As predicted, the Cleveland Cavaliers picked Duke University guard Kyrie Irving with the #1 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft on Thursday (June 23).
Experts expect Irving to be the team’s future at the point guard position, and to contribute immediately next season.
He says he expected to be the top pick.
“I didn’t have any doubts about going to #1,” Irving said. “I was looking to the organization to pick who they felt was the right choice. But now to this moment, from being a fan of the NBA Draft and now being drafted, it’s a special feeling in my heart and knowing that my friends and family were together, it’s a memory I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”
Up with the #2 pick was the Minnesota Timberwolves, who earlier in the week announced the addition of guard Ricky Rubio of Spain into the fold, took Arizona forward Derrick Williams at #2. Experts say Williams is probably the most NBA-ready player in this year’s Draft.
Apparently, the Wolves were trying to trade the pick in hopes of landing a veteran center or shooting guard, but couldn’t find the right offer, and chose Williams.
The Utah Jazz then took Turkish big man Enes Kanter third with their first of two lottery selections. He should definitely add even more size to a solid backcourt that includes Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and Paul Millsap.
After grabbing Irving, the Cavs used the #4 selection on Texas forward Tristan Thompson, who is an execellent offensive rebounder and shot blocker. They were the first team since the 1983 Houston Rockets with two top-four picks.
Lithuaniam big man, Jonas Valanciunas, was drafted by the Toronto Raptors with the #5 pick, one of many European players many didn’t know much abotu on Draft Day.
Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic was taken sixth by Washington.
There was also a three-team trade the day of, which included the Charlotte Bobcats, the Milwaukee Bucks, and Sacramento Kings. The Kings sent forward Bismack Biyombo of Spain to the Bobcats, while high scoring BYU guard Jimmer Fredette was sent to the Kings by the Bucks, and the Bucks got Tennessee forward Tobias Harris at #19 from the Bobcats.
The trade also sent Corey Maggette to the Kings, Sac got John Salmons, and the Bucks for Beno Udrih, Steven Jackson, Shaun Livingston.
The top 15 picks are as follows, with the full list over at NBA.com:
1. Kyrie Irving – Cavs
2. Derrick Williams – Timberwolves
3. Enes Kanter – Jazz
4. Tristan Thompson – Cavs
5. Jonas Valanciunas – Raptors
6. Jan Vesely – Wizards
7. Bismack Biyombo(traded to Bobcats) – Kings
8. Brandon Knight – Pistons
9. Kemba Walker – Bobcats
10. Jimmer Fredette(traded to Kings) – Bucks
11. Klay Thompson – Warriors
12. Alec Burks – Jazz
13. Markieff Morris – Suns
14. Marcus Morris – Rockets
15. Kawhi Leonard (traded to Spurs) – Pacers