Grading drafts one day removed is like grading a steak before it is cooked. Sure, it looks like a great cut and you will likely fantasize about how delicious it will taste, but at the end of the day you will not know much of anything until it is sitting on a plate in front with a bite already eaten. If cooked too long, that steak could appear delicious but be rubbery and tough to chew. If under-seasoned, the steak may give off a strong beefy aroma but let you down in the taste department. Basically, you will not know anything for sure until you get the finished product, kind of like the NBA Draft.
Taking that into account, today we will take a look at the ingredients used to make the 2011 NBA Draft. Although not a finished dish, one can try to measure team-based draft success on decision making and quality.
2011 NBA Draft Grades
Eastern Conference: Atlantic | Central | Southeast
Western Conference: Southwest | Northwest | Pacific
Additions: JaJuan Johnson (No.27), E’Twaun Moore (No.55)
Everybody seemed thrilled when the Celtics were able to obtain Marshon Brooks at No.25. Brooks was one of the great draft-risers of the 2011 class and is a potential future replacement for Ray Allen. However, the Boston Brass had other ideas and promptly shipped the Providence guard to New Jersey in exchange for the Big East Player of the Year, JaJuan Johnson, and a 2014 second-round draft pick in the process.
After four years at Purdue, Johnson is as seasoned a big man as they come and, despite rebounding issues, gives the Celtics a long, able body that can play from day one.
Getting Johnson’s teammate, E’Twaun Moore, in the second round was another nice pickup for Boston. While a hair undersized, Moore can drain three’s with the best of them and at the very least gives the team another shooter off the bench.
New York Knicks
Additions: Iman Shumpert (No.17), Josh Harrellson (No.45)
The Knicks were blasted last year after taking Landry Fields, a player not even on Chad Ford’s ‘Big Board,’ and Andy Rautins in the second round. Both Fields and Rautins made the New York squad last season, with the former becoming one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 draft class.
With other defensive-minded players still on the board at No.17 such as Chris Singleton, the Knicks opted to take another one of the draft’s fast-risers, Georgia Tech’s Iman Shumpert. Shumpert, a 6-foot-6 point guard, is an excellent defender with a questionable shot selection and decision-making skills.
Although this was not as horrible a pick as the New York fans in attendance made it out to be, Shumpert has a long road of development ahead of him if he wants to be the Knicks’ point guard of the future.
Without a second round pick, New York swung a deal and purchased the draft rights to Kentucky forward-center Josh Harrellson from the New Orleans Hornets for a cool $750K. The only problem? Oakland’s Keith Benson, Fresno State’s Greg Smith and VCU’s Jamie Skeen were still on the board, and the guy they did select has a history of lethargic and uninspiring play.
Additions: Nikola Vucevic (No.16), Lavoy Allen (No.50)
The Sixers had one clear goal in mind at the 2011 NBA Draft and that was to improve the team’s anemic front court. USC’s Nikola Vucevic gives Philadelphia a center that can play immediately; and, while he does not necessarily excel at any one thing, he has a nice blend of skills that includes solid rebounding, a variety of post moves and range that extends beyond the 3-point arc.
Temple forward Lavoy Allen will not wow anybody on the basketball court. He is, however, a solid rebounder and defender and another body to throw out there in training camp.
New Jersey Nets
Additions: Marshon Brooks (No.25), Bojan Bogdanovic (No.31), Jordan Williams (No.36)
Despite dealing its top pick (No.3 overall) to the Utah Jazz in the mid-season deal for Deron Williams, the Nets made the most of its assets, parlaying future second-round picks to work the draft board and come up with players for both the here-and-now and the future.
Giving up a future 2014 second-round pick to Boston, New Jersey may have itself the steal of the draft in Providence guard Marshon Brooks, an elite scorer with the physical intangibles to be one of the game’s better perimeter defenders.
The Nets then consummated a deal for Croatian shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic. Although Bogdanovic may not don a New Jersey (or Brooklyn) uniform in the near future, he will have an opportunity to continue his development overseas and will be a major contributor down the road.
Getting Maryland’s Jordan Williams at No.36 was icing on the cake for the Nets. Williams, a good rebounder with a solid offensive repertoire in the mold of Bison Dele, was expected to land in the mid-to-late first round. He is now headed to an ideal situation in New Jersey.
Additions: Jonas Valanciunas (No.5)
The Raptors needed an impact player, one who is available to play now. However, the team opted for Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas, an intriguing forward-center prospect whose contract with Lietuvos Rytas keeps him overseas for one more season.
Many were pushing for the franchise to draft an impact guard such as Kentucky’s Brandon Knight or Connecticut’s Kemba Walker. At the end of the day Toronto made the smart move by selecting a player who has the ability and intangibles to be a franchise big man.
Despite the fact that it will be a whole year before we see Valanciunas in a Raptors jersey, Toronto made a smart move in drafting the 6-foot-11, 240-pound player, who incorporates a soft touch around the basket with a constant high-energy style of play. Oh, and the guy is a proven winner after taking home two gold medals and MVP trophies at the FIBA Championships.
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© 2011 Neal J. Leitereg — All Rights Reserved