- Maddie Meyer/Getty
The 2011 NBA Draft has proven to be one of the deepest classes in recent memory.
The draft was so deep that 29 teams missed one of the best prospects – Isaiah Thomas.
The Kings took Thomas with the very last pick, No. 60, completely unaware that the diminutive 5-foot-9 guard from Washington would become this generation’s Allen Iverson – a spunky, athletic, crafty scorer defenses can’t stop.
After stops in Sacramento and Phoenix, Thomas became the star of the Celtics, helping them win the No. 1 seed in the East in 2017. Now, he’s been used as the centerpiece for a trade with the first overall pick of the 2011 draft, Kyrie Irving, in a blockbuster deal between the Celtics and Cavaliers.
Here are some of the players drafted before Thomas that NBA teams are probably kicking themselves over today.
Some picks still look good today. The Cavaliers took Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick.
Irving’s stint with the Cavs was a prosperous one, and he will forever cherished in Cleveland for sealing the 2016 championship with the game-winning three-pointer. But after he grew tired of playing second fiddle to LeBron, he requested a trade and was moved to Boston, with the Cavs getting Thomas and other assets in return.
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The Cavaliers also drafted Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick.
Thompson has been a crucial member of the Cavs for his defense and rebounding.
The Warriors took Klay Thompson with the 11th pick.
Thompson is part of the Warriors’ core four players and one of the best shooters in the NBA.
The Spurs made a draft-night trade with the Pacers to steal their 15th pick, Kawhi Leonard.
Today, Leonard is an MVP candidate and the franchise’s next Tim Duncan — a quiet, humble, dominant superstar.
There were good picks later on, too, such as the Bulls drafting Jimmy Butler with the 30th pick.
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Butler has developed to become one of the NBA’s best two-way players and a perennial All-Star. The Bulls traded Butler to the Timberwolves during the 2017 offseason in an effort to get pieces for a rebuild.
- Jonathan Daniel/Getty
Other picks don’t look so good, however. The Timberwolves took Derrick Williams with the second pick.
Williams finished 2017 on the Cavs, his fifth team in six years, and is no once again a free agent. He’s reached double-digits in points per game just once.
The Wizards took Jan Vesely with the sixth pick.
Vesely played three seasons in the NBA, averaging 3.6 points per game. He now plays for Turkish team Fenerbache.
The Sacramento Kings took Bismack Biyombo with the seventh pick and later traded him to the then-Charlotte Bobcats in a three-team trade.
Biyombo has been productive at times, though he struggled in 2016-17 with the Orlando Magic after signing a $72 million deal in 2016.
The Detroit Pistons took Brandon Knight with the eighth pick.
Perhaps best known for being posterized by DeAndre Jordan, Knight has been solid at times during stops in Milwaukee and Phoenix, but fell out of favor on the 24-58 Suns in 2016-17.
The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Jimmer Fredette with the tenth pick and later dealt him to the Kings.
Fredette played on five teams in five seasons. He now plays in China.
The Wizards took Chris Singleton with the 18th pick.
Singleton played three years in the NBA, averaging 4.1 points per game and now plays in Greece.
The Timberwolves took Donatas Motiejunas with the 20th pick in the draft and later traded him to the Rockets.
- Thomas B. Shea/Getty
Motiejunas is now playing in China. He averaged seven points per game while appearing in over 60 games just twice in five years in the NBA.
The Blazers took Nolan Smith with the 21st pick in the draft.
Smith played just 84 games in two seasons. He is now a special assistant on Duke’s men’s basketball team.
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The Celtics drafted MarShon Brooks with the 25th pick in the draft and later traded him to the then-New Jersey Nets.
Brooks played three years in the NBA and now plays in China.
The New Jersey Nets took JaJuan Johnson with the 27th pick, then traded him to the Celtics.
Johnson played just one year in the NBA. He now plays in Turkey.
The Bulls took Norris Cole with the 28th pick, then traded him to the Heat.
Cole was a valuable member of LeBron James’ Heat teams, but has since played on three teams in three years. He’s currently on the Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The Nets took Jordan Williams in the second round, with the 36th overall pick.
Williams played just one season in the NBA. According to The Washington Post, Williams was charged with kidnapping and robbery in January 2017.
Source: Washington Post
The Clippers took Trey Thompkins with the 37th overall pick.
Thompkins played just one season and now plays for Real Madrid in Spain.
The Clippers also took Travis Leslie with the 47th overall pick.
Leslie played just ten games in the NBA and now plays in the D-League.
The Hawks took Keith Benson with the 48th pick.
Benson played just three games for the Warriors in 2011-12 and is now in the D-League.
The Grizzlies took Josh Selby with the 49th pick.
Selby played two seasons and now plays in Israel.
The Blazers took Jon Diebler with the 51st pick. He never played in the NBA and now plays in Turkey.
The Cavaliers took Milan Macvan with the 54th pick. He also never played in the NBA and now plays in Germany.
The Lakers took Chukwudiebere Maduabum with the 57th pick. He never played in the NBA and now plays in Japan, though his draft rights have been passed around the NBA, currently owned by the 76ers.
The Wolves took Tanguy Ngombo with the 57th pick. Ngombo never played after it was revealed he was actually 26 years old and draft ineligible. He now plays in Qatar.
Source: SB Nation Minnesota
The Lakers took Ater Majok with the 58th pick. He hasn’t played in the NBA and currently plays in Lebanon. The Bulls own his rights.
The Spurs took Adam Hanga with the 59th pick in the draft. Hanga plays in Hungary and plans to come to the NBA next season.
Source: News 4 San Antonio
Finally, with the last pick in the draft, the Kings drafted Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas was traded to the Suns by the Kings, then later to the Celtics in 2014. The diminutive guard went on to become one of the most dynamic scorers in the NBA for the first-place Celtics, and now he is set to join LeBron and the Cavaliers for the 2017-18 season.
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