It was expected that foreign players would be relevant in the 2011 NBA Draft, but few predicted that so many would dominate the first round. Four of the first seven picks were represented by players from outside the United States.
The biggest surprise of those first four foreigners was the 7th pick by the Sacramento Kings. The Kings selected Bismack Biyombo from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though he lacks on the offensive side of the court, Bismack's height, freakishly long arms and athletic ability make him an outstanding defender. Considering he was immediately traded to the Charlotte Bobcats, I am sure that Michael Jordan's ownership presence will be of great benefit to his offensive game. I cannot imagine that Jordan will let such a high-potential player come to his team with a high-level of defensive talent spend much time with the team before he helps better his offensive game.
Jordan Hamilton of The University of Texas will not have to travel far to reach his new home team in Dallas. The NBA champion Dallas Mavericks jumped at the lower-than-expected draft pick that seems to fit perfectly into their style of play. Hamilton was drafted 26th. Anyone who watched the NBA playoffs this year recognized that the Mavs are a team that embraces unselfish play and strong perimeter shooting. Hamilton has proven himself as facilitator for his team and a lights out shooter from deep, cementing himself as a, thankfully young, solid addition to an organization on the rise to finals contention in the future.
And now I will appease those who want to focus on the big name picks in this years draft.
Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams went one and two, to Cleveland and Minnesota respectively, which is no surprise to anyone. My favorite player to watch was Jimmer Fredette. "The Jimmer" went in the 11 spot to the Milwaukee Bucks, but only spent minutes thinking of Wisconsin housing before he was part of a proposed trade to the Sacramento Kings. There has been extensive criticism of Jimmer, going back to pre-tournament talks coupled with degradation of the Mountain West Conference, but the indescribably outstanding outside shooter will be a great addition to the exciting West Coast NBA game.
Finally, the New York Knicks decided to bolster their defensive game. Iman Shumpert of Georgia Tech is heading to Gotham to help the defensively-addled Knickerbockers. Amare Stoudemire ignited NYC with star power which led to the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from Denver. Being an offensively-laden organization, the Knicks are in desperate need of defensive-minded players. Shumpert has work to do in his offensive game, but his defensive abilities should be welcomed with open arms in New York.
This year's draft was not as anticipated as year's past, but could surprise many. Though there were no franchise-altering players this year, 2011 could produce rising stars and role-players that significantly affect numerous NBA organizations in the future.
Be sure to check back later to see James LeBeau and The Sports Cynic's opinions on the results of the 2011 NBA Draft.
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