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Winderman: Irving, Kanter as top picks? This is one odd draft.

Jun 22, 2011, 5:52 PM EDT

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Quality? That’s debatable.

Depth? That’s the consensus.

Bizarre? Apparently that’s the ticket.

The 2011 NBA Draft comes off as much as circus as orderly restocking of rosters.

Chet Kammerer, a long-time NBA talent evaluator who currently works alongside Pat Riley as the Heat’s vice president of player personnel, said Wednesday that any process that starts with Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Enes Kanter is, by nature, bizarre.

“I think it’s one of the more unusual, intriguing drafts that have been out in the last few years,” he said. “There are a lot of subplots.

“But one would be just the No. 1 pick.”

While Irving is almost a lock to go No. 1, Kammerer said just the fact that Irving, Williams and Kanter came to be viewed as No. 1-worthy speaks to the unique nature of this year’s process.

“We’re talking about a No. 1 pick,” he said, “of a 6-foot-10 Turkish player that nobody has seen play for 15 months in an actual game.

“We’re talking about a point guard who’s only a freshman that played 11 games.

“And we’re talking about a center in an average league this year that now they say is going to be a four-three.

“And that’s who we’re thinking about drafting at No. 1?

“To me, that, right there, makes for a very interesting draft and trying to project what kind of players that we’re talking about.”

What Kammerer said is so unusual is that an argument could be made that this almost is the NBA’s version of the NFL’s Andrew Luck-less 2011 draft, with prospects such as Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Jeremy Lamb bypassing the process.

“There’s probably at least five college players this year that aren’t in this draft that would probably be lottery picks, but because of the pending, potential (lockout) they’ve decided to make it another year of college,” he said. “I think that’s interesting. It’s kind of a phenomenon this year.”

Indeed, this could wind up as the rare year when a mid- or late-lottery pick winds up as Rookie of the Year, or perhaps Norm Macdonald gets his wish and Blake Griffin becomes the first repeat winner of the award.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

  1. steelyres211 - Jun 22, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    I’d be willing to bet that a non-lottery pick is rookie of the year, this draft class is that weak. Some decent to good role players, but few real all-stars, and no super-stars.

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