Connect with us


Redrafting the 2011 NBA Draft

Basketball Insiders redrafts the 2011 NBA Draft. Spoiler: Kyrie Irving gets bumped from the No. 1 spot.

Ben Dowsett



As we at Basketball Insiders take turns re-picking some of the most recent NBA drafts, I can’t help but feel a bit giddy at receiving 2011 as my year. There might not be a single draft in the last decade more intriguing to reconsider a few years down the line, with legitimate NBA talent all the way from first overall to, literally, the 60th pick of the draft.

In the following re-draft, I’ll consider all the elements involved – player value, future ceiling, contract situation, team fit, you name it. I’ll list their actual draft slot in parentheses. Here’s how they’d stack up today:

  1. Kawhi Leonard, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (15th)

The best two-way player in the game is still only 23, and is still getting better. It’s a trip to imagine the trickle-down had the Cavs actually selected Kawhi, who went 15th in reality – no Kyrie Irving would have left them thin at point guard, but they may have been more inclined to use the fourth pick this same year on (or trade slightly down for) someone like Kemba Walker to fill that need. Would LeBron James still have returned home with another dominant wing on the roster, albeit one who doesn’t need the ball as often? Assuming he would have, imagining both together has to be a nightmare for wing rotations around the league.

  1. Kyrie Irving, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves (1st)

This would have been a tough spot for the Wolves, who drafted two point guards (Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn) in 2009 and viewed Rubio as the heir apparent. Knowing what we know now, a trade might have been on the horizon – Irving’s value would be too high to pass up regardless of the positional overload if they couldn’t move the pick.

  1. Klay Thompson, SG, Utah Jazz (11th)

Deciding between Thompson and Butler here is legitimately difficult, but Klay gets the nod as a more consistent shooter. With Gordon Hayward already on board, it’s okay that Thompson is a bit less of a creator on the ball. And the Jazz still held the 10th pick this year, meaning they could have pursued a potential frontcourt option there instead of taking Enes Kanter third overall.

  1. Jimmy Butler, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers (30th)

Again, assuming teams have 2015 levels of information on these players, a trade of at least one of these picks would surely be in the cards for the Cavs, who wouldn’t want to draft Leonard and Butler consecutively, but also couldn’t justify passing on either in these respective slots given the talent level.

  1. Nikola Mirotic, F, Toronto Raptors (23rd)

Things get very interesting at five, but Mirotic would be a perfect fit in Toronto. They’d likely have been able to hold onto Amir Johnson this last offseason, and that duo in the frontcourt would be spacing galore alongside Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

  1. Chandler Parsons, F, Washington Wizards (38th)

The Wizards had needs everywhere besides point guard in this draft, and any realistic option here would have been worlds better than Jan Vesely.

  1. Jonas Valanciunas, C, Charlotte Hornets (via Sacramento) (5th)

Charlotte took Bismack Biyombo here, but Valanciunas would give them a better, higher-ceiling player, plus likely allow them to look elsewhere besides Al Jefferson in free agency down the line. Things could have gone better or worse as a result, but they’d have been at a better starting point.

  1. Brandon Knight, PG, Detroit Pistons (8th)

It likely comes down to Knight or Kemba Walker for Detroit. It may be cheating a tad, but the knowledge that Andre Drummond was their 2012 pick makes selecting one of the available bigs here less likely, even if Knight isn’t on the roster anymore.

  1. Tobias Harris, F, Charlotte Hornets (19th)

Charlotte could have gone back to back and found their frontcourt foundation of the future with Valanciunas and Harris.

  1. Kemba Walker, PG, Sacramento Kings (via trade) (9th)

Walker would have been an infinitely better guard option for the Kings than Jimmer Fredette, and might have even helped the team avoid bits of controversy and mismanagement surrounding their point guard position in recent years with more consistent play.

