Every team believed they got better last night. Eventually the standings will prove several of them wrong. In our attempts to save those particular franchises time, we offer you 5 Losers from the 2011 NBA Draft:
1. Indiana Pacers - The Pacers traded both draft picks (No. 15, No. 42) for local Indy product George Hill, currently the capable back-up point guard for the San Antonio Spurs. Hill’s all around game is solid and he’s even a good rebounder for a 6-2 point, but the Spurs were rumored to be shopping Tony Parker not Hill.
Instead, they deal his back-up for what most consider the best small forward in the draft (Kawhi Leonard). He will instantly step in to Richard Jefferson’s slot for the Spurs and become a solid two-way player. As for Hill, he will sit behind last year’s acquisition at the point, Darren Collison, the same way he did in San Antonio. Somehow, the Pacers thought a veteran back-up point guard was their biggest need. For a 37-45 team? Think again.
2. Sacramento Kings – Give them this much: they’ll sell a lot more tickets than last year. And if that means franchise survival then perhaps they’re winners after all. But the on court results of losing Beno Udrih and addition of John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette is hardly franchise transforming stuff. Instead, the Kings took on more salary with Salmons than they should for owners that are broke and the Kings should remain, well, the Kings — not to mention condemning the most marketable incoming talent in the draft to an NBA wasteland.
3. Josh Selby – The high school hype is now faintly in the distance for Selby, who cannot be enjoying his basketball life on this side of his graduation. A shortened one-and-done, injury plagued career at Kansas now becomes a major draft slide for a kid who was once the next great scoring combo guard. Perhaps the Grizzlies will get just that at No. 49 overall, but Selby has an uphill battle he could have never predicted just one year ago.
4. Baron Davis
The emotional, oft-maligned point guard actually behaved himself in Cleveland - an unexpected development given his torrential history as a selfish player coming to a destitute franchise. He lifted the team, showcased his old skills and did everything he was required to do. The Cavs still can’t move his contract, so they’re stuck with him next year yet they drafted Irving anyway. They’re crowded in Cleveland at the point (along with Ramon Sessions) so something needs to give.
5. New York Knicks - Perhaps they put Isaiah Thomas back in charge of the team after all, because they chose Iman Shumpert when they already have a solid point guard trio in starter Chauncey Billups, defensive stopped Anthony Carter and young Toney Douglas. A ridiculous call at No. 17 overall. Shumpert isn’t the project some are saying (Chad Ford) with a great frame (6-5, 209) and great defense, but it’s still unnecessary when other value was available.