- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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Here are some quick thoughts on last night's NBA draft.
• I felt Kyrie Irving was the right pick for Cleveland at No. 1. He will be a star for 10 years. He is not the speedy point guard, but he is solid and steady. I saw him dominate in college early last season against the likes of Kalin Lucas of Michigan State and Jacob Pullen of Kansas State. I know he only played 11 games at Duke, but let's remember the NBA is predicated on point guard play. The Cavaliers have a solid building block! A good foundation, baby. Then Cleveland had one of the biggest stunners of the night by picking Tristan Thompson of Texas at No. 4. I think the Cavs would have gone for Enes Kanter, but he was grabbed third overall by Utah.
• The Jazz made a first-class choice in Kanter. He has lots of skills and wants to learn and improve. Understand that this draft is loaded with good guards, so the Jazz knew they could find a quality player in the backcourt later. There just are not many talented big people out there, and the draft saw a lot of size taken early.
• There was a foreign flavor early, as four of the top seven picks were Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo, Jonas Valanciunas and Kanter. I honestly feel that people look at the warts and negatives of a lot of college players, as opposed to the international guys. I am not disrespecting the guys coming over to the NBA, but I remember when Darko Millicic was taken over the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. I remember working the draft that night and screaming that there were guys who should have gone over Millicic. Only time will tell, baby!
• I feel badly for the way Kurt Rambis has been treated in Minnesota. There is no reason to have had him twist in the wind. Meanwhile, I like the Timberwolves' decision to draft Derrick Williams at No. 2. He can shoot inside and outside, and now the Timberwolves have a nice young group of players. Williams is a great addition to the likes of Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Ricky Rubio!
• Congrats to Sacramento on its move up to get BYU's Jimmer Fredette. He can get off his shot and will score in the NBA. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and say Fredette will be the Rookie of the Year!
• How about a salute to Kentucky coach John Calipari as he simply recruits the best by telling kids to watch how the Wildcat players fit into an NBA system! Last year, Kentucky had five players go in the first round. This year, Kanter, who should have been allowed to play in Lexington, and Brandon Knight went among the top eight picks. Then look back at the likes of Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, and you see he has produced success, success, success!
• The Motor City is a place I love, and the Pistons landed a quality young man in Knight. He joins last year's first round pick, Georgetown's Greg Monroe, another character guy with a bright future.
• Former Connecticut star Kemba Walker is a winner, and Mr. Clutch will excite Bobcat fans. If Biyombo of the Congo is as good a rebounder and defensive force as projected, Charlotte will be very happy.
• The Logo, Jerry West, made an impact early in Golden State with selection of Washington State's Klay Thompson. Thompson is a big-time shooter who reminds some of Reggie Miller, another Pac-10 great. Thompson comes from great genes, as his dad, Mychal, was a top overall pick!
• It is sad in a way that the Morris twins will be broken up, but the time has come. It was a little surprising that Markieff went ahead of Marcus. I feel Marcus is better on offense but Markieff may have his position as a bigger player inside.
• When I look at this draft, I really feel that after the lottery, there is basically a similiar talent level. When we look back at it, a player at number 30 could be as good as the guy taken at 15.
• Kawhi Leonard is a tough athletic force who needs to work on his range. I was surprised with his lack of strength during tests. He is going to San Antonio after the Pacers traded him for George Hill, who is coming home after starring at IUPUI.
• Some of my grades for teams: The Bobcats and Kings get an A. I give an A- to Detroit and Washington. B+ to the Cavs due to the question mark of Thompson going so high. Give an A to Minnesota with Williams. And a C to the Knicks.
• A number of underclassmen that gave up their college eligibility did not go in the first round despite their expectations. Guys like Darius Morris of Michigan, Josh Selby of Kansas and Tyler Honeycutt of UCLA may have been better off getting another year of experience. Why not be the BMOC (big man on campus) for another year?
Dick Vitale breaks down the 2011 NBA draft.