The 2011 NBA Draft saw the Sacramento Kings select everything from a college superstar to an undersized MVP candidate, while passing on several soon-to-be perennial All Stars.
With the seventh pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Kings selected Bismack Biyombo who would be traded to Charlotte. Three picks later with the 10th selection, the Bucks chose college standout Jimmer Fredette who would then be traded to Sacramento.
Immediately following the selection of Jimmer, Klay Thompson was taken by the Golden State Warriors. To add to the devastation, add Kawhi Leonard, Tobias Harris, and Jimmy Butler to a list of players Sacramento passed on.
With the 35th pick in the draft, the Kings took UCLA small forward Tyler Honeycutt. And then with the last pick in the entire draft, Sacramento selected 5-foot-9-inch Isaiah Thomas.
The Kings drafted Jimmer after his incredible year at BYU where he was the leading scorer in the NCAA and won the National Player of the Year award.
Jimmer became an instant fan favorite in Sacramento, but he would never come close to reproducing his college glory at the NBA level.
In his two and a half seasons in Sacramento, Jimmer averaged 15 minutes a game and 7 points.
Fifteen days after scoring a career-high 24 points in a win at Madison Square Garden, the Kings bought out Jimmer’s contract.
Jimmer was quickly picked up by the Bulls to finish the season and spent the next couple years with the Pelicans, Spurs, and Knicks.
Jimmer found himself in the D-League playing for the Westchester Knicks in 2015. In the D-League he would flourish, becoming an All Star, All Star Game MVP, and be named to the All NBA D-League Second Team.
In the offseason, Jimmer decided to take his game to Shanghai where he would become a huge success. In his first season, he won the International Regular Season MVP in a year where he dropped 73 points in a game and averaged 37.6 points per game.
Fredette would play two more years in China, releasing his own signature shoe, scoring 75 points in a game, and gaining the nickname “the lonely god.”
After tearing it up in China, the Suns gave Jimmer one more shot at the NBA in 2019. But after poor play, the Suns declined to pick up his second-year option.
Jimmer decided to go back overseas, this time to Greece where he plays now for Panathinaikos, awaiting, he hopes, for one more attempt to prove himself in the NBA.
The Kings selected Honeycutt with the 35th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft after having a solid stint at UCLA.
Honeycutt didn’t amount to much in Sacramento, only playing 24 games for the Kings while spending most of his time in the D-League.
Honeycutt was traded to the Rockets on February 20, 2013, and was waived by the team 13 days later.
In the offseason, Honeycutt decided to sign overseas where he would bounce around countries for the next four years. During his time away, Honeycutt won a Eurocup championship as well as the Turkish Basketball Super League Slam Dunk Contest.
Isaiah Thomas, though the smallest and lowest draft choice, is ironically the most accomplished player out of the Kings’ three draft selections in 2011.
Thomas was named Rookie of the Month twice during his first year and was selected to the NBA All Rookie Second Team.
The Hustlin’ Husky was an easy fan favorite as he played exciting basketball despite his disadvantaged size.
He spent two more years in Sacramento where Kings fans saw him average 20 points a game in the 2013-14 season. Despite his stellar year, however, the Kings decided to move in a different direction, sending him over to Phoenix during the offseason.
In Phoenix, Thomas saw himself in a log jam at his position as the Suns already had two borderline All Star guards in Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.
Thomas’ stay in the Valley of the Sun would be short lived as he was traded to the Celtics that same season.
Thomas’ career would take off even further in Boston where he helped lead the Celtics to the postseason in his first half season with the team. Although Boston was swept by the LeBron-led Cavs, Thomas averaged 17.4 points per game along with 7 assists during the series.
The 2015-16 season saw Thomas receive his first All Star Game selection and helped push Boston to the postseason yet again, though the Celtics would see themselves lose in the first round once again.
The next season would be Thomas’ best. Being named an All Star again, he finished the season on the cusp of averaging 29 points per game, while leading the Celtics to the one-seed in the East. For his high caliber year, Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting.
Even after his sister passed away during the Celtics’ playoff run, Isaiah helped push the team all the way to the Conference Finals against the Cavaliers. But after losing the first two games, Thomas was ruled out the remainder of the postseason with a hip injury, and thus his great stint in Boston came to an end.
In the offseason, Thomas was traded to the Cavaliers in a package that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston. His hip injury turned out to be more serious than what appeared, causing him to sit out until January.
After playing well for the Cavs since returning to the court, Thomas was traded to the Lakers on February 8, where he would finish out his season before becoming a free agent in the offseason.
Thomas signed with Denver where he would only play 12 games with the Nuggets, not playing again until this season with the Wizards.
Thomas was dealt by the Wizards to the Clippers when the trade deadline rolled around this year and was waived by the team two days later. He is currently a free agent with the NBA’s continuation approaching.
Kings fans will remember the 2011 NBA Draft by reminiscing what Jimmer could’ve been if he was his college self, remembering the gritty Pizza Guy, Isaiah Thomas, and imagining how things would be different if the front office drafted someone like Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, or Jimmy Butler.