Friday, June 24th, 2011 at 11:25 am  |  87 responses

NBA Draft: Winners & Losers

Some smell like roses, others stink like dead fish.

by Jeff Fox / @HoopsManifesto

One of the compelling aspects of basketball (and most other sports) is that at the end of a game there is always a clear-cut winner and loser.  There is no grey area; even the most ardent Miami Heat supporter (may God have mercy on your soul) can’t argue that the Heat won the NBA Finals.  However, declaring winners and losers at the NBA Draft is a more difficult proposition, especially doing it only hours after the draft has finished.  We truly won’t know who came out the true winners or losers until a few years down the road, but if the internet is good for one thing it’s knee-jerk reactions, so here’s this jerk’s knee reactions (wait, that doesn’t sound right):


Tristan Thompson

Heading into the draft, Tristan Thompson looked like a late lottery to mid-first round pick.  However, after very impressive showings at pre draft workouts, the Canadian big man jumped all the way up to the fourth pick with the Cavaliers.  This huge leap up the draft charts will earn him around a $4 million raise over his first two seasons in the League.


Michael Jordan has been much-maligned as a basketball executive (and rightfully so), but he came out of last night earning plenty of praise.  Charlotte is smartly rebuilding their team around young players. So they shipped out Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and pick #19 and came home with Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker and veteran Corey Maggette.  All in all, a very productive night for MJ.


After last season’s disaster, Pistons fans needed some good news and they got it last night as Brandon Knight, who was considered almost a lock to be gone by the third pick, fell into their laps at No. 8.  While Knight still needs plenty of work before he is a legit NBA point guard, his skill set, size and athleticism make him a great pick.


If Bryan Colangelo is to be believed, NBA front office executives were falling over themselves last night praising the Raptors for their selection of Jonas Valanciunas at pick #5.  After potential snags in securing a buyout with Valanciunas’s European team scared some teams off from picking him, Toronto got the player they coveted.  While Toronto might have to wait a year or so before he suits up for them, his size, athleticism and defensive instincts will help them immediately.


Canada’s pro team got a potential steal in Valanciunas, Tristan Thompson became the highest selected Canadian ever in the draft (the previous highest selected Canadian was Steve Nash at pick #15), and then Thompson’s fellow Canadian and high school and college teammate Cory Joseph snuck into the first round and finds himself in a terrific position with the Spurs.  A great night for Canadian basketball.



The Kings traded their starting point guard, Beno Udrih, for John Salmons AND they had to move down in the draft, from pick #7 to #10.  Then they went and selected a player at #10, Jimmer Fredette, who looks to be a career NBA role player at best.  However, the Kings look like they are going to try to make Fredette be something he isn’t suited to be – a starting NBA point guard.

Brandon Knight

His free fall out of the top three of the draft cost him plenty of greenbacks.  Plus, he now joins the most dysfunctional team in the NBA, the Detroit Pistons.  Not exactly the greatest position for a young, raw player to get his feet wet.

The Fans

This was a truly weak draft class and most of the players picked last night aren’t transcendent talents who are going to make the game we love any better.  But us, the fans, are truly the losers because last night probably was the last NBA “action” we’re going to get for a long, long time as the billionaires fight with the millionaires over how to share our hard-earned money we’ve handed over to them.

Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto and The MMA Manifesto.

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  • All Day

    Brandon Knight did not look happy when his name was called. He stated in his interview that he did not workout for Detroit which means 1) he expected to be drafted much higher or 2) he did not want to be drafted by the Pistons.

  • rudy

    I don’t agree with the kings being losers in this draft. Your judgement on jimmer is awfully premature. Let him get a few games in before you label him a career role player.

  • toinefan88

    cosign rudy…hopefully knight will get a chip on his shoulder from this and will go out and dominate everyone that was drafted ahead of him.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    this is a pretty terrible write up

  • jarrett

    cannot believe the draft night for the kings

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Charlotte were not winners, they passed on Brandon Knight and Alec Burks with the 7th and 9th to draft a player I’m calling a bust right now, and a guy who is only just better than Knight right now.

  • marc

    IMO i think jimmer is a step up from beno but who can tell he hasn’t played a nba game yet so its still way too early to call him a career role player.

  • Flight

    cosign omphalos. I don’t think the bobcats drafted well either. Biyombo is a huge risk, and not sure passing on Knight was smart. And calling Fredette a career role player before he’s even played a game is pretty ridiculous. On the side note the raptors are happy with their selections of ANOTHER euro. Sums up what its like to be a raptors fan.