  1. Nikola Vucevic, C, Golden State Warriors (16th)

The Warriors are likely the first team on the list who would get a markedly worse pick in a re-draft than they did in the actual draft. Vucevic has some shooting range and a good offensive game, but this would have been an abjectly bad situation for the Dubs if it had meant they passed on Andrew Bogut the following offseason along with missing out on Thompson here.

  1. Donatas Motiejunas, C, Utah Jazz (20th)

There might be better value with a few other guys in a vacuum, but Motiejunas’ fit would be fantastic in Utah. Assuming he didn’t prevent them from drafting Rudy Gobert in 2013 (unlikely), he’d be the perfect backup center – one who could play in big and small lineups, and offer much of what Enes Kanter did offensively (plus distance shooting) without anywhere near his defensive deficiencies.

  1. Kenneth Faried, F, Phoenix Suns (22nd)

It’s a close call whether Faried has more value than someone like Tristan Thompson or actual Suns pick Markieff Morris, but he gets the nod by a hair and would fit with an up-tempo style.

  1. Isaiah Thomas, PG, Houston Rockets (60th)

Assuming this exercise also gives the Rockets the clairvoyance to know that both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic would be jettisoned in the upcoming years, Thomas would have been a great replacement.

  1. Markieff Morris, F, San Antonio Spurs (13th)

Can anyone definitively prove that Morris wouldn’t have been the latest Spurs success story, one who overcame some of the personality issues we’ve seen recently and maximized every ounce of skill in his body?

  1. Tristan Thompson, PF, Philadelphia 76ers (4th)

His 2015 playoff performance might convince some otherwise, but this is still a player badly dependent on context and teammates to succeed. Had he landed in a different situation from the jump, he might even be talked about in a lower tier. Of course, with the right group, one could justify picking him several spots higher than this.

  1. Alec Burks, SG, New York Knicks (12th)

Instead of Iman Shumpert, the Knicks may have benefitted from the presence of another guy who can create alongside Carmelo Anthony, though the difference between the two might be negligible as far as overall value.

  1. Iman Shumpert, SG, Washington Wizards (17th)

Shumpert was a rare 2011 case who was drafted right around the slot in which he’d ultimately be valued.

  1. Reggie Jackson, PG, Milwaukee Bucks (via trade) (24th)

This might seem low to some, but I don’t think Jackson is worth anywhere near his most recent contract. He can’t shoot, needs oodles of space to make things happen offensively, and is an overrated defender with previous locker room issues.

  1. Marcus Morris, F, Houston Rockets (via trade) (14th)

The lesser of the Morii could have potentially had a bit more value in a Houston organization that does a great job maximizing strengths and minimizing weaknesses.

  1. Enes Kanter, C, Portland Trail Blazers (3rd)

The biggest lottery drop besides Jan Vesely. Portland had interest in Kanter this summer, throwing a massive offer sheet his way that the Oklahoma City Thunder matched, so perhaps things would have worked out better for him there than in Utah.

  1. Bismack Biyombo, C, Denver Nuggets (7th)

They’d rather have Faried, but the Nuggets and their tempo wouldn’t be an awful spot for Biyombo.

  1. Kyle Singler, SF, Chicago Bulls (via trade) (33rd)

Another instance where the Bulls would rather have their actual pick, Mirotic, but they could have also done worse than a mostly consistent guy who knows his role on both ends of the floor.

  1. Cory Joseph, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder (29th)

With the same opportunity, is it that strange to imagine Joseph approximating much of Reggie Jackson’s production after being selected here by OKC? I don’t think so.

  1. Shelvin Mack, PG, New Jersey Nets (via trade) (34th)

He’s certainly been more valuable than MarShon Brooks, the guy the Nets picked in reality.

  1. Jon Leuer, PF, Denver Nuggets (via trade) (40th)

He’s been all over the place both value-wise and geographically in his NBA career, but his upside and shooting still warrant an inclusion in the top 30.

  1. Norris Cole, PG, Boston Celtics (via trade) (28th)

This class really thins out in the early 20s.

