Today the 2011 NBA Draft gets underway in Newark, NJ. It will be shown on ESPN and ESPN3. Coverage begins at 7 PM ET.
This year’s NBA draft is not considered a very strong one, but there are some nice, young players that will help their future teams.
Many NBA analysts are predicting that Duke’s Kyrie Irving will be this year’s #1 overall pick, going to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Along with Irving, there are some other solid young players that could have an immediate impact on the NBA. Arizona’s Derrick Williams could be the steal of the draft as he is a big time scorer and rebounder. Living out West, I got a chance to watch a lot of PAC-10 basketball this last season and I got a chance to see Williams quite a bit. He is a beast and possibly a future NBA all-star and will definitely help whatever team he ends up going to.
Washington State’s Klay Thompson is another nice young player. I watched a ton of Wazzu games in 2010-11 and got to see Thompson a lot. In 2010-11, Thompson averaged 21.6 points a game with 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Thompson is a pure shooter with a smooth shot and is deadly from the 3-point line. He had an awful game in the 2011 NIT that was played in New York but don’t let that fool you because he can ball! Just like Derrick Williams, Thompson too should help any team he ends up going to. ESPN was reporting yesterday that the San Antonio Spurs are trying to trade up in the draft so they can grab Klay Thompson.
Kentucky’s Brandon Knight is another hot pick that should go high in the 2011 NBA Draft. In the 2010-11 college basketball season, Knight averaged 17.3 points a game with 4.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists. ESPN’s NBA DraftTracker has Brandon Knight going #3 to the Utah Jazz.
Connecticut’s Kemba Walker ended the 2010-11 college basketball season on fire as he helped lead the Huskies to a National Championship. Walker averaged 23.5 points a game with 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists. ESPN’s DraftTracker has Kemba Walker going #7 to the Sacramento Kings. The Kings are a young team with some solid players. If Sacramento does end up drafting him, they will have Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Kemba Walker. Not a bad nucleus to build around.
BYU’s Jimmer Fredette was all over ESPN’s highlights in 2010-11. He was a scoring machine as he averaged 28.9 points per game with 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists. This kid has become so popular that his name became a verb in 2010-11. People would simply say he got “Jimmered” when referring to an opposing player trying to guard Fredette. ESPN DraftTracker has Jimmer Fredette going #15 in the 2011 NBA Draft to the Indiana Pacers.
Duke’s Nolan Smith could be sleeper in the 2011 NBA Draft. Smith was impressive in his senior year of 2010-11. He averaged 20.6 points per game and dished out 5.1 assists. Below is a quote from Duke’s legendary coach K as he talks about Nolan Smith.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
“Nolan’s had an incredible year. I never talk about player of the year, but it’s not even close in our conference. This kid nationally has got to be recognized. He’s been consistent even with Kyrie [Irving], and then Kyrie goes down and that’s a big load. I don’t think anyone in the country has had that change and especially not the preseason and the first part of the season to prepare for your role. He’s just, ‘Okay I’ll be Spiderman. I’ll sing the lead. I’ll take all those.’ I think it’s one of the best performances in a long time in our league, especially when you consider those things.”
The above are just a few of the hot young talented players that will be on display at today’s NBA Draft. For more coverage on the 2011 NBA Draft, click here.
Below are links to the NBA teams that have the first 15 picks of the 2011 NBA Draft.