The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Duke point guard Kyrie Irving as their top pick in this year's NBA draft in Newmark, New Jersey, Thursday.
Despite playing only 11 collegiate games due to a right foot injury, Irving "was too good to pass up" says Associated Press sportswriter Brian Mahoney.
The Cavaliers, which struggled last season primarily because of LeBron James' departure, also selected Tristan Thompson with the fourth overall pick. Thompson, an excellent shot-blocker and a tenacious rebounder, becomes the highest Canadian-born pick in the history of the NBA Draft.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected power forward Derrick Williams as this year's second overall while 6-foot-11 Turkish superstar Enes Kanter was selected third overall by the Utah Jazz. Closing off this year's top five picks is Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, who was selected fifth overall by the Toronto Raptors.
Czech Republic's Jan Veseley was selected sixth overall by the Washington Wizards. A three-team draft day trade sent Charlotte Bobcats' veterans Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston and Sacarmento Kings' Beno Udrih to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bobcats received the seventh overall pick, which was owned by the Kings. In return, the Kings received John Salmons and the Bucks' 10th overall pick.
The Bobcats used their draft pick to select Congo's Bismack Biyembo while the Kings used the 10th pick to draft talented point guard Jimmer Fredette.
Brandon Knight of Kentucky and Kemba Walker of Connecticut were selected as the eight and ninth pick by the Detroit Pistons and the Bobcats respectively.
The San Antonio Spurs traded their backup point guard George Hill in exchange for the Indiana Pacers' 15th overall pick, 6-foot-7 forward Kawhi Leonard. Last season's runner up, the Miami Heat, drafted point guard Norris Cole with the 28th overall pick.
Interestingly, five of the first ten draft picks are International players. The uncertainty that surrounds the league's collective bargaining may have resulted into a weaker American collegiate pool. Talented players like Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes opted to stay in college, fearing that rookies will be left unemployed if a new CBA isn't negotiated before the end of this month.