By Rick Morris
2011 NBA Draft Winners
1 Cleveland – Less than 12 months after He Who Shall Not Be Named booked, the next franchise player is in place? Unbelievable. And yes, draft “experts,” Kyrie Irving is a franchise player. Tristan Thompson is not a horrible pick, but he raises questions in terms of his offensive game and the team’s (temporary?) logjam at the 4.
2 Detroit – Joe Dumars gets saved from himself, just as Michael Jordan did with his second pick. Dear Romey, Hall of Fame players are can’t-miss drafters. Sincerely, Elgin Baylor.
3 Miami – We’ll skip the “Norris Cole … talents to South Beach” layup and simply note that he’s already a more legitimate 1 than anyone Miami had last year.
4 Denver – Sure picked up some nice forwards.
5T Houston – The flip side of our Phoenix assessment!
5T Washington – They picked up some nice complementary pieces for John Wall, not least of which a nice value in Chris Singleton.
2011 NBA Draft Losers
1 Sacramento – Kings could have had Jimmer at 7; instead they traded down three spots so they could pick up John Salmons’ bloated contract. Whatevs.
2 Phoenix – You took the wrong Morris!
3 Utah – Sorry, Utah, a soft Euro’s not going to help you more than Brandon Knight would have.
4 Charlotte – LOVE LOVE LOVE Kemba Walker, but Bismack Biyombo at 7? He’s Mutombo without the offense.
5 Portland – Why reach for Nolan Smith? Trade down, young fella.