2011 NBA Draft

Brown Mamba’s 2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Each year, college basketball seems to get worse and worse. Gone are the days I could name every player on Duke, UCLA, North Carolina, or even LMU (Jeff Frye, anyone?) Today, you’d be hardpressed to get me to recognize the likes of such college basketball 1st and 2nd round “talent” as Klay Thompson and Tyler Honeycutt. Making matters worse, the NBA draft has become a showcase of who can pick the more obscure European talent (and if you’re in the 2nd round, then African talent). That being said, the NBA draft is a great time because it starts a long, hopeful process for fans of the have nots of the league to begin hoping and dreaming that their Hasheem Thabeet can develop an offensive game and become a dominant force that will guide their team for years to come. Unfortunately, in most cases, that dream winds up in the development league faster than you can say “untapped potential”.

With all this being said however, there are always some teams that seem to come out of the NBA draft smelling like a rose, and then there are the Minnesota Timberwolves. Without further adieu, the 2011 NBA Draft winners and losers are:


Charlotte Bobcats – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. After unceremoniously being dumped by the Portland Trailblazers (why the hell did you try to save our team by stealing away Gerald Wallace mid-season?), Rich Cho re-emerges looking like the bright guy in the room. In one day, he reinvented the Bobcats and actually gave them a few assets looking into the future. First of all, he shipped  Stephen “great for helping your team make the playoffs in his first year, terrible for long term chemistry” Jackson out of town along with the $3MM+ left on Shaun Livingston’s contract. This netted him a tremendous defensive prospect in Bismack Biyombo (with Corey Maggette to fill the Stephen Jackson void while the team rebuilds its core). Cho closed out Bobcat activity by drafting the small, but feisty Kemba Walker. Given Walker’s size, I’m not sure I love this pick, but it’s a good value down at no. 9 considering his collegiate pedigree. Lastly, all of this activity ensured that the Bobcats fell out of the true NBA wasteland, being an annual 30-45 win team. This type of team has no hope of ever getting better (because you are alway in the mid-1st round). By completing depleting their talent, the Bobcats have given themselves a real shot to be relevant again in 2-3 years.

Houston Rockets – Some teams just get it. And the Houston Rockets with their resident MIT stat geek Daryl Morey are one of those teams. Shortly after taking Jonny Flynn,  a former no. 6 overall pick, off the hands of David Kahn, the Rockets turned around and drafted Marcus Morris. Morris is a high upside forward from Kansas whose scoring and rebounding figures increased each of the 3 years he was with the Jayhawks. To top off the night, the Rockets dumped salary in advance of the impeding CBA by shipping Brad Miller and the 2 years remaining on the $15M contract he signed last year to the Wolves as well.

Detroit Pistons – Joe Dumars, please do not try to take any credit for this. You’re still a terrible GM, but Brandon Knight has the potential to be one of the top 2-3 players in this draft, so pat yourself on the back…(ok, and now kick yourself again for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva)

Dallas Mavericks – The hits keep coming for Mark Cuban and the Comeback kids. Getting Rudy Fernandez for nearly nothing (a low 1st round pick) is a stroke of genius. Fernandez has always been an underrated player and should thrive in a Dallas offense that relies on ball movement and outside shooting.

Washington Wizards – Getting Chris Singleton with the 18th pick might have been the steal of the first round. Singleton is an experienced defender from Florida State who should be a no brainer to stick in the NBA for years to come. This is as bankable an 18th pick as you will typically find.

Honorable Mention:

San Antonio Spurs – nice job trading George Hill at what is probably the peak of his trade value and getting a player in Kawhi Leonard that has lottery level talent.

Utah Jazz – kudos to the Jazz for not getting sucked into the “Jimmer would be a cool white guy to have playing in Salt Lake” trap. From the little I’ve seen of Enes Kanter, I think the guy has tremendous upside. With the #3 pick and given the remaining talent left on the board, this is a bit of a risk, but one that could pay off big time for the Jazz.

Minnesota Timberwolves — Another GM, David Kahn, that deserves no credit for this. Derrick Williams is the most NBA ready talent in the draft and should make for a nice Williams-Love frontline for years to come.


Cleveland Cavaliers– Sorry Dan, you have the no. 1 and no.4 picks in the draft and you end up with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Just to give you a sense of what those picks could get you in prior drafts, look at some of these players taken #1 and #4 over the last 10 years:

2009 – Blake Griffin and Tyreke Evans

2008 – Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook

2005 – Andrew Bogut and Chris Paul

2003 – LeBron James and Chris Bosh

2002 – Yao Ming and Drew Gooden

2001 – Kwame Brown and Eddy Curry (just kidding)

I omitted years where 1 of the players didn’t pan out, but at least in most of those cases, the other player was Dwight Howard, John Wall, and so on.  Irving and Thompson, while having the potential to be nice players, are not the type of loot you expect to take home when select the first and fourth best players in college basketball.

Golden State Warriors — It will take Jerry West some time to turn this stinker around. In the meantime, the Warrior continue to build a team as if they were playing the Harlem Globetrotters. Klay Thompson may be a nice offensive player, but he is sorely lacking in the skills the Warriors really need. Hopefully for the Logo, someone will be willing to jump on the Monta Ellis grenade.

Sacaramento Kings — Primarily for 2 reasons: why would you trade down to take Jimmer Fredette instead of Brandon Knight? And, what the hell is John Salmons going to do for you with Tyreke Evans now slotted in at the 2 guard?

Honorable Mention:

Los Angeles Lakers – Four 2nd round picks? What did you plan to do with all of those? One to carry each of Vanessa Bryant’s leopard print bags?


9 Responses to “Brown Mamba’s 2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers”

  1. Don’t sleep on Tristan Thompson. The kid has a ton of talent and he was a big part of the Longhorns’ success this past year where some didn’t think they would be that good because they lost a lot.

    Posted by Milhouse | June 24, 2011, 2:36 pm
  2. Brown Mamba just wanted to let you know Marcus Morris played for the Kansas Jayhawks not the Memphis Tigers. Nonetheless, still enjoyed the article.

    Posted by LuiScola | June 25, 2011, 10:38 am
  3. Thanks for the catch Luis. Post has been updated.

    Also thank you for being a consistent 8th round sleeper pick in each of my last few fantasy NBA drafts.

    Posted by Brown Mamba | June 25, 2011, 2:11 pm
  4. So, instead of bashing the cavs’ picks, who would you take at #1 and #4 that would’ve been so much better than irving/thompson?

    Posted by boyer | June 27, 2011, 8:40 am
    • Boyer — this wasn’t really my point. My point was that of all the years that the Cavs could have had both picks, this was one of the worst outcomes that could have been had in the last 10 years (at least). This is mostly bad luck (but partially lack of foresight).

      That being said, can’t really quibble with #1 being Irving (you can reasonably argue Derrick Williams if a surer thing, but it’s close enough where it’s tough to judge this pick). Not a huge fan of Tristan Thompson at #4. I would have gone Brandon Knight or even Valanciunas.

      Posted by Brown Mamba | July 6, 2011, 11:40 pm
  5. I think Williams/Knight would’ve been a better combo for the Cavs. You can either start Williams at the SF depending on how he looks early or bring him off the bench to play significant minutes at that spot. He’ll give you more offense and, overall, looks to be more NBA ready than Thompson who, at the moment, looks to be a slightly smaller version of Hickson. Also, while I’m blah about Irving/Knight, I think Knight is more athletic and since it looks like either one of them would be sitting behind B Diddy for now, I don’t think Irving was a must have at #1.

    Posted by ks | June 27, 2011, 9:51 am
  6. I’m sure you are kicking yourself about the cavs being losers in the draft especially with Kyle Irving.

    Posted by ben | March 12, 2012, 9:39 am

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