At the time of the 2011 NBA Draft, it was looked at as a weak draft outside of Kyrie Irving. Many touted it as a one star draft, with a bunch of ehh guys to follow.
Looking back on the 2011 draft class, the scouts and many of the General Managers were dead wrong. Sure Kyrie Irving lived up to the pre draft hype, winning a NBA title and becoming one of the games best offensive players. But they miss judged many great talents.
This draft class features Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Isaiah Thomas, and Nikola Vucevic. The only player out of those to be selected in the top 8 was Kyrie Irving.
So let’s rewind the tape to the 2011 NBA Draft and redraft the top 10 picks, saving some of these GM’s jobs.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers Select Kawhi Leonard
This is no shot at the Cavaliers as they made the right decision at the time. And Irving produced like a number one overall pick should. The Cavs won a title in the Kyrie era so they are happy with the pick even to this day. But the fun in redrafting is actually redrafting.
There is no debate that Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving are in different stratosphere’s of the caliber of player. Leonard has been the best two way player in the league for years now, and led two teams to NBA titles. Leonard, when healthy, is a top 3 player in the league, something the Cavs only had when LeBron James played for them.
Originally Drafted 15th
2. Minnesota Timberwolves Select Kyrie Irving
Irving doesn’t slide far in this draft, just one spot to the Minnesota Timberwolves. It would have been the easiest pick to make as the talent gap between Kyrie and the rest is substantial. The Wolves have not always had great ability to draft point guards, as they once selected both Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flinn over Steph Curry. Drafting Irving would have given them stability and a true superstar player for the first time since Kevin Garnett left.
Would Irving elevate the Wolves to a title like he did in Cleveland? Not likely as Lebron James wouldn’t be playing in Minnesota. However his flashy handles and elite scoring would be loved by the fanbase.
Originally Drafted 1st
3. Utah Jazz Select Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson, the best spot up shooter maybe ever, rises the draft board all the way to 3. Thompson’s 3 point shooting and defensive ability would provide the Jazz with a well needed wing threat. We don’t know how Thompson performs without his splash brother, but I am sure his pure abilities would translate any system.
Originally Drafted 11th
4. Cleveland Cavaliers Select Kemba Walker
Crazy to think the Cavs had two top 5 draft picks in this loaded draft and still managed to screw it up. But this time around, the Cavs make the right selection at 4, selecting Jimmy Butler. Pairing Butler with Leonard would give the Cavs a lethal two way player duo for the next decade plus. Sure both were slow to breaking out, but once they did, they’ve been elite players in the league.
Tell me would you rather Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, or Leonard and Butler?
Originally Drafted 30th
5. Toronto Raptors Select Kemba Walker
With Kyrie off the board, the Raptors get the next best guard in the draft, Kemba Walker. Walker’s ability and production has been hidden with his tenure in Charlotte, but his short time in Boston has shown how good he is. Walker would bring scoring and playmaking to Toronto, sliding alongside a young DeMar DeRozan as the building blocks up north.
Originally Drafted 9th
6. Washington Wizards Select Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris has never reached that elite level, but has proved to be a skilled scorer and capable 3rd option on a good team. If drafted by the Wizards, he would have been the ideal 3rd option among a young core of John Wall and Bradley Beal. They would play at a fast pace and worry about defense later.
Originally Drafted 19th
7. Sacramento Kings Select Nikola Vucevic
The fit here isn’t ideal as the Kings had DeMarcus Cousins at this point. But the Kings always operate backwards, so pairing two skilled big men during an era of going small may actually have been a decent idea. Cousins and Vucevic would have been the modern day twin towers, and dominated the paint in every matchup.
Originally Drafted 16th
8. Detroit Pistons Select Isaiah Thomas
The Detroit Pistons have struggled for years to find a replacement for Chauncey Billups at point guard. Isaiah Thomas, who originally got drafted with the last pick in the draft sky rickets to pick 8. With not much talent on the team, Thomas would get a chance to shine as the number one option and ball handler.
Originally Drafted 60th
9. Charlotte Bobcats (Hornets) Select Tristan Thompson
This is the first time we see a team get screwed in this re draft. The Hornets got lucky in 2011 snagging Kemba Walker. But this time around they have to settle for the best talent left on the board, Tristan Thompson. While we look at him now as an overpaid role-player, Thompson does provide rim protection and scoring off lob passes. That is something every team looks for out of their center in today’s league.
Originally Drafted 4th
10. Milwaukee Bucks Select Bojan Bogdanovic
Looking at the Bucks today, they are built with three point shooters around Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bojan Bogdanovic fits that role. He has a high IQ and always finds himself in the right spot to knock down shots or make a play for himself. He would develop nicely around Giannis and the eventual Bucks offense.
Originally Drafted 31st