The 2011 Draft Class is arguably the most stacked of this decade. This class had seven all-stars and a lot of great careers. The incredible thing about this class is that five of those all-stars were drafted outside of the top ten. There’s a lot of teams that would’ve like to go back in time and draft someone else in this one. Here’s the redraft of the 2011 NBA Lottery.
1. The Cleveland Cavaliers (via LAC)
With the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi is without question the best player in this draft. With the departure of LeBron James to Miami, the Cavaliers are desperate for any player they can get their hands on.
The Cavaliers had originally selected Kyrie Irving with the first pick, not a bad selection. Irving played on the Cavaliers for six seasons and was loved by the city. The only reason he’s not drafted there again is that Kawhi Leonard is just too good for any team to pass up.
Leonard had a slow start to his career which is why he was drafted 15th by the Indiana Pacers, but if every team was to know what he would become, Kawhi would be virtually guaranteed to be the first pick in the draft.
2. The Minnesota Timberwolves
With the second pick in the 2011 NBA draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson has had one hell of a career. Five all-star appearances and three championships highlight his accolades. Thompson will go down in history as one of the best shooters ever. His shot and defense proved crucial to the Warriors as he played an enormous part in all three of Golden State’s championships, some may argue, even more crucial than Curry.
The TImberwolves had originally selected Derrick Williams with their second overall pick. Williams was a good player, but no where near worthy of that selection. The Timberwolves were looking to surround their superstar Kevin Love with some talent, but Derrick Williams didn’t really fit with the team and was traded after just two seasons.
Thompson was originally drafted 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors. This pick changes the course of history as Thompson now joins Kevin Love in Minnesota to make a new splash brothers. Love is also a great three-point shooter, not as good as Curry, but was arguably the best shooter out of any big men at the time. The combination of Thompson and Love could’ve brought one, or even multiple championships.
3. The Utah Jazz (via Brooklyn)
With the third pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, The Utah Jazz select: Jimmy Butler
No one would’ve thought that Jimmy Butler would’ve been a star. Butler came into the league as an Andre Roberson type of player. He was a defensive specialist who would get some valuable defensive minutes to halt a player from scoring. No one would’ve guessed he’d be in Miami right now leading the dark-horse-contending Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
The Jazz had originally selected Enes Kanter. Kanter was actually a pretty good offensive player for the Jazz. He had averaged 12.3 points on 49.1% shooting in his third and final full season with the team. He’d be traded to the Thunder in the 2014-15 season and has been a solid role player ever since.
Butler was originally selected 30th overall by the Chicago Bulls. Butler didn’t do much in his first season and only played in 42 games. It was his fourth season where he’d break out into a superstar. After that his career would be incredible. On the Jazz he’d join Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson. If they could hold onto their core for long enough, this is a championship team in the making.
4. The Cleveland Cavaliers
With the fourth pick in the 2011 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select: Kyrie Irving.
Guess history has a way of working out. Kyrie Irving is one of the best Point Guards in the NBA who won a championship with LeBron and established himself as the best ball-handler of all time. He has six all-star appearances and the Rookie of the Year award as well.
With this pick, the Cavaliers had originally selected Tristan Thompson. Thompson is still on the team today and is one of the more solidly consistent players from this draft. He had been an average Center, but nothing that anyone drafted fourth overall would hope to be.
Kyrie Irving was originally drafted 1st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In this mock draft, however, the Cavaliers grab Kawhi Leonard, the clear best player in the draft. If this had happened in real life, then after three seasons, the Cavaliers would’ve won a championship without ever needing LeBron.
5. The Toronto Raptors
With the fifth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select: Nikola Vucevic
There are a lot of better players left in the draft, but the Raptors had a huge hole at Center, having Aaron Gray as their starter. Vucevic is a one-time all-star who consistently put up great scoring numbers. Only in his rookie season did he average less than 13 points. He slowly developed a three-point shot and is now one of the best deep-shooting Centers in the NBA.
The Raptors had originally selected Jonas Valanciunas with this pick. Valanciunas had a similar play-style to Vucevic just at a slightly less consistent clip. Valanciunas is currently thriving in Memphis as their starting Center playing alongside Ja Morant.
Nikola Vucevic was originally drafted 16th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He would be traded to Orlando after his rookie year where he would flourish. Vucevic wouldn’t change much in NBA history being drafted by the Raptors and may even end up being traded for Marc Gasol the same way Valanciunas was, but he’d make the Raptors better when he is there.
6. The Washington Wizards
With the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select: Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris is one of the best players in NBA history to not be an all-star. He’s been something of a journeyman in the NBA, being traded in four of his nine seasons. He looks like he finally found a home with the Philadelphia 76ers where he got himself a max contract.
The Wizards had originally drafted Jan Vessley with this pick. Vesley only spent three seasons in the NBA before the Denver Nuggets declined his Team Option and he never played in the NBA again.
Harris would be a much better option with their sixth pick. Harris would join John Wall on this not-so-impressive team. Wall and Harris would be an interesting duo that has the potential to be pretty fun. They would still need another big man as Kevin Seraphin is their starting Center and they were hoping Vesley would be that, but they can find another Center to join this offensive duo of Wall and Harris.
7. The New Orleans (Charlotte) Hornets (via Sacramento)
With the seventh pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select: Kemba Walker
Once again, history works out. Kemba Walker is a four-time all-star who is currently rocking it in Boston. Kemba is helping the young Celtics team have one of their best regular seasons since their big three. Kemba is a great scorer and playmaker who boosts the offense of any team. His unselfish play and great leadership is being put on full display in Boston.
