The 2011 NBA Draft class has proven to be one of the deepest classes in recent memory. The class was highlighted by No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving, but even he is not the most interesting selection from the class. Over time, we have seen many stars develop from picks all over the class.
Even the last pick of the draft turned out to be an All-Star. While some players didn’t pan out in the NBA, there were plenty that did. Let’s take a look at where they are at now.
10. Tristan Thompson (No. 4)
Current Team: Boston Celtics
Original Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Outside of Irving, another 2011 draft pick helped the Cavaliers cut down the nets in 2016. Thompson bounced around between starting and coming off the bench, but he was best coming in with the second unit as the team’s enforcer.
Thompson owns a career average of 9.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. He averaged a double-double in his final two seasons in Cleveland. Last year, it was his first year with the Celtics. At 30 years old, Thompson has plenty of contributing years ahead of him.
9. Enes Kanter (No. 3)
Current Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Original Team: Utah Jazz
Kanter gave the Jazz four successful seasons, including a then career-high 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds. However, Kanter grew tired of Utah and requested a trade, which led to him being dealt with the OKC Thunder. Kanter had a career-high 18.7 points and 11.0 rebounds, which led to a four-year, $70 million contract.
Kanter played two more seasons for OKC and then joined the New York Knicks. His two years in New York featured two of his best individual seasons. He posted 14.1 points and 11.0 rebounds in 2018 and 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in 2019. By the end of 2019, Kanter was acquired by the Trail Blazers, where he helped the team make the Conference Finals. After a stint with Boston, Kanter returned to Portland as a contributor off the bench.
8. Isaiah Thomas (No. 60)
Current Team: Free Agent
Original Team: Sacramento Kings
By his third season in the league, the last draft pick of the 2011 class averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists. Despite a career season, the Kings traded Thomas to the Phoenix Suns, where he was eventually flipped to the Boston Celtics. The best years of his career came in Boston.
Thomas made the All-Star team in 2016 and 2017. In 2016-2017, Thomas averaged a career-high 28.9 points, including breaking a franchise record for points in a quarter with 24, a record that had been held up since Larry Bird (1983) and Todd Day (1995). Thomas also helped lead the Celtics to the Conference Finals, but a hip injury forced him out after two games. Since the hip injury, Thomas has struggled to stay in the league, playing for the Cavaliers, Wizards, and Pelicans since.
7. Tobias Harris (No. 19)
Current Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Original Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Harris is only 29 years old, but it feels like he has been around forever. Harris spent two years with the Bucks before being acquired by the Magic. There, he played four seasons before the Pistons traded for him. In Detroit, Harris averaged as many as 18.1 points per game.
The Los Angeles Clippers acquired Harris in 2018 and saw him average 19.3 and 20.9 points per game. The Clippers traded Harris to the 76ers, where he eventually signed a max contract. Harris has never made an All-Star team but is certainly being paid like one.
6. Nikola Vucevic (No. 16)
Current Team: Chicago Bulls
Original Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Vucevic is a top-5 center in the league that can shoot from downtown and passes from anywhere on the floor. After joining the Orlando Magic, Vucevic became a two-time All-Star. At the NBA Trade Deadline, the Chicago Bulls sent multiple first-round picks to land the skilled big man.
Vucevic has never made it out of the first round of the playoffs as a key contributor. He now has the tall task of pairing with Zach LaVine and bringing the Bulls out of the basement in the standings.
5. Jimmy Butler (No. 30)
Current Team: Miami Heat
Original Team: Chicago Bulls
The last pick of the first round was beloved in Chicago. He was a Cinderella story. Butler went from being homeless in high school to becoming one of the best two-way players in the league. Butler is a five-time All-Defensive selection, as well as a four-time All-NBA honoree.
After the Bulls failed to decide on building around Butler, he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. There he helped the team make the playoffs in 2018 for the first time since 2004. After a failed relationship after two years, Butler was dealt with Philly for half a season before signing a max deal with the Miami Heat. In 2020, Butler led the Heat to the NBA Finals, where the team took the Lakers to six games before falling in defeat.
4. Kemba Walker (No. 9)
Current Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Original Team: Charlotte Hornets
Walker is the greatest Charlotte Hornet of all time. In his tenure, the Hornets made their last playoff appearance. When Walker left Charlotte for a max contract in Boston, he left as the team’s all-time scorer.
Walker signed with Boston in hopes of being the third superstar that could get the team back to the NBA Finals for the first time since the Pierce, Allen, and Garnett years. Instead, he disappointed heavily and was traded this offseason to the Thunder. There, he will look to revive his career.
3. Klay Thompson (No. 11)
Current Team: Golden State Warriors
Original Team: Golden State Warriors
Thompson was the second piece to forming the “Splash Bros” with Steph Curry. With Curry and Thompson leading the way, the Warriors made the NBA Finals in each season from 2015-2019. That also included three championships, winning in 2015, 2017, and 2018. Thompson was also a key contributor for the 2015-2016 team that won an NBA-record 73 regular-season games.
Even though Thompson has not played the last two seasons due to injuries, he is regarded as the second greatest shooter ever, right behind his teammate in Curry. Thompson has suffered a torn ACL and Achilles tear in separate legs. His production will be evaluated heavily this season.
2. Kyrie Irving (No. 1)
Current Team: Brooklyn Nets
Original Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
When Irving was drafted in 2011, he was the reward for the loss of LeBron James. The 2010-2011 season was the first without LeBron. However, Irving formed a powerful trio with LeBron and Kevin Love that saw the Cavaliers make three straight NBA Finals appearances in 2015-2017.
After leaving Cleveland, Irving wanted to lead a franchise on his own, which led to him landing with the Celtics. After failing to make the NBA Finals, he signed with the Nets, where he is a top-5 point guard in the league. Irving will always be remembered for helping the Cavaliers win a 2016 championship, but he received a lot of hate for his dramatic behavior and stance on social issues.
1. Kawhi Leonard (No. 15)
Current Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Original Team: San Antonio Spurs
By the time that Leonard finishes his career, he will be a top-30 player of all time. Leonard was the 2014 NBA Finals MVP with the Spurs. After leaving San Antonio, he led the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever championship, where he also won the 2019 Finals MVP.
Leonard is also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. “The Claw” is a superstar with the Clippers. He is currently rehabilitating a partially torn ACL. When he returns, he will join a team that made the Western Conference Finals.