2011 NBA Draft: First Round

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2011 NBA Draft: First Round

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn BOSTON Like most NBA drafts, much of the smoke leading up to the draft provided few sparks once the picks were made.

As expected, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Duke's Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 overall pick. Kyrie, whose father Drederick was a standout basketball player at Boston University, was followed by Arizona's Derrick Williams who was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 2 pick.

At that point, things started to get kind of tricky.

The Utah Jazz had the No. 3 pick, and seemed torn between taking Kentucky's Brandon Knight or Enes Kanter from Kentucky. The Jazz, who also had some interest in trading down to select BYU star Jimmer Fredette, stood pat and selected Kanter.

Kanter's selection triggered a run on international talent, with three of the next four being from outside the United States.

That run opened the door for the Detroit Pistons to select Knight, a 6-foot-3 point guard projected by most to be among the top four or five players selected.

Kemba Walker, who led UConn to a national championship this past spring, was selected with the ninth overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Walker's stiffest competition for National Player of the Year honors this past season was Jimmer Fredette, who was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks (but will be sent to Sacramento as part of a three-team deal involving the Bucks, Kings and Charlotte Bobcats).

Rounding out the lottery (top-14 picks) were Golden State selecting Washington State's Klay Thompson at No. 11; Utah took Colorado guard Alec Burks at No. 12; Kansas' Markieff Morris was chosen by Phoenix at No. 13 while the Houston Rockets rounded out the lottery, selecting his twin brother, Marcus, with the No. 14 pick.

In addition to the draft being dominated by international players early on, the first round will also featured a handful of trades involving solid NBA players - but no superstar talent.

Milwaukee, Sacramento and Charlotte were involved in a three-team trade in which the Bucks acquired Beno Udrih (from Sacramento), Shaun Livingston (from Charlotte) and Stephen Jackson from Charlotte. The Kings acquired John Salmons (from Milwaukee) and the No. 10 pick in Thursday night's draft, Jimmer Fredette. The Bobcats, one of the more active trading partners on Thursday, received Corey Maggette (from Milwaukee) and the No. 7 pick (Bismack Biyombo) from the Kings.

Charlotte would later draft Jeremy Tyler, who was soon traded to Golden State.

The San Antonio Spurs traded George Hill to Indiana for the rights to the Pacer's No. 15 pick, Kawhi Leonard.

The Houston Rockets are reportedly set to ship Brad Miller and the No. 23 pick (Nikola Mirotic) plus future considerations, to Minnesota for Jonny Flynn and the Timberwolves' No. 20 pick (Donatas Motiejunas).

A draft wouldn't be complete if the Celtics' Danny Ainge didn't make a move. The C's used their No. 25 pick on Providence's Marshon Brooks, and traded him to New Jersey for the No. 27 pick (Jajuan Johnson) and a 2014 second round pick.

"I like it a lot," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of adding Johnson to the roster. "We didn't think he'd be there, and he was."

In addition to Johnson, the C's were also interested in Boston College's Reggie Jackson and Marquette's Jimmy Butler who were selected No. 24 and No. 30, respectively.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

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Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
 
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
 
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
 
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
 
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
 
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
 
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
 
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
 
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
 
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
 
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
 
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
 
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
 
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
 
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
 
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
 
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
 
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”