Basketball

Isaiah Thomas was the last pick in 2011; how are the other 59 players faring?

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas celebrates Tuesday after a Game 2 win over the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Thomas scored a career-high 53 points in the 129-119 overtime victory in Boston.
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas celebrates Tuesday after a Game 2 win over the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Thomas scored a career-high 53 points in the 129-119 overtime victory in Boston. The Associated Press

He was the NBA’s version of Mr. Irrelevant, but Isaiah Thomas has fought his whole career to prove his relevance.

The Kings selected the junior point guard out of Washington with the 60th and final pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

Since then, all the 5-foot-9 guard has done is become a prominent scorer in the league, three times averaging more than 20 points in a season. He’s also made the All-Star game twice and is cementing his legacy as arguably the best 60th pick in NBA history (only Michael Cooper in 1978 and the late Drazen Petrovic in 1986 could be in the conversation).

Oh, and he scored a career-high 53 points Tuesday to help his Boston Celtics take a 2-0 lead over the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics won 129-119 in overtime at TD Garden, with Thomas 20 in the fourth quarter and nine of Boston’s 15 points in overtime.

Forget that the Kings traded him to Phoenix for next to nothing following the 2013-14 season, when he averaged 20.3 points. The question is how many of the 59 players selected before him are making an impact in the NBA? See below for more.

BY THE NUMBERS

A statistical look at Thomas and the 2011 draft:

2: All-Star appearances for Thomas (2015-16 and 2016-17).

3: Players drafted in 2011 who have been All-NBA selections (Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Golden State’s Klay Thompson).

6: Players, including Thomas, from this draft who have been All-Stars (Irving, Leonard, Thompson, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker are the others).

6: Players drafted in 2011 who never made it to the NBA.

9.8: Fourth-quarter scoring average for Thomas this season, which was second in the NBA.

19.1: Thomas’ career scoring average. Irving (21.1) is the only player from this draft who scores more per game. Thompson also averages 19.1.

20.3: Thomas’ scoring average in 2013-14, his last season with the Kings. He averaged 15.3 in three seasons with Sacramento.

28.9: Thomas’ scoring average this season, a career high and third in the NBA.

53: Points scored Tuesday against Washington, a career high. From this draft, only Thompson (60 vs. Indiana on Dec. 5, 2016) and Kyrie Irving (57 at San Antonio on March 13, 2015) have higher single-game scoring outputs.

THE 2011 NBA DRAFT

This list doesn’t include pre-draft trades, only which teams selected a player and where they traded the player to.

Player

Drafting Team (Traded To)

School/club

Of Note

1. Kyrie Irving, PG

Cleveland

Duke

Rookie of the Year; All-Star (4x)

2. Derrick Williams, F

Minnesota

Arizona

All-Rookie Second Team; with fifth NBA club

3. Enes Kanter, C

Utah

Kentucky

With Oklahoma City last three seasons

4. Tristan Thompson, PF

Cleveland

Texas

All-Rookie Second Team

5. Jonas Valanciunas, C

Toronto

Lietuvos rytas Vilnius (Lithuania)

All-Rookie Second Team in 2013

6. Jan Veselý, PF

Washington

Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)

Left NBA in 2014; now in Turkey

7. Bismack Biyombo, C

Kings (Charlotte)

Fuenlabrada (Spain)

Now with Orlando

8. Brandon Knight, PG

Detroit

Kentucky

All-Rookie First Team; now with Phoenix

9. Kemba Walker, PG

Charlotte

Connecticut

All-Star in 2016-17

10. Jimmer Fredette, G

Milwaukee (Kings)

BYU

Left NBA in 2016; now in China

11. Klay Thompson, SG

Golden State

Washington State

All-Star (3x); Considered one of NBA’s top shooters

12. Alec Burks, SG

Utah

Colorado

Bench player averages 10.1 points for his career

13. Markieff Morris, PF

Phoenix

Kansas

Now a starter with Washington

14. Marcus Morris, F

Houston

Kansas

Now a starter with Detroit

15. Kawhi Leonard, SF

Indiana (San Antonio)

San Diego State

2014 Finals MVP; All-Star (2x); Defensive POY (2x)

16. Nikola Vucevic, C

Philadelphia

USC

Starter with Orlando

17. Iman Shumpert, SG

New York

Georgia Tech

All-Rookie First Team; now with Cleveland

18. Chris Singleton, SF

Washington

Florida State

Left NBA in 2014; now in Greece

19. Tobias Harris, SF

Charlotte (Milwaukee)

Tennessee

Now with Detroit

20. Donatas Motiejunas, PF

Minnesota (Houston)

