Bismack Biyombo was drafted seventh overall, but was already the fifth big man selected that night. He was immediately packaged in a three-team trade that sent him to the Charlotte Hornets and gave the Kings Jimmer Fredette. Fredette was selected 10th, behind Biyombo, and was expected to be the young point guard to work with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins to return Sacramento to its glory days.
Fredette didn’t quite live up to the hype. He was a noted sharpshooter at BYU, and set the college basketball world ablaze during the 2010-11 NCAA season. After he was drafted, people’s high hopes for the former Cougar quickly died.
His style of play would make it difficult for him to stay in the league. He wasn’t good at defense, wasn’t athletic, and required the offense to flow through him for him to be effective. He never averaged over eight points per game in the NBA before he signed in China, where the teams were more willing to shape their offenses around him. While his aspirations for success in the NBA fell flat, he will always be remembered as a basketball legend in China and in college.
More from NBA Draft
- Meet Cooper Flagg: The best American prospect since LeBron James
- Grading every NBA team’s highest draft pick in the last five years
- Meet Matas Buzelis, the NBA’s next great point-forward
- Predicting the top 5 rookies heading into the 2023–24 NBA season
- NBA Draft: Grading every first-round pick after rookie year
The Kings didn’t miss out on much by trading away Biyombo. He’s been underwhelming his entire career aside from the 2016 NBA Playoffs. As the Toronto Raptors’ starting center, Biyombo recorded a stat line of 17 points and 16 rebounds against the Miami Heat, and tied for the most rebounds grabbed in a playoff game since 1984 when he had 26 boards and four blocks against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Those performances landed him an overly-generous contract with the Orlando Magic. He now resides in Charlotte in his second tenure with the team.
Tyler Honeycutt had an uneventful career with the Kings. He averaged 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds per game in his first two seasons and spent most of his time in the D-League. He would be out of the NBA by 2013. His post-NBA life took an unfortunate downturn, as he passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a police shootout in July 2018.
Isaiah Thomas became an All-Star, despite being drafted with the very last pick in 2011. He out-performed most people’s expectations and earned the starting point guard spot in Sacramento over Fredette. Due to discrepancies between Thomas and Cousins, IT was sent to Phoenix, then to Boston soon after.
There was a period of time where Isaiah Thomas was considered one of the best point guards in the NBA. He led the Boston Celtics to the 1-seed in the 2017 NBA Playoffs and was a top-five MVP candidate.
A hip injury would hinder his production, and he was subsequently packaged in a trade to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. His hip has continued to be a nuisance, and the 5’9″ point guard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers before he signed with the Denver Nuggets in 2018 free agency. IT’s struggles continued in the Mile High City, and he lost his spot in the Nuggets’ rotation.
Who they missed
Some of the notable names they could have drafted, but didn’t, include:
- Kemba Walker (9th)
- Klay Thompson (11th)
- Kawhi Leonard (15th)
- Nikola Vucevic (16th)
- Tobias Harris (19th)
- Nikola Mirotic (23rd)
- Jimmy Butler (30th)
There are two takeaways from this. First, this was a very deep draft. Second, the Kings really messed up with their selections in 2011.