  1. Bojan Bogdanovic, SF, Miami Heat (via trade) (31st)

Bogdanovic was actually pretty useful in his only NBA season last year with Brooklyn, and could improve even more if his transition to the NBA yields further comfort. He might belong a bit higher.

  1. Jordan Hamilton, SF, San Antonio Spurs (26th)

Hamilton has always felt like one of those guys who could be more productive in just the right circumstance, and perhaps the Spurs could have been it.

  1. Lavoy Allen, PF, Chicago Bulls (50th)

Don’t ever suggest this alternate reality to Bulls fans.


Check back in this week for redrafts of the 2010 and 2009 classes among others. We’ll take a long look at how history could have been different if teams only could have known how their picks would have played out.

Ben Dowsett is a Deputy Editor and in-depth basketball analyst based in Salt Lake City. He covers the Jazz on a credentialed basis for Basketball Insiders, and has previously appeared in the Sports Illustrated and TrueHoop Networks. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Looking Toward The Draft: Power Forwards

Basketball Insiders continues their NBA Draft watch, this time with the power forwards.

David Yapkowitz



We got some updated NBA draft news this week when the league announced that several key dates have been pushed back including the draft, the start of free agency and the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

The 2020 draft was originally scheduled for Oct. 16, but it will now likely occur sometime in November. Obviously, with the COVID-19 pandemic still wildly out of control in the United States, all of these potential deadlines are fluid and subject to change.

With that said, we’re continuing our position by position breakdown here at Basketball Insiders of some of the top 2020 draft prospects. We looked at the point guards and shooting guards last week, and this week we’re covering the small forwards and power forwards.

The power forward crop, like the draft overall, doesn’t appear to be as strong as recent years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential contributors and high-level NBA players available, as well as one who might just turn out to be a star-caliber player.

Onyeka Okongwu, USC – 19 years old

Okongwu is the player who just might develop into a star on some level. He was actually underrated in high school and was snubbed for a McDonald’s All-American selection his senior year. He established himself early on at USC as the team’s best player as a freshman and now appears to have turned some heads.

He’s been mentioned as a lottery pick and in some mock drafts, he’s top 4-5. He possesses a great all-around skill-set; he can score in the post, he can put the ball on the floor and attack and he can shoot. But perhaps his biggest attribute is his versatility on the defensive end. He’s got quick feet and mobility and can guard multiple positions.

Okongwu might actually play center in the NBA, especially in small-ball lineups, but he’s mostly played power forward and so he’ll probably see time there in the league. His skill-set fits perfectly with today’s game.

Obi Toppin, Dayton – 22 years old

Toppin is one of the older players in the draft, and in recent history, players that age tend to slip on draft boards. In Toppin’s case, it looks like the reverse might actually be true. He’s been projected as a lottery pick, and even going in the top 3.

He’s an incredibly athletic player who thrives in the open court. He looks like he’ll do well in an up-tempo offensive system that has capable playmakers who can find him in transition. He’s extremely active around the rim and he can finish strong. A decent shooter too, something he’ll need at the next level.

Toppin has the physical tools to be an effective defensive player, but that’s where the questions marks on him have been. In the NBA, he’s likely going to have to play and guard multiple positions. Whether or not he can adapt to that likely will answer the question as to what his ceiling can be.

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis – 20 years old

Achiuwa is another intriguing prospect. this writer actually got to watch him play in person while he was in high school and he was very impressive. He looked like a man among boys. He’s projected to be a late lottery pick.

He has an NBA-ready body and he’s got some toughness around the rim and in the paint. He was a double-double threat during his one season at Memphis and his knack for rebounding is something that should translate to the NBA. He’s a very good defender too, in particular, as a rim protector. He’s very quick and has the ability to guard multiple positions.

One of the main knocks on Achiuwa is his shooting ability. He didn’t shoot that well in college and power forwards being able to space the floor is almost a requirement in today’s NBA game. It’s something he can certainly work on and improve on though.