Benetton Treviso (Italy)

Now with New Orleans

21. Nolan Smith, PG

Portland

Duke

Left NBA in 2013; coaching assistant at Duke

22. Kenneth Faried, PF

Denver

Morehead State

All-Rookie First Team; has been starter and reserve

23. Nikola Mirotic, PF

Houston (Chicago)

Real Madrid (Spain)

All-Rookie First Team in 2015

24. Reggie Jackson, PG

Oklahoma City

Boston College

Now with Detroit

25. MarShon Brooks, SG

Boston (New Jersey)

Providence

Left NBA in 2014; now in China

26. Jordan Hamilton, SG

Dallas (Denver)

Texas

151 NBA games; now in Venezuela

27. JaJuan Johnson, PF

New Jersey (Boston)

Purdue

36 games as rookie; now in Italy

28. Norris Cole, PG

Chicago (Minnesota)

Cleveland State

Now with Oklahoma City

29. Cory Joseph, PG

San Antonio

Texas

Now with Toronto

30. Jimmy Butler, SG

Chicago

Marquette

All-Star (3x), Most Improved Player in 2015

31. Bojan Bogdanovic, G/F

Miami (New Jersey)

Cibona Zagreb (Croatia)

All-Rookie Second Team in 2015; now with Washington

32. Justin Harper, PF

Cleveland (Orlando)

Richmond

Played in 22 NBA games; now in D-League

33. Kyle Singler, SF

Detroit

Duke

All-Rookie Second Team in 2013; now with Oklahoma City

34. Shelvin Mack. PG

Washington

Butler

Now with Utah

35. Tyler Honeycutt, SF

Kings

UCLA

Left Kings in 2013; now in Turkey

36. Jordan Williams, PF

New Jersey

Maryland

43 games as rookie; hasn’t been pro since 2013

37. Trey Thompkins, PF

L.A. Clippers

Georgia

24 games as rookie; now in Spain

38. Chandler Parsons, SF

Houston

Florida

All-Rookie Second Team; now with Memphis

39. Jeremy Tyler, PF

Charlotte (Golden State)

Tokyo Apache (Japan)

Left NBA in 2014; now in China

40. Jon Leuer, PF

Milwaukee

Wisconsin

Now with Detroit

41. Darius Morris, PG

L.A. Lakers

Michigan

Left NBA in 2015; now in D-League

42. Davis Bertans, SF

Indiana (San Antonio)

Union Olimpija (Slovenia)

Currently in first NBA season; played in 67 games

43. Malcolm Lee, SG

Chicago (Minnesota)

UCLA

Left NBA in 2014; now in Turkey

44. Charles Jenkins, PG

Golden State

Hofstra

Left NBA in 2013; now in Serbia

45. Josh Harrellson, C

New Orleans

Kentucky

Left NBA in 2014; now in Japan

46. Andrew Goudelock, PG

L.A. Lakers

Charleston

49 NBA games over three seasons; now in Israel

47. Travis Leslie, SG

L.A. Clippers

Georgia

10 NBA games in 2013; now in D-League

48. Keith Benson, C

Atlanta

Oakland

Three NBA games in 2012; now in D-League

49. Josh Selby, PG

Memphis

Kansas

Left NBA in 2013; now in Israel

50. Lavoy Allen, PF

Philadelphia

Temple

Now with Indiana

51. Jon Diebler, SG

Portland

Ohio State

Never played in NBA

52. Vernon Macklin, PF

Detroit

Florida

23 games as rookie; now in Qatar

53. DeAndre Liggins, SG

Orlando

Kentucky

Now with Dallas

54. Milan Macvan, PF

Cleveland

Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)

Never played in NBA

55. E’Twaun Moore, SG

Boston

Purdue

Now with New Orleans

56. Chukwudiebere Maduabum, PF

L.A. Lakers (Denver)

Bakersfield Jam (D-League)

Never played in NBA

57. Tanguy Ngombo, SF

Dallas (Portland)

Al Rayyan (Qatar)

Never played in NBA

58. Ater Majok, PF

L.A. Lakers

Gold Coast Blaze (Australia)

Never played in NBA

59. Adam Hanga, SG

San Antonio

Albacomp (Hungary)

Never played in NBA

60. Isaiah Thomas, PG

Kings

Washington

Traded to Phoenix in 2014; two-time All-Star in Boston

The argument can be made that Thomas is a top-three player from this draft. Only Irving, Leonard, Thompson and maybe Butler give Thomas a challenge. This should serve as further proof that it’s not where a team drafts, it’s who they draft.

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