NBA Draft 2011 – Where are they now?

The NBA draft saw high quality players such as, Kawhi Leonard (15th pick), Klay Thompson (11th pick) and Jimmy Butler (30th pick), get their route into the NBA and climb from the bottom of the ranks to the top of their game, but what happened to the incredibly talented top picks from that year?

1st overall pick – Kyrie Irving

Drafted to the Cavaliers in 2011, Kyrie went onto winning a championship with the Cavs but after 6 successful years at the Cavs including three straight final appearances, which included the 2016 championship.

He then demanded a trade in 2017 after he no longer wanted to be in a team with Lebron as he felt he could not escape ‘his shadow’. Kyrie was traded to the Celtic’s in 2017 and then the Nets in 2019 where he continues to play now, and on the 6th of April dropped 40pts on the New York Knicks, with 2 rebounds and 7 Assists.

2nd overall pick – Derrick Williams

An incredibly talented and athletic player, Williams was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves but just could not find his feet in the NBA. Traded in 2014 to Sacramento, 2015 to the Knicks, 2016 to Miami then the Cavaliers and then the Lakers in 2018. With 7 seasons in the NBA, Williams made the playoffs once with the Cavs in 2017.

Now 29, Williams left the NBA after his one-year stint at Lakers and applies his trade in Spain with the Valencia Basket team, where he got 2pts and a rebound against Divina Seguros Joventut.

3rd overall pick – Enes Kanter

As solid as they come, Enes Kanter was the 3rd overall pick and was drafted to the Utah Jazz where he stayed for four seasons, Oklahoma for 3 seasons, 2 seasons at the knicks, and two in Portland, where he is currently, that where split apart by a season at the Celtics.

This season, Kanter is averaging 11.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 12pts per game, but the Swiss born Turk isn’t just known for his all-round play, he spoke out last year regarding, democracy, human rights, and freedom for his native country and attended the Black Lives Matter protest after the death of George Floyd.

4th overall pick – Tristan Thompson

The 4th overall pick, Thompson was drafted to the Cavaliers in 2011 along with Kyrie. Thompson stayed at the Cavs for nine years being apart of the team that got to three straight finals and apart of the 2017 championship squad.

Now turning out for the Boston Celtics after 619 appearances for the Cavs. Currently averaging 7.9pts, 8.4 rebounds and 1 assist this campaign.

5th overall pick – Jonas Valanciunas

Lithuanian Valanciunas was drafted in 2011 by the Raptors, where he played 8 seasons worth in Toronto before trading to the Memphis grizzlies halfway through the 2018 campaign.

Jonas has had a particularly good three seasons at the Grizzlies and in this campaign so far, he is having his best return for the grizzlies averaging 12.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 16.1pts.

Honorable mentions

Kawhi Leonard was picked 15th overall in the 2011 draft by the Indiana pacers but was traded to the San Antonio Spurs on Draft night. He stayed in San Antonio for 7 seasons before being drafted to the Raptors for a season until he was traded to the Clippers in 2019 where he plays now.

Klay Thompson was drafted by the Golden State Warriors, 11th overall. He has been there since but tore his ACL in 2019 during the NBA finals against the Raptors. A month before the season opener acter recovering from his ACL he tore his Achilles during a workout and was pronounced out for the year.

In his career before injuries Thompson was on the all-defensive team, two time all NBA team, one time all rookie team and one Olympic gold medal. Here is hoping the injuries do not damage his so far great career.

Jimmy Butler was the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft, drafted by the Chicago Bulls. Butler spent six seasons with bulls before being traded to Minnesota in 2017, Philadelphia in 2018 and then Miami in 2019 where he is now.

31 now, Butler is averaging 21.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.3 assists this campaign.

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