Honorable Mentions:
Paul Reed, DePaul – 21 years old
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State – 21 years old
Killian Tillie, Gonzaga – 22 years old

Continue Reading


Looking Toward the Draft: Small Forwards

Basketball Insiders’ examination of the 2020 draft class continues with a look at the small forwards.

Drew Maresca



It was announced on Wednesday that the NBA Draft would be delayed from Oct. 16 to Nov. 18. The rationale is that the extra month gives the league and its players association more time to negotiate changes to the CBA. It also grants teams additional time to procure information on prospects and allows the NBA to establish regional virtual combines. But nothing is set in stone.

Still, draft prep must continue. This year’s draft class has more question marks than usual – which was complicated by the cancellation of the NCAA tournament (along with the NIT and a number of conference tournaments). There are incredibly skilled offensive players with limited offensive upside and jaw-droppingly talented defenders with incomplete offensive packages. But if (recent) history serves as a guide, there will be a few guys who make an immediate impact – and some of them very well could be small forwards.

The small forward position is key for the modern NBA. Want proof? Survey the league and you’ll find that most – if not all – contenders have an elite small forward – Milwaukee, Los Angeles (both), Boston, Miami, Toronto.

But the list of can’t miss small forward prospects feels smaller than usual. Scanning the numerous legitimate mock drafts (including our own by Steve Kyler), it becomes apparent that we lack a consensus on which small forwards will be selected (and in what order) after the top 3 or 4. Can any of them grow into a star? Maybe. Maybe not. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s identify what the top few bring to the table.

Deni Avdija, Israel – 19 years old

Avdija is a relatively well-rounded prospect who’s played professionally since he was 16. He boasts good height (6-foot-9) and uses it effectively to shoot over and pass around opposing defenses. Further, Avdija is an exceptional playmaker and he’s incredibly confident, enabling him to take chances many players would be apprehensive trying. Avdija is a high-IQ player. And what’s more, he’s a surprisingly strong defender. His height and above-average athleticism allow him to block shots, and he’s more physical than you’d expect him to be.

But there are drawbacks to Avdija, too. His main issue is around shooting. Avdija shot only 28% in the EuroLeague last season, and he shot only 60% from the free-throw line. Further, while he’s a decent athlete, he’ll struggle to secure a role in the NBA. He’s going to need to add speed to stay with modern wings, and he’ll also have to bulk up to bang with power forwards.

Still, Avdija’s upside is alluring. He’s only 19, and his smarts, confidence and grittiness should provide him cover for much of his rookie season. Avdija should be the first small forward off of the board.

Isaac Okoro, Auburn – 19 years old

Avdija might be the flashier name currently, but Okoro will give him a run for his money in terms of which small forward is first off the board. Okoro is built like a traditional NBA wing; he’s 6-foot-6 with good strength packed in his muscular frame (215 lbs). Okoro finishes well around the rim and he converts well through contact. He’s an exceptional athlete who excels catching the ball on the move. Like Avdija, Okoro has the poise and composure of a more experienced player. Also, like Avdija, Okoro looked the part of a high IQ player in his lone season at Auburn.

And while all that is great, the main allure of Okoro is his defense. He’s a fairly advanced defender given his age, and his athleticism and timing make him an effective weak side help defender.

While Okoro’s raw abilities are exquisite, his refined offensive skills leave something to be desired. Okoro shot 28 percent on three-point field goals and he struggled from the free-throw line (67.2 percent). His mid-range jump shot also needs work, and he struggles in isolation situations.

If Okoro can hone his offensive game, he could grow into an All-Star. He has the ability to guard multiple positions, and his strength and athleticism give him a leg up on most prospects. But even if he doesn’t become an All-Star, he possesses a fairly high floor given his defensive abilities — and the guy definitely fills the state sheet (12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, .9 steals and .9 blocks). He has lockdown defender potential and he’ll put his stamp on the game beginning on night one.

