By Shawn Muller–
(CBS) The 2011 NBA Draft came and went Thursday night without much excitement at all.
Well, I rarely get excited about any draft–no matter the sport–but Thursday night was just so…blah.
Anytime you combine a lack of star power with a supposed “star-studded” event, the evening is not going to live up to the hype, no matter how hard the network providing the coverage tries to sell you on it.
So there I was.
Sitting on my couch.
Pondering my next move.
The Cubs had an off day (well, they have had an off day all season), and the White Sox–you know, that other baseball team in this city that actually has an outside chance of making the playoffs this season–was also inactive. The NBA Playoffs have concluded, as well as the NHL Playoffs. I sure as hell wasn’t so desperate for a sports fix that I would watch MLS soccer (sorry soccer fans).
I needed something sports-related, so I manned up and decided to sit through the NBA Draft. As I was sitting there watching the bore-fest unfold in front of me, I was trying to think of a recent draft that was as talent-barren as the 2011 class.
The class that I found that best resembled this one in overall talent…and there have been some real stinkers in the past couple of years…was the class of 2006.
The top five picks, in 2006, were Andrea Bargnani, LaMarcus Aldridge (nice trade Chicago), Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas (thanks Portland), and Shelden Williams.
Other than Aldridge, none of the other top five picks have done much in the league. Brandon Roy (6th) and Rudy Gay (8th) have been decent, and the best player was the 21st pick…Rajon Rondo.
Not a very good class to say the least.
Now, I am probably being way too hard on the 2011 class, considering that these players have yet to set their collective feet on an NBA basketball court, but does anyone really look at a class like this and see real “impact” players for years to come?
I think Kyrie Irving is going to be a decent pro–maybe an occasional All-Star–but I doubt he turns into a Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, or Deron Williams type of point guard.
Derrick Williams has the chance to be a pretty good power forward, but again, I just don’t think of him as being a cornerstone to a franchise.
Does Enes Kanter excite you?
How about Tristan Thompson?
Maybe Jonas Valanciunas gets you razzed up?
I am sorry, but I just don’t see it…especially from top five picks.
I honestly think that the player from the 2011 draft who will have the most success throughout his career–when all is said and done–will be Kemba Walker, the point guard out of Connecticut.
He proved last year in the Big East Tournament and in the NCAA Tournament that when the pressure was on, he would deliver. Will that translate into the NBA? We shall see. But just going by Walker’s body of work at the collegiate level, I would say that he is going to be just fine in the professional ranks.
There are definitely a lot of question marks surrounding the 2011 class, no doubt about it. But one thing is for sure, however:
The boys from 2011 are definitely a far cry from a class like 2008 (a class that I still believe will go down as one of the best classes ever), where Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Love were the top five picks.
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.