2011 NBA Draft Grades
Eastern Conference: Atlantic | Central | Southeast
Western Conference: Southwest | Northwest | Pacific
Additions: Norris Cole (No.28)
The Miami Heat need players that can step into roles now and complement the big three of Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James. The team found itself exactly that in electric point guard Norris Cole out of Cleveland State.
Not only did the Heat land Cole, Miami did it without sacrificing much, giving up the first pick in the second round, No.31, a future second-round pick and cash considerations for the point guard’s services.
Cole is an above-average facilitator, who also adds a dynamic offensive option for the Heat at his position and should fill in nicely running alongside the Bosh, Wade and James show.
Additions: Justin Harper (No.32), DeAndre Liggins (No.53)
The Magic picked up two wings that are likely to make the Orlando squad next season in Richmond’s Justin Harper and Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins.
Harper, a 6-foot-10 shooting forward in the mold of former Magic player Rashard Lewis, is a very similar player to another player on the roster in Ryan Anderson. However, for the bargain price of two future second round picks, he is an excellent value and first round talent who gives the team another outside-scoring dimension.
Liggins, while not the greatest offensive player, is an exceptional ball-handler and a defender that is capable of guarding three different positions.
Additions: Keith Benson (No.48)
The Atlanta Hawks’ first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft went to the Washington Wizards in the Kirk Hinrich deal, so the team will be partially graded on that. In the second round, the team took a flier on Oakland center Keith Benson.
Benson is a long and athletic big who can rebound and block shots. However, there are big questions as to whether he can hold his own at the next level after delivering somewhat underwhelming performances in big games with the Grizzlies.
Although Hinrich is a better point guard than could be had drafting at No.18, he comes with a much higher price tag. Furthermore, the team gave up the player it drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft, Jordan Crawford, who looks as though he will stick in the league. I guess it comes down to whether you would rather have Hinrich or Crawford and the player the Wizards took with the 18th pick, Singleton, and I would rather have the latter.
Additions: Bismack Biyombo (No.7), Kemba Walker (No.9), Corey Maggette (via trade)
Involved in the big three-team trade between the Bucks and Kings that kicked off the draft proceedings, the Bobcats landed not only an additional lottery pick, the No.7, but also a very good, physical wing in Corey Maggette, who at 31-years-old has a lot of tread left on the tires.
Charlotte was not only one of the big winners in the three-team trade in which they gave up just Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the No.19 pick, but also one of the big winners in the draft after landing a future front court defensive stalwart in Bismack Biyombo and a proven winner at the guard position in Kemba Walker.
The Bobcats needed to do big things after an immensely disappointing 2010-11 season and it certainly appears as though the team did just that at the 2011 NBA Draft.
Additions: Jan Vesely (No.6), Chris Singleton (No.18)
If Washington’s 2011 draft proved anything, it is that this is John Wall’s team. Going for players that can run alongside the Wizards’ budding star, the team selected high-flying forward Jan Vesely from the Czech Republic and later on found a great value in the form of Florida State’s Chris Singleton.
Vesely’s offensive repertoire is somewhat raw and he may take some time getting used to the NBA style-of-play. However, from an upside and athleticism standpoint, Washington hit a home run with this pick. As Wizards center JaVale McGee tweeted shortly after the team made its pick, “”Get ready for the 1st triple oop in nba history.. wall to mcgee to vesley.”
Singleton, perhaps the premier defensive player in the 2011 class, can guard multiple positions and has shown marked improvement with his offensive game over his three years with the Seminoles. At the very least, he will give the Wizards a lockdown defender when the team faces teams like the Miami Heat.
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© 2011 Neal J. Leitereg — All Rights Reserved