The 2011 NBA Draft looked like there would be some good players, possibly some potential All-Stars available in it’s ranks. Six years later, there are multiple members of All-NBA teams and a handful of champions from this draft.
Some of the teams near the top of the picking order from that year have to be kicking themselves that they lost out on some of the big names that got scooped up later in the draft. The talent on display in this class went far below surface level names.
With hindsight in tow, let’s look back at the 2011 Class and re-do these first selections armed with the information that fans have learned over the past half a decade watching these players go from prospects to contributors at the NBA level.
Number One: Kyrie Irving
A relative surprise as most attempts to re-order this draft stash the original pick somewhere around five to six in the rankings in an effort to pick “better” players.
After last June, there should be no argument that Irving should be able to keep his place on this list after hitting one of the biggest shots in NBA Finals history and out performing an MVP candidate on the largest stage possible.
Number Two: Kawhi Leonard
The name that most experts place at number one because of his Swiss Army Knife-like defensive prowess and increased scoring skills.
He is literally the best on-ball defender in the league and already has a Finals MVP in his possession, but would those things have happened if he had been drafted by the Wolves instead?
Number Three: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Buckets slipped all the way to 30 in the original draft order, a mistake that wouldn’t happen the second time around as he has turned into an All-Star and eclipsed Derrick Rose in Chicago.
Utah would have had an absolute stud in Butler and a franchise cornerstone to build around during all those years they have been searching for one.
Number Four: Klay Thompson
One half of the Splash Brothers wouldn’t be in the Bay Area if this draft had gone differently. In fact, he would be in the locker room with the first overall pick in the Rust Belt.
Having Thompson in Cleveland would have given the team a much better chance to compete than they had originally. Shooting and defence always get the job done.
Number Five: Isaiah Thomas
IT was the last man selected in 2011 and that is absolutely laughable given what we know about the small point guard’s game now.
The Raps may have never needed to go get Kyle Lowry and would look completely different than they do at the current moment.
Number Six: Tristan Thompson
Speaking of Cleveland’s other draft pick from that year, the Canadian-born big man would have been drafted by his a distant rival instead of ending up near Lake Erie.
Washington might have been in a better situation to evolve into what he has become and elite rebounder and constant lob threat. He probably wouldn’t have a ring now though.