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NBA Draft Analysis and Recap of the First 14 Picks – How do they all fit?

Thursday’s NBA draft was both exhilarating and head-scratching. Some players went higher than expected (ahem, Iman Shumpert). Others fell far, to teams that never expected to grab them (Chris Singleton and the Wizards, for instance).

It’s too early to tell which of these players will reach their potential and which ones will veer off the tracks in an Adam Morrison-like train crash. Like an overwrought episode of Franklin & Bash, it’ll take a while for the basketball community to reach its final verdicts.

In the meantime, here’s a quick pick-by-pick analysis of each player taken in this year’s lottery and how they fit with their new team:

1. Kyrie Irving (PG) – Cleveland

The look on Irving’s agent’s face when Irving’s name was called No. 1 was priceless. Turns out Cleveland had kept them in the dark all week long. Not a promise (despite there being word of a promise). Not a hint. Nothing. When you heard “Kyrie Irving to the Cleveland Cavaliers,” that’s the first time he heard it too. I’m sure Irving’s agent will remind Cavs executives of this in a few years when it comes time to sign an extension. In the meantime, Irving will be asked to keep the Cavs afloat with a nucleus of Baron Davis, AndersonVarejao, J.J. Hickson and Tristan Thompson. No easy feat. Let’s hope Dan Gilbert isn’t thinking playoffs any time soon.

2. Derrick Williams (PF) - Minnesota

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A Beginner’s Guide to the 2011 NBA Draft: Profiles on All the Top Prospects

Reading NBA draft previews sometimes feels like wading through Princess Bride-style quicksand. With so many names to remember and stats to sift through, it can be hard to figure out what draft info is important and what’s just unnecessary nonsense.

Do you care as a casual fan, for instance, that Enes Kanter has 5.9% body fat? Or that Marcus Morris can run three quarters of the court in 3.2 seconds whereas his twin brother, Markieff, runs it in 3.4 seconds? Not really, right?

You just want the basics. Which is why I wrote this beginner’s guide.

Draft lunatics will already know most of what is written below. It’s not quantum physics, just a good starting place for people staring at the screen on draft night wondering “who is that guy?”

If you’re here for insight into Nikola Vucevic’s standing reach, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if cheat sheet info delivered in 100 words or less is your thing, I’m your guy. You won’t find any quicksand here.

Here’s my Cliff Notes-style guide to the 2011 NBA draft:

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