Devin Vassell, Florida State – 20 years old

Vassell played two seasons at Florida State, but he came into his own in his Sophomore season. He averaged 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot a more than respectable 41.5% on three-point attempts, and he demonstrated a strong stroke from the free-throw line (73.8 percent) and on two-point field goal attempts (53.2).

Vassell is an extremely athletic leaper, who can rise up for a highlight dunk and sprint down the floor with ease. He has good body control and demonstrated a strong mid-range game, especially his step-back jump shot. But Vassell must generate more free throws through decisive moves to the hoop, which would be bolstered by a more muscular frame. Additionally, he must improve his ball-handling to get more from isolations.

Vassell will have an adjustment period in terms of scoring the ball at the next level. Fortunately, his defense and shooting should get him by. If he can bulk up and improve his handling, Vassell could grow into a serious player.

Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt – 20 years old

Nesmith probably has a lower floor than any of the other top small forward prospects given that he’ll be 21 by the draft. Still, he looked quite good in his Junior year, averaging 23 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game on a scorching 52.2 percent shooting from deep. Nesmith is an incredibly gifted shooter who has impressive range. His ability to catch-and-shoot and create space with fakes makes him a promising prospect – for the right team.

Nesmith is a high IQ player who uses his smarts on the defensive end. He’s also quite strong, can get buckets in the open floor and demonstrates above average ball-handling skills, as long as he’s not taking the ball to the hoop.

But there are inherent limitations in Nesmith’s game. He’s doesn’t create for his teammates too effectively and he turns the ball over more frequently than one would like with. Further, Nesmith is plagued by robotic movements that limit his athleticism. His ball-handling breaks down when taking the ball to the rack – something he’ll certainly have to work on in the NBA if he wants to be a versatile scoring threat against the bigger and stronger competition.

Still, Nesmith’s positives give him an excellent chance at being selected in the first round. His range alone will intrigue teams in need of a shooter.

Honorable Mentions:

Saddiq Bey, Villanova – 21 years old

Jaden McDaniels, Washington – 19 years old

Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State – 20 years old

With the uncertainty around small forward prospects, expect to see a revolving door of names enter the discussion after the first four wing prospects are off the board prior to Nov. 16 – assuming the draft is held then. But regardless of how you have them ranked, all of the aforementioned prospects have question marks. But all have had far more time to improve than they would have in years’ past. Let’s hope that shows come next season.

Continue Reading


NBA Daily: Opposite Plotlines for Today’s Matchups

With the two matchups going on today, Matt John examines the two teams who could be in the most trouble because of one of their individual stars for opposite reasons.

Matt John



The second round of the NBA playoffs was hyped up to be one of the most entertaining we’ve had in years. So far, they haven’t fallen short of expectations. We knew that Houston and Los Angeles’ battle of opposite philosophies would make for some twists and turns. We knew that Boston and Toronto would duke it out in an Atlantic Division showdown. We knew that Miami would push Milwaukee to new heights. We didn’t really know if the Nuggets would give the Clippers a good series, but the fact that they have so far has made an intense postseason all the more gripping.

Anyway, today we’re getting two games from two series in completely opposite places. The Lakers and the Rockets will face off for the series lead, while the HEAT will try to finish off the Bucks once and for all. Below, we’re going to focus on two teams who have an individual star that either may be more flawed than we thought or one that may not be as flawed as we thought.

Bucks vs. HEAT: Giannis is great and all, but…

We all pretty much knew this was going to be a good series. We did not expect this.

The buzz surrounding Bucks v. HEAT was that Miami was going to make Milwaukee earn every win they got in this series. If that was the plan, then Miami has failed miserably, because until Khris Middleton went supernova on them on Sunday, Milwaukee had come up terribly short.

Let’s first give Miami the credit that they are due and more. With Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler alone, Miami was going to be a tough matchup for Milwaukee – but to see the Bucks all but roll over in this series is an unpleasant sight. Acquiring Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala has paid huge dividends and it’s showing. There are other factors involved, but Miami’s defensive efforts have limited Giannis to 21.8 points a game and that’s played a role in the HEAT being in the driver’s seat of this series.

Speaking of Giannis Antetokounmpo, this series has not been a good look for the Defensive Player of the Year. Especially since it looks like his second consecutive MVP (presumably) is right around the corner. So, to see both him and Milwaukee, once an unstoppable force without an immovable object in sight, get stopped by a sturdy but not immovable squad is saddening.

Nearly a year ago, Basketball Insiders compared these current Bucks to the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic from the late-2000’s/early 2010’s. To oversimplify things, both were contenders led by a superstar with a rare physique that made them tough to stop. To put the superstar in the best position, they surrounded them with playmakers and three-point shooters.

While the teams’ roster constructions weren’t exactly the same, their strengths as a team certainly were. Now we’re seeing the Bucks’ flaws just as we did the Magic 10 years ago. If you have the personnel to make the lone superstar uncomfortable, the team doesn’t function as well.

Giannis is near impossible to stop, but the one major flaw is that if you take away his ability to drive and force him into a jumper, he loses his rhythm. Even if his shot is on – never a guarantee – his opponents will let him beat them that way until he makes them pay. Hardly any team can pick on this, but the HEAT are one of them, and now they’re one win away from their first Eastern Conference Finals since LeBron James took his talents out of South Beach.

This ultimately is what puts Antetokounmpo below the likes of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard for now. Those guys are rare physical specimens like him, but their elite games don’t revolve entirely around their natural gifts as he does or Dwight did. At 25 years old, there’s plenty of time for him to change that and, for all we know, he will, but to see him struggle at a time when the conference was supposed to run through him has ignited tons of questions.

Milwaukee’s technically not out yet, but they’ve shown their mortality against Miami. If this really is it for them, then they’ve got to find a quick fix for this problem because if they don’t, then the unspeakable may happen.

Lakers vs. Rockets: Westbrook has been bad and all but…

Shaking off the rust and recovering from a balky knee would be tough for anyone. For Russell Westbrook, it’s killing his productivity and, in turn, the Rockets’ playoff chances. He’s averaging 15.6 points on 39/16/47 splits with a most recent 10-point, 4-of-15 effort from the field which included seven turnovers and air balling wide-open threes sticking out like a sore thumb.

It also doesn’t help that he’s playing the Lakers of all teams. When Westbrook has been in, the Lakers have taken advantage of his shortcomings offensively and it shows both on the court and the stat line.

Most of Westbrook’s damage is hurting Houston on the offensive end. With the All-Star guard in the game, Houston is minus-13.7 with him on the court, the worst offensive rating on the team. The 12 turnovers he’s coughed up in this series probably have something to do with that.

With Westbrook’s struggles and his predecessor Chris Paul coming off of his best individual season since 2016, this, of course, has led to many second-guessing the swap last summer. Or let’s rephrase that: People have been second-guessing that trade since the moment it was announced and, in light of recent events, they’re piling on now more than ever.

Maybe they’re right. Even after playing in the NBA for over a decade now, Westbrook still hasn’t proven that he can control himself enough to reach his potential as a team player. We’ve seen glimpses. On the other hand, Paul showed that he can still pick apart defenses while holding his own on that end.

But replacing Paul with Westbrook was Harden’s idea. He didn’t want to play with Paul anymore and chose to play with one of his closest friends. You may think that the better fit is what’s best for the team, but we’ve seen the damage that can happen when your team’s best players have friction with one another. It hurt Utah this season. It hurt Boston last season. It destroyed the Lakers back in 2013. There’s no telling what it could have done to Houston this season.

Besides, we know that as bad as Westbrook has been, he’s capable of being better. Not a knockdown shooter, not even an efficient scorer, but he has done better in the past when the focus was on him. The more days he takes to shake off the rust from his knee, the more optimistic the Rockets ought to be.

The Rockets have to take the glass-half-full on this one because they don’t really have a choice otherwise.

Continue Reading
Online Betting Site Betway
American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries



Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now