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Do-Over: 2011 NBA Draft

If we re-did the 2011 Draft with the knowledge we have today, with what pick would Klay Thompson be selected?

Let’s face it, we all like to be arm chair analysts. It’s part of the fun of being a sports fan. It connects us with friends, family, co-workers and schoolmates, or anybody else you can get to pay attention. Whether you’re a proponent of the way things are going with your team or you just can’t stand what has happened over the last few months, years or decades, you have your opinions and you like to share them. And when it comes to the NBA, nothing strikes the nerve of a team’s fan base quite like the draft.

Whether you’re a basketball junkie who is an encyclopedia of prospects in both the college and international ranks or a fan whose draft knowledge is mostly based on performances in a few games in the NCAA Tournament, you probably usually have an ideal player in mind for your team’s draft position. Unfortunately, the Warriors are currently without a pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, so predicting which prospect the Dubs should target on Thursday is somewhat of a meaningless exercise as things stand now. Instead, we can revisit the NBA Draft of years past and wonder, with the knowledge we have today, where would Klay Thompson be selected if we re-did the 2011 NBA Draft?

First Round
1. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 11. Klay Thompson (GSW) 21. Nolan Smith (POR)
2. Derrick Williams (MIN) 12. Alec Burks (UTA) 22. Kenneth Faried (DEN)
3. Enes Kanter (UTA) 13. Markieff Morris (PHX) 23. Nikola Mirotić (HOU)*
4. Tristan Thompson (CLE) 14. Marcus Morris (HOU) 24. Reggie Jackson (OKC)
5. Jonas Valančiūnas (TOR) 15. Kawhi Leonard (IND)* 25. MarShon Brooks (BOS)*
6. Jan Veselý (WAS) 16. Nikola Vučević (PHI) 26. Jordan Hamilton (DAL)*
7. Bismack Biyombo (SAC)* 17. Iman Shumpert (NYK) 27. JaJuan Johnson (NJN)*
8. Brandon Knight (DET) 18. Chris Singleton (WAS) 28. Norris Cole (CHI)*
9. Kemba Walker (CHA) 19. Tobias Harris (CHA)* 29. Cory Joseph (SAS)
10. Jimmer Fredette (MIL)* 20. Donatas Motiejūnas (MIN)* 30. Jimmy Butler (CHI)
Second Round
31. Bojan Bogdanović (MIA)* 41. Darius Morris (LAL) 51. Jon Diebler (POR)
32. Justin Harper (CLE)* 42. Dāvis Bertāns (IND)* 52. Vernon Macklin (DET)
33. Kyle Singler (DET) 43. Malcolm Lee (CHI)* 53. DeAndre Liggins (ORL)
34. Shelvin Mack (WAS) 44. Charles Jenkins (GSW) 54. Milan Mačvan (CLE)
35. Tyler Honeycutt (SAC) 45. Josh Harrellson (NOH)* 55. E'Twaun Moore (BOS)
36. Jordan Williams (NJN) 46. Andrew Goudelock (LAL) 56. Chukwudiebere Maduabum (LAL)*
37. Trey Thompkins (LAC) 47. Travis Leslie (LAC) 57. Tanguy Ngombo (DAL)*
38. Chandler Parsons (HOU) 48. Keith Benson (ATL) 58. Ater Majok (LAL)
39. Jeremy Tyler (CHA)* 49. Josh Selby (MEM) 59. Ádám Hanga (SAS)
40. Jon Leuer (MIL) 50. Lavoy Allen (PHI) 60. Isaiah Thomas (SAC)
* Involved in draft-night trade following his selection.

As you can remember, the Warriors selected Thompson with the 11th pick in 2011, right after Jimmer Fredette and before Utah took Alec Burks. Going into the draft, predictions on who the Dubs would take were all over the map, but the most popular opinions on the mock draft circuit had the team taking Thompson, Marcus Morris or Bismack Biyombo.

Of course, when you evaluate a draft three years after it happened, you’ll see some hits and misses. Players like Chandler Parsons (Houston) and Isaiah Thomas (Sacramento) would certainly go higher than their actual second round selections. And based on his recent MVP performance in the NBA Finals, you would think Kawhi Leonard would find his way into the first half of the lottery (he was taken 15th). On the other hand, common sense would indicate that Kyrie Irving remain as the number one selection, as he is the only player from the 2011 draft class to become an NBA All-Star so far, let alone MVP of the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

But with what pick would Klay Thompson be taken?

We’ll let you decide, but here’s some information that might help support your decision. Thompson is tied for second in scoring in his draft class, averaging 16.0 points for his career. He and Irving, who is at the top of the 2011 draft class in terms of career scoring and assists, are the only two players selected in 2011 to rank in the top four in scoring among their fellow draftees in each of their three NBA seasons. Thompson, as all Warriors know, is an elite 3-point shooter. He made nearly 100 more treys this past season (223) than the second most by a player in his draft class (130 3-pointers by Parsons). Not only does Thompson fill up the scoring column, but he does so while winning games. The Warriors were 24-9 in 2013-14 when he had at least 20 points, and he has helped lead the Warriors to the postseason in each of the last two years.

2011 Draft Class Scoring Leaders By Season
Player PPG
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 18.5
Brandon Knight (DET) 12.8
MarShon Brooks (NJN) 12.6
Klay Thompson (GSW) 12.5
Kemba Walker (CHA) 12.1
Player PPG
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 22.5
Kemba Walker (CHA) 17.7
Klay Thompson (GSW) 16.6
Chandler Parsons (HOU) 15.5
Isaiah Thomas (SAC) 13.9
Player PPG
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 20.8
Isaiah Thomas (SAC) 20.3
Klay Thompson (GSW) 18.4
Brandon Knight (MIL) 17.9
Kemba Walker (CHA) 17.7

In addition to being productive, Thompson has been extremely durable in his NBA career. He has missed only one game in three seasons, and that was to attend a funeral of a family member. He has logged more career minutes and games than anybody in his draft class, and in addition to his offensive prowess he has the size and athleticism to defend multiple positions. Thompson is one of the league’s premiere shooters whose game has improved throughout each of his first three NBA seasons. Furthermore, he is one of four 2011 draftees on the 2014-16 USA Men’s National Team Pool (Irving, Leonard and Kenneth Faried are the others).

So we ask the question again: If we were to re-do the 2011 NBA Draft, where would you select Klay Thompson? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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