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.com Jeff Fox

    There is no way Jimmer is a step up as a NBA point guard over Beno Udrih. Beno put up 14 points, 5 assists and 3 boards a game last year while also taking good care of the ball. No way Jimmer is going to put up numbers like that (and that’s not even mentioning what he’ll be like on the defensive end). I like the kid and understand why everyone is rooting for him – it would be quite the story if he became a great NBA player – but I just don’t see that happening.

  • Black Jack

    STOPPED reading after this guy wrote that the Bobcats were winners, haha stick to writing MMA stuff.
    Yeah good idea by getting a guy that MIGHT be Ben Wallace, nice 10 points a game.
    Kemba will be a good pro but him and D.J. in the same backcourts, you guys ain’t winning much.
    Maggette has been on all 30 teams because he plays no D, but he does get 15 FT’s a game.
    Another terrible draft for a terrible organization

  • Pingback: Draft Consensus: Pistons picks send a message about the values the team wants « PistonPowered

  • Ed The Windwalker

    It’s obvious that the Kings (whom I love) are trying to fill seats with drafting Jimmer Fredette. I hate to see Beno Udrih traded, especially since he was without a doubt the most consistent performer for the Kings last season with solid defense, good scoring, and above average ball handling skills. I would hope they have plans to get a solid veteran small forward (maybe a trade before the season starts?). Jimmer will fill the seats if he plays, and he’ll probably play well. But the team cohesion is their biggest weakness with volatile but talented DeMarcus Cousins and moody but decidedly impactful Tyreke Evans as your “horses”. Er….ah….Go Kings?!

  • Joe

    I’m wondering what attendance was like last year in Sacramento because while I agree with Jeff that Jimmer won’t be an NBA super-star, I think he’ll fill seats for a while, especially in California. Not to suggest that anyone ever uses something as sacred as the draft for something as course as to make money.

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Great night for my Detroit Pistons! Brandon Knight is, in my opinion, better than Kyrie Irving and was the best pure PG in the draft. The only reason Joe Dumars didn’t work Knight out prior to the draft was because it was assumed he was a lock to be drafted in the top 5 of the draft. The next for Detroit is hiring the right coach and i’m guessing that it will be Mike Woodson.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t know whether Jimmer will make it, but I know that Beno and Tyreke on the same team was a problem.
    Beno is shoot first, but prefers jumpers and he plays horrible defense. And he sulks. He was not getting any better, I guess the Kings figure that at least Jimmer has an upside.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    You called the Bobcats winners? Are you f’in with me? Jordan traded his best scorer, then drafted the worst offensive player in the draft. Ok he got Kemba, but is he gonna win games as the best scorer on an NBA team? Oh and Biyumbo impressed Jordan with “a late workout” which is EXACTLY what he said about Kwame Brown.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2011/06/2011-nba-draft-winners-losers/ KpNYC

    Could be that Dumars didn’t work out Knight because he also didn’t want to tip his hand… a possibility.. in any event.. this transplanted Pistons fan is quite happy with the draft..

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ 1982

    I like how one feature says MJ has “some splainin to do” and this one says he did a good job. We shall see…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    TAD, what’up where you been? I heard Knight was #8 on Detroit’s big board? Either way, I like the pick, him and STuckey should be a good combo.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Oh and Toronto should get some credit. They got Valunciunas, is a shortened season. Valunciunas would have been the #1, without debate, had he definitely been available for this season.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I mean, if you wanna talk numbers, 14 points, 5 assists and 3 boards a game – Jimmer can get that. Those aren’t mind-blowing numbers.
    He won’t take care of the ball as well or defend, and he’s not really a point guard, but let’s not act like going from Udrih to Fredette is THAT much of a downgrade.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I disagree, soop. Valunciunas wouldn’t have been the number one pick without the buyout issue. Number three at the highest, but everyone pretty much agreed it would be Irving one and Williams two.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    chris (toronto)

    Does Jonas Valanciunas project to be the best all around C in this draft and f not for his buyout would he have gone higher?
    Ric Bucher (1:29 PM)

    If teams knew he was fully available, he would’ve been the No. 1 pick.

  • http://www.timberwolves.com WOLFinSHEEP`Sclothing

    I agree… this write up is terrible.

  • Bigdaddy

    I love how all the haters are making blanket statements about the type of career Jimmer will have when the dude hasn’t even laced them up yet in an NBA game. Way too early to tell what Jimmer will do, and what potential he will have. I personally think that he has the desire to prove all of the haters wrong, and the B-Ball IQ to match. Good pick Kings, now please move to So Cal so I can come watch Jimmer! :)

  • http://sdjkflf.com Jukai

    Allen hit it on the head before I could post. Beno was traded not because he’s such a massive downgrade to Jimmer… but that he’s a true pass-first point guard who likes the ball in his hand. And then there’s Tyreke Evans, who is a balling controlling shooting guard who likes the ball in his hands. And is also a much better talent then Beno. Hmmm….
    Yeah, how about we pick the point guard who is going to shoot the hell out of the ball whenever Evans gives up the ball to him. That was the Kings’ thinking. Whether it works out or not, it makes sense.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    F*ck that Derrick Rose stalker.
    I’m telling you, he would not have been the number one pick.
    Everyone were sold on Kyrie from the get.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    *Unless the Raptors had the number one pick

  • http://sdjkflf.com Jukai

    And yeah, Biyombo has bust written all over him.
    So, do you guys think Utah’s starting lineup of Favors, Okur, Milsap, Jefferson and Kanter is gonna work out?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    PG – Enes Kanter
    SG – Derrick Favors
    SF – Paul Millsap
    PF – Al Jefferson
    C – Memo Okur

  • rudy

    Beno played terrible d all season long, so there’s no loss there. Jimmer isn’t being asked to carry the load for us, he just needs to do his part. With Reke, Salmons and Thornton, we have a number of capable scorers and ball handlers. Jimmer will just need to stretch the court, hit the open shot when reke and cousins get doubled, and make the extra pass when needed. Let’s not forget, this is still Tyreke’s team. If healthy, they will be a problem for anybody, any night. And Im not even sure most of you understand just how much of an effect this will have on ticket sales. Everybody loves the guy, and not mention the Mormon community in Sacramento is HUGE. Hopefully he’ll have that Omri Casspi effect. Drafting jimmer will generate a buzz in the community and is a big step towards keeping the Kings here based on fan support alone.

  • rudy

    Lol @ enigmatics jazz lineup.

  • http://sdjkflf.com Jukai

    Enigmatic, Okur’s got that three, he should be the shooting guard. I like Milsap at the small forward spot though, so maybe Favors can go big forward and Al man the center spot?

  • hambone

    how many guards are on detroits roster?

    jimmer may go throught the same transition as j.j reddick

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    All right, yeah. Okur at the 2. Favors at the 4.
    They need some backups though. They should trade Devin Harris for Yi Jianlian, he can back up Kanter at 1.
    Also, that Burks kid is nice, but he’s undersized. Trade him for that 6’10” rookie outta Richmond, Justin Harper, cause he’s got 3 point range too. He can be backup 2.
    Ty Corbin doesn’t wanna see anyone smaller than 6’8” in his lineup! >_<!!

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Hey Jeff, you think the Raptors are winners in this draft? I’ve been trying to convince myself that they made the right decision but I still can’t get it by me that they skipped Brandon Knight!
    And LOL@Enigmatic’s Utah line up. looks pretty deadly to me! hhahah

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Oh my bad, I guess it was technically Jukai’s idea.
    On another note @Enigmatic. nbadraft.net had consistently believed Derrick Williams was the number 1 prospect of this draft class. I think they’re still saying..

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Matic it’s not like they just recently found out about Valuciunas’ contract issues. They’ve definitely known about that longer then Irving has been the consensus number 1

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    niQ, I’d seen Barnes, Sullinger (when they were still in the draft) Irving, Williams and Kanter all at number 1 on several different mock drafts.
    Don’t think I’d ever seen Valancuikjkdsjks8aklacnsdsdnk tho.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, and I’m excited about the Bulls’ pick, Jimmy Butler. Seems like a great kid, and he’s not even thinking about coming in and scoring mad buckets like most rookies want to, dude straight up says he wants to be a pest on defense.
    Gotta love that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    So happy Knight fell into Detroit’s lap. He didn’t work out for them because everyone assumed he’d be gone by then. Additionally, he was probably not happy because 1.) he lost money and 2.) he expected to go higher and felt disrespected. I don’t think it necessarily was a reflection of him not wanting to play for Detroit.

  • D12FSU

    I was disappointed with the lack of big name trades. For like a month we heard the names of Ellis, Iguodala, Odom, Love, Gasol…and then it turns out the 3 biggest draft day trades involved Stephen Jackson, Andre Miller/Felton/Fernandez, and George Hill. :/

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Matic, You have never seen a mock draft that doesn’t consider his buy-out. Because none exists. (I still think Kanter is the best pro in this draft, but Valunciunas is a 7ft Center who blocks shots, rebounds, and shoots, plus he’s 18. You don’t pass on that for a PG who might be pretty good…at the very best, if you can get the big man and start developing him right away)

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    So will any of these rookies get an overall rating higher than 80 in NBA 2k12?
    Will there be an NBA 2k12?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah I’ve already seen 2k12 footage so yes there will be a 2k12. But no, no rookie will approach 80, Williams should be the highest, prolly a 72-74

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    OK but anyone else besides you, Ric Bucher and Bryan Colangelo think he should’ve/could’ve gone first?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I think Irving can get like a 77. If only because most of the rest of the Cavs will be in the 60’s and 50’s. Or should be.
    I think Derrick Rose might be the cover athlete. That would be dope. He already has a relationship with 2K Sports and he helped them promote 2K10.
    Not sure if they’d do it though since it’d be two players in Bulls jerseys back to back…then again they had AI on the cover for like 5 years in a row.

  • Riggs

    @Rigo: 1) nope, although derrick williams might have a 75. 2) yup comes out in october 6th

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Idk if it’ll be rose or like a collection of legends. Like Magic & Bird. Irving better not start better then Ramon Sessions and Baron Davis. He gonna be a 72 at the highest

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Wonder if LeBron’s clutch rating will take a hit.
    I’m still really bummed there’s no more College Hoops though. I’m still playing College Hoops 2k8 with freakin’ Greg Oden on the cover.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @enigmatic. Yea true, never seen Val at the top of mocks. But he was ranked 2nd overall on draftexpress in March. But I’m still undecided if this was a good pick for the Raptors. The only 2 Pros I see is 1) Raptors desparately needed a Center. 2) there are NO CENTERS ranked top 20 in next year’s draft class. So basically Bryan Colangelo drafted a Center now and hopefully we’ll get a Kabongo, Gilchrist or Rivers next year. LOL
    NBA 2k12′s cover will probably be David Stern holding a lock in one hand and dangling the keys over his mouth with his other hand.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @nbk. Where are you from? You seem elated on Jonas, what do you think about the Raptors drafting him?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I’m from Phoenix. My point is considering this is the winners and losers column I thought Toronto should be considered winners. They got arguably the best player in the draft, definitely best or second best talent in the draft, with the 5th pick. And will get another great pick out of the shortened season (next years 12th pick is likely a top 5 player in this years draft). Other then that I’m higher on Kanter then anyone else in this draft.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Enig, I think Kyrie will be about 75, Derrick will be about 74. I’d laugh if Jimmer has a super low rating.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    “While Toronto might have to wait a year or so before he suits up for them, his size, athleticism and defensive instincts will help them immediately.” What? nice contradiction, his size and defence etc, is going to help them from overseas?!!?

  • tuutu

    but in nba 2k11 john wall had 81 overall so i think irving has about same nubers

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    John Wall is exponentially better then Kyrie Irving.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @nbk, Jeff did have Toronto in the winners section though.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Hahahaha wow I read that whole thing too. My fault Jeff! Lol

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Irving’s a better shooter than Wall and um…that’s about it.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Lol. I was so confused what you were trying to argue for.hahaha

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah hahaha idk I had to leave work for a bit to deal with the Qwest people and apparently it reset my brain.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Valunciunas will play in the NBA this season apparently. They just agreed on the buy-out

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I mean in 2012-13 my bad.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    So he’ll start playing when all the other rookies do!
    Hold up, if there’s no season next year, will there be a draft?
    And if there is, will all 120 rookies from the 2011 AND 2012 draft be eligible for the ROY award? Crazy!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign nbk on Kanter… He’s got the full package, really. AND he’s a real center. Real. Center. No beyond-the-arc nonsense to him.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, I been saying Kanter’s top dog in this draft since pretty much LAST year’s draft.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I wanted the Raptors to take Kemba at #5; people are underrating him because of his size but he’s a proven winner and a natural leader, with an NBA-ready midrange game and pretty good court vision. Also, he’s not even that small for the PG spot–just ask Kyle Lowry and Jameer Nelson.
    However, I didn’t really know much about Jonas Valanciunas until last night, and now I’m pretty happy with the pick regardless. He’s a legit 7’0 CENTER–the complete opposite of Bargnani (no offense, Andrea). He rebounds, plays defense, and looks to score in the post. Really excited to see him play.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I’m also happy with what Houston got out of the draft. They drafted the scoring, more versatile Morris twin, and ended up trading the rights to Nikola Mirotic (who happens to be in the post-Dirk mold of perimeter, face-up big man) for Montiejunas, who, despite his reputation as being a jumpshooting big, is a legit center as well. Montiejunas is just what the Rockets needed, and some people earlier in the year were even wondering whether he’d get picked ahead of Jonas Valenciunas. Montiejunas can hit the long jumper, but he also looks to score a lot in the post and can hit a hook with both hands.
    Oh, and Mirotic’s contract buyout would have taken him about four years to get to the league and actually play for the Rockets–so trading him to the Bulls, who have enough big men, makes sense. The Bulls get the advantage of not having to take on any extra contracts this season, and possibly getting an NBA-ready big man in four years when Boozer nears the end of his contract.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Wait, if there’s a lockout, will it be for the entire season, or will we still have at least SOME NBA basketball, albeit a shorter year of 30-50 games like we saw in ’98-’99?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, and I just thought about it right now, but how ironic is it that a kid from CLEVELAND State…will be taking his talents to South Beach! LOL

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    That’s probably the real reason they picked him.

  • http://countdownnba.blogspot.com/ Clay

    I think Jeff Foxworthy wrote this. Charlotte won? Sacramento wins because they can sell more tickets, maybe enough to keep them in California’s capital.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    I am not a Wizards fan but I can’t see how they are not included among the winners. That is at worst the second most athletic team in the league now and every core player they have is young as hell. They have a really bright future ahead of them with Singleton and Vesely in the front court along with McGee with Wall running the point.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ Not to mention Jordan Crawford at the 2.

  • Groves

    Good night for Australian basketball too with Ater Majok and Kyrie Irving! irving and bogut along with mills and andersen are making the boomers kinda strong


    DAMN….i didnt know KYRIE was born in MELBOURNE….DAMNNNN….i see Majok from the Gold Coast was selected by the LAKE SHOW….EVEN…Homicide Williams is back signing with Above the RIm and all, last month he was playing for my club the SDBL SPARTANS in Carina Brisbane damn a big month for Australian Bball

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    I remember back in the days of nba live 07 that Crittington and McRoberts had like an 80 and an 87 rating…………………

  • http://www.slamonline.com Amare Excuses

    Jimmer= JJ Redick hehe

  • http://slamonline.com truballer


  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I’m gonna got out there and say that 5 years from now, Brandon Knight will be at least as good or better than Irving. Knight is a very hard worker and has all the physical tools to succeed as a PG. I just think his cieling is higher than Irvings…I think Irving is near his ceiling as a player right now, whereas Knight has a ways to go.

  • Del

    PG – Knight, Bynum
    SG – Stuckey, Hamilton
    SF – Jerebko, Daye
    PF – Monroe, Jerebko
    C – Wallace, Monroe

    Joe D knows what he’s doing.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ That looks pretty balanced, actually. But what does he do with Ben Gordon, Charlie V, Tayshaun Prince, and T-Mac? (Okay well, I think T-Mac’s contract might be up).

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    T-Mac & Tayshaun’s contracts are both up. Ben Gordon and Charlie V need to go, but I doubt there will be any takers.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Utah has like 35 PF/C’s, Detroit shouldd be talking with them…

  • http://basketballjunction.blogspot.com/ Joseph V

    The Timberwolves were losers. All they did was stockpile European players who won’t even be able to come over for a couple of years. They’ve got K-Love, and Michael “Beastly”, why do they keep drafting frountcourt players? Even though he is in my opinion the best rookie, Derrick Williams doesn’t really fit in the lineup. He’s a swing 3-4 like Beasly. To me its one or the other.

  • r2j

    Bulls got Jimmy Butler, San Antnion traded George Hill for Kawahi Leonard from Indy. LA and Miami got their PG’s in Darius Morris and Norris Cole in the 2nd round. Portland solidified their PG depth with Nolan Smith and traded Andre Miller for Raymond Felton. These teams did a great job.