards.

If you could go back in time knowing what you know now, how would the 2011 NBA Draft lottery unfold?

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Original pick: Kyrie Irving

New Pick: Kawhi Leonard

You really can’t go wrong with picking Irving again here as he is certainly one of the best NBA point guards in the league today. However, if I have a choice between Leonard and Irving, I’m taking the Klaw more times than not.

Already a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year at just 28 years old, Leonard is a lockdown defender with a fantastic offensive skillset to match.


2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Original Pick: Derrick Williams

New Pick: Kyrie Irving

Yes the Timberwolves would finally get to see Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio in action in 2011 but as we all know, Rubio wasn’t quite the player that he was cracked up to be.

Regardless, the T-Wolves would be happy to land a bonafide star at point guard with the second overall pick. Irving has been named an NBA All-Star in six of his nine seasons in the league and when you compare it to the incredibly underwhelming career of Williams, this pick becomes even better.


3. Utah Jazz

Original Pick: Enes Kanter

New Pick: Klay Thompson

It was incredibly difficult to choose between Thompson and Jimmy Butler for this pick but you really can’t go wrong with either so I went with Thompson seeing as he is already one of the best shooters in NBA history.

Kanter is a great role player but certainly wasn’t worth the third overall selection. Now, the Jazz has Thompson to pair with young stars Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap.


4. Cleveland Cavaliers 

Original Pick: Tristan Thompson

New Pick: Kemba Walker

The only reason I’m choosing Walker over Butler for this pick is that the Cavs already drafted a wing in Leonard with the first pick. Nonetheless, Walker is no consolation prize and in his nine NBA seasons, the former UConn star has developed into a scoring machine at point guard.

Walker keeps the Bobcats/Hornets afloat for years and maybe he’d have a better chance of success next to Leonard for this new Cavs squad.


5. Toronto Raptors

Original Pick: Jonas Valanciunas 

New Pick: Jimmy Butler

The Raptors picked a really solid center in Valanciunas with this pick but it’s hard to believe that the team wouldn’t prefer the talents of Butler.

In our timeline, Butler is one of the better two-way players in the league and I have no reason to believe that things wouldn’t turn out the same if the Marquette star ended up in Canada.


6. Washington Wizards

Original Pick: Jan Vesley

New Pick: Tobias Harris

I feel like people don’t talk about how much of a bust Vesley was for Washington. Regardless, with a second chance, the Wizards right the ship by taking Tennessee forward Tobias Harris.

Harris has been one of the more underrated scorers in the NBA over the past few years as he has averaged 18.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game — way better value at pick No. 6.


7. Sacramento Kings 

Original Pick: Bismack Biyombo

New Pick: Nikola Vucevic

It looked like Biyombo was going to carve out quite the career but after a breakout season, things fell apart for the Congolese big man.

As for Vucevic, playing in Orlando has hurt his reputation as one of the best better men in the NBA today. A constant 20-10 threat, Vucevic would prepare the Kings for the eventual departure of DeMarcus Cousins.



8.Detroit Pistons

Original Pick: Brandon Knight

New Pick: Isaiah Thomas

If this article was written after Thomas’ breakout 2016-17 NBA season with the Boston Celtics, the undersized point guard would be much higher on this list. Unfortunately, a hip injury has derailed Thomas’ career as of late.

Still, Thomas has put together three seasons of 20-plus points per game in his career and is a much better option than Knight.


9. Charlotte Bobcats

Original Pick: Kemba Walker

New Pick: Jonas Valciunas 

While the Bobcats (now the Hornets) don’t get Walker in this scenario, they do get a consistent and underrated big man. He’ll probably never be an All-Star but he’s a fantastic supporting piece.


10. Milwaukee Bucks

Original Pick: Jimmer Fredette

New Pick: Bojan Bogdanovic

Setting aside Fredette’s failure of an NBA career, Bogdanovic has very quietly developed into a top-notch scorer in the NBA.

This past season, Bogdanovic averaged over 20 points per game through 63 games and obviously provides a much bigger impact than Fredette did at the pro level.


11. Golden State Warriors

Original Pick: Klay Thompson

New Pick: Marcus Morris

While the Warriors are certainly getting a downgrade here by missing out on Thompson, Morris has become a really solid NBA player in recent years.

It took a while for Morris to show his full potential in the league but in the last few seasons, Morris has shown the ability to be an impact scorer and all-around player. His nearly 20 points per game in 43 games with the New York Knicks this season prove that.


12. Utah Jazz

Original Pick: Alec Burks

New Pick: Enes Kanter

Turns out, the Jazz still ends up with Kanter. Except for this time, it’s with the 12th overall pick. Despite Kanter’s reputation as a defensive liability and questionable fit in today’s perimeter-centric NBA, you can’t deny that the Turkish big man fits his niche very well.

A fantastic rebounder and post scorer, Kanter offers solid value at No. 12.


13. Phoenix Suns

Original Pick: Markieff Morris 

New Pick: Tristan Thompson

While he may not be fourth overall pick good, Thompson is a serviceable big man in the NBA and has proven to be a solid piece for any team.

Markieff Morris is also a solid role player but Thompson has been a consistent double-double threat for most of his career and provides good defense despite being undersized.


14. Houston Rockets

Original Pick: Marcus Morris

New Pick: Nikola Mirotic

Despite opting to voluntarily return to the EuroLeague this season, Mirotic has had quite a successful six seasons in the league.

Mirotic wouldn’t actually join an NBA team until 2014 but after that, career averages of 12.3 and 5.9 with an excellent outside shot prove that the 6-foot-10 power forward deserves to be considered one of the better players in the 2011 draft class.