The Hornets had originally selected Bismack Biymbo with this pick. Biyombo has always been a solid role player but nothing more. He’s never averaged more than 7.2 points per game, but he’s a good defender so scoring isn’t necessarily a necessity for him. Still, he’s not worthy of the seventh pick.
Kemba Walker was originally drafted ninth overall by none other than the Charlotte Hornets. Since the Hornets were basically just looking for literally any player with any sort of potential, Walker is selected as the best remaining player in the draft, not a bad best remaining for the seventh pick. Not much would change here since he would end up in Charlotte anyway, he just is drafted two spots earlier.
8. The Detroit Pistons
With the eighth pick in the NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select: Isaiah Thomas
Thomas defied all odds by having one of the most successful careers for a 5’9 player. He had two all-star appearances and led the Boston Celtics to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, rivaling LeBron James and the Cavs. Tragedy struck Thomas as injuries have derailed his career and he is currently not on an NBA team after being waived by the Clippers, but Thomas will be remembered as one of the most explosive scorers in NBA history.
The Pistons had originally selected Brandon Knight with the eighth pick. Knight became known as “the guy drafted before Kemba Walker” and has been seen as a bust by much of Detroit. Knight and Walker had similar stats for their first two seasons and either would’ve likely been traded for Brandon Jennings in the 2013-14 season. After bouncing around a bit, Knight ended up back in Detroit where he is currently saving his career.
Thomas would be a different story, though. Thomas broke out in his third season and the Pistons likely would’ve opted to keep him as he began tearing up the league, averaging 20.3 points per game in his third season. Thomas had beyond surpassed all expectations for being the 60th (final) overall pick in the draft. The Pistons would have their Point Guard of the future that they could build around for years to come and possibly take them out of their dark age that they’ve been in for so long.
9. The Charlotte Hornets
With the ninth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select: Marcus Morris
Marcus Morris has established himself as one of the best role players in the NBA. He is currently averaging 17.4 points per game and is contending for a championship with the Los Angeles Clippers. Morris makes any team better as he is a great player who puts up points wherever he is. He is a great floor-spacer and a versatile Swing-Forward that any team would be lucky to have.
The Hornets had originally selected Kemba Walker with this pick, but they drafted Walker with the seventh pick in this draft.
Morris wouldn’t make a huge impact for the Hornets, but he’d be a much better piece to serve with Kemba Walker than Bismack Biyombo and he’d help Walker make the playoffs a few more times.
10. The Sacramento Kings (via Milwaukee)
With the tenth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select: Nikola Mirotic
Remember him? Mirotic was one of the more exciting Power Forwards before he decided to make a deal with the Euroleague. Mirotics quickly established himself as a productive Power Forward on both ends of the floor. He has not gone a season averaging less than 10 points per game and he shot above 36% from the arc in three of his five seasons.
The Kings had originally selected Jimmer Fredette with their tenth pick, one of the biggest wastes ever. They lucked out in drafting Isaiah Thomas in the same draft, but they could’ve used a much more serviceable player.
Mirotic is that player. The Kings had a hole at Power Forward as well and Mirotic would fill that hole immediately. They’d obviously have a hole at Point Guard now that Thomas is taken, but a player like Tyreke Evans could play Point Guard if need be or they could sign a one-year rental.
11. The Golden State Warriors
With the 11th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select: Jonas Valanciunas
Valanciunas managed to carve out a nice career for himself as one of the better Centers in the NBA. He is currently on the Grizzlies tearing it up with Ja Morant. He hasn’t averaged less than 11.3 points since his rookie season and developed a three-point shot that would fit Golden State’s culture
The Warriors originally selected Klay Thompson with the 11th pick, but Thompson is now on the Timberwolves with Kevin Love.
Valanciunas wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as Thompson, but he’d still be a serviceable big man for the Warriors. The Warriors would utilize him the same way Toronto would as a big man who could hit the mid-range, and eventually, he would hit the three. With the Warriors, he’d likely become a better shooter more quickly, but the Warriors would likely say goodbye to all three of their championships.
12. The Utah Jazz
With the 12th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select: Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson was another Point Guard surprise in this draft. After two slow seasons, Jackson quickly established himself as a great score-first Point Guard. Any team that is looking to get some points can go to him. After spending four-and-a-half seasons with the Detroit Pistons, he was bought out and signed with the Clippers where he has a chance to get his ring.
The Jazz originally selected Alec Burks at this position. Burks is a good player and many could make the argument for Burks just staying in this position, but the Jazz did need a new Point Guard as Devin Harris is not a great starter.
Jackson would be the missing piece for this Jazz team which would now have a core of Jackson, Thompson, Hayward, Millsap, and Jefferson. A team that could replace the Warriors as the powerhouse of the late 2010s. Jackson would get to start right away so he wouldn’t demand a trade and he’d be the guy they look to, to get a quick bucket.
13. The Phoenix Suns
With the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select: Markieff Morris
No change here, Morris drafted at 13 is exactly where he should be drafted. The Suns made the right choice with Morris and got a great, serviceable player out of him.
14. The Houston Rockets
With the 14th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets select: Chandler Parsons
Another player to go to his original team, Chandler Parsons is one of the better second-round picks ever. He became a border-line all-star before succumbing to injuries.
The Rockets originally went with Marcus Morris, but he was already taken ninth overall by the Charlotte Hornets.
Parsons was originally drafted 38th overall, but he’s elevated to 14th by the same team that took him at 38.