2011 NBA Draft Has Global Flavor

Posted June 24th, 2011 at 1:50 am (UTC-5)
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Australian-born Kyrie Irving was the number one pick in the National Basketball Association's annual rookie draft in New York Thursday.

Irving was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers, despite playing in only 11 games in his freshman year at Duke University last season due to a toe injury. The Cavaliers are anxious to begin rebuilding the franchise a year after LeBron James left for the Miami Heat.

Irving was born in Australia where his American father played for a local basketball club.

The number two pick was Arizona's Derrick Williams, who was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The next five draftees were all international players, starting with Turkey's Enes Kanter going to the Utah Jazz. The Cavaliers picked Canadian native Tristan Thompson, while Jonas Vilanciunas of Lithuania went to Toronto and