Though only 6-foot-2, the top overall pick in the draft has a tall task ahead of him in Cleveland. With Baron Davis now in New York and the Cavs looking to improve off their historically awful 19-63 season, Irving will be looked to turn the franchise around, much like another top pick did in his seven seasons in Cleveland.
2 of 9Andy King/AP
There are plenty of executives around the league who believe Williams (6-8) is the best player in the draft, despite being selected No. 2. He is an explosive athlete with a dangerous inside-out game, and the rare prospect in the 2011 draft whom many talent evaluators can see eventually becoming an All-Star. But his game is also often compared to that of Minnesota's Michael Beasley, meaning the Wolves will have some decisions to make now regarding the makeup of their frontcourt.
3 of 9Andy King/AP
At long last, Minnesota fans will finally get to see their highly touted 2009 draft pick in action. The Spanish sensation struggled in Eurobasket this past summer (1.5 points and 2.1 assists in 15 minutes per game), but Timberwolves executives are still hopeful Rubio can help turn the franchise around. And if his NBA preseason debut was any indication, they have reason to be optimistic.
4 of 9Colin E Braley/AP
The Jazz were torn on taking Kanter with the No. 3 pick and looked to be leaning toward Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight for weeks leading up to the draft. But sources close to the team said general manager Kevin O'Connor eventually led the turn to the 6-foot-11 Kanter, who won out over the desire to find a replacement for veteran point guard Devin Harris. Kanter is a physical two-way player who is expected to be a solid pro for years.
5 of 9Rich Pedroncelli/AP
The Kings came very close to leaving Sacramento just a few months before selecting the 6-2 Fredette (No. 10 pick), and they now need to energize the fan base in ways that not only sell tickets but also lead to a long-overdue arena deal. That's the business appeal of drafting Fredette. As for basketball, he will be given a chance to not only score but also play a more conventional point guard role. His defense is very suspect, though, and it remains to be seen how he'll fit with third-year guard Tyreke Evans.
6 of 9Jeff Zelevansky/Icon SMI
Knicks fans (as always) were less than satisfied when the team passed on Florida State's Chris Singleton to snag the 6-5 Shumpert with the No. 17 pick. But the Georgia Tech product is slowing changing opinions in New York, especially after defensive center Tyson Chandler signed on as a free agent. Shumpert is also a defense-first player, as well as tremendous athlete and scorer, and he could help a Knicks team filled with starpower but lacking in defensive prowess.
7 of 9Bill Kostroun/AP
The Wizards get their man in Vesely (No. 6 pick), an explosive and dynamic talent who has drawn comparisons to Andrei Kirilenko. This was the worst-kept secret of the draft, with Washington hoping all along Vesely would be there. At 6-11, he can run with the franchise's centerpiece, point guard John Wall, and trade alley-oops with the likes of center JaVale McGee.
8 of 9Bill Kostroun/AP
The Bobcats got the offensive punch they coveted when they selected UConn guard and NCAA Champion, Walker, with the No. 9 pick. Here's the cherry on top for Michael Jordan & Co.: He can defend, and distribute, and lead. While Charlotte already has a diminutive point guard in D.J. Augustin, it won't be long before the 6-1 Walker takes the reins.
9 of 9Jeff Zelevansky/Icon SMI
After losing three of their core players (unrestricted free agents J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin, and restricted free agent Wilson Chandler are playing in China on no-opt-out deals), the 6-8 Faried may be leaned on heavily as the Nuggets continue to rebuild after the departure of Carmelo Anthony last February. Faried, the No. 22 pick, impressed at Morehead State and could easily help fill the void in the paint with his rugged rebounding.
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