The 2011 NBA draft was undoubtedly the strongest of the 2010’s decade. Out of the 60 drafted players, six have since made at least one All NBA team, and seven have made at least one All-Star game. What made this draft class so good was that it had multiple All NBA players, and terrific depth. Over 20 of the draftees still play at least 15 minutes per game in the league. Here, we will be redrafting the 2011 draft. primarily based on the best player available, and less so on the team that is receiving the player.
All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
#10: Milwaukee Bucks: Bojan Bogdanovic
Actual Selection: Jimmer Fredette
Despite not entering the league until 2014, Bojan Bogdanovic has already carved out a decent career for himself. After being a key contributor to the Pacers in the last two seasons, he is enjoying his best season to date with Utah. He has fit in well alongside Donavan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, with his long-range jumper key to the Jazz’s success. This year, he is averaging 20 points per game, while shooting 41.5% from three and 90% from the charity stripe.
#9: Charlotte Bobcats: Jonas Valančiūnas
Actual Selection: Kemba Walker
Jonas Valančiūnas has quietly become an elite center since being traded to Memphis. The Lithuanian is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game this season. He is doing so with incredible shooting splits of 58% from the field and 36.5% from three. He is a big part of the Grizzlies underdog story this season, with his play on both sides of the ball.
#8: Detroit Pistons: Tobias Harris
Actual Selection: Brandon Knight
A player with the ability of Tobias Harris at the 8th pick speaks volumes of the quality possessed in this draft class. After playing with five different teams in his first eight seasons, Harris seems to have found a home in Philadelphia. He was a key part of their run last season and was rewarded with a five-year extension. This season, he has been an important player for the Sixers, averaging nearly 20 points and 7 rebounds per game. Philadelphia could make a run to the finals in the coming years, with Harris as a supporting piece to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
#7: Sacramento Kings: Isaiah Thomas
Actual Selection: Bismack Biyombo
Isaiah Thomas would certainly be higher on this redraft a few years ago. It is easy to forget that he was once a top-three MVP candidate who led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. He averaged nearly 30 points per game and was seen as one of the league’s best point guards. Since then, however, injuries have led to Thomas bouncing around various teams. Heis currently a free agent. The Kings originally selected Thomas with the last pick of the 2011 NBA Draft but will have to take him higher here.
#6: Washington Wizards: Nikola Vucevic
Actual Selection: Jan Vesely
Nikola Vucevic surprised a lot of people by becoming a first-time All-Star last season. The former Trojan has developed into a terrific offensive center, and his stellar play has been key to the Magic making the playoffs for the last two seasons. His success in the postseason itself has been limited by an average Orlando roster. Vucevic is still a top 10 center in the league and worthy of this position in the 2011 NBA Draft.
#5: Toronto Raptors: Kemba Walker
Actual Selection: Jonas Valančiūnas
Kemba Walker finally got an opportunity this season to join a legitimate contending roster. For years, Walker was viewed as a great player, but not one associated with winning, on a struggling Hornets team. Now, he is a leader on a young Celtics roster who are one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. The former UCONN Husky continued to put up numbers this season, despite being on a significantly better team. Walker was even named an All-Star starter this season, and the Celtics hold the third seed in the East heading into the Orlando restart. His accomplishments and play thus far in the league justify his selection in the top five here.
#4: Cleveland Cavaliers: Jimmy Butler
Actual Selection: Tristan Thompson
The Cavaliers luck out here and get another incredible defensive wing to go alongside Kawhi Leonard. Jimmy Butler was originally drafted with the 30th pick but has transformed into an All-NBA player. Like Leonard, Butler was always a terrific defender but developed his offensive skills massively in recent years. His Miami Heat have been one of the biggest surprise stories of this season. Butler’s contribution and leadership on a young roster is a big reason why. In this fantasy scenario, the Cavs would get to pair up Butler and Kawhi, which would surely be one of the best wing duos in the league.
#3: Utah Jazz: Klay Thompson
Actual Selection: Enes Kanter
Klay Thompson has become one of the greatest shooters of all time. Alongside Stephen Curry in the backcourt, the pair took the Warriors to three championships. Thompson has become known to have a massive impact on a game without taking many touches. This is due to his ability to move off the ball and knock down contested three-pointers. But he is not just a shooter. Thompson is also a terrific defender with the ability to guard multiple positions. Furthermore, he can put the ball on the floor and score around the rim. The Warriors dynasty is credited with changing the way basketball is played, and Thompson is a big reason why.
#2: Minnesota Timberwolves: Kyrie Irving
Actual Selection: Derrick Williams
The Timberwolves initially selected Derrick Williams, which was an incredibly poor choice. In this redraft, they instead get to select the original number one overall pick in Kyrie Irving. Despite his career turning for the worse since he left the Cavaliers, Irving is one of the best point guards in the league. His handles, jumper, and ability to finish around the rim are second to none. He has a knack to take over games in clutch situations, highlighted by the shot in the finals. Irving has had injury problems in the past few seasons, but at his best, Kyrie is the clear selection for the Wolves at two.
#1: Cleveland Cavaliers: Kawhi Leonard
Actual Selection: Kyrie Irving
Despite not even being taken in the lottery in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kawhi Leonard is the clear cut number one pick in this redraft. Leonard is a two-time champion and two-time finals MVP. He won his rings with two different teams. He is also a two time defensive player of the year and considered by most to be the best defender in the league. He was projected to be a great defender, but his offensive firepower is what few saw coming. He is now a top-three player in the league, and arguably the best two-way player. This would be the clear choice for the Cavaliers in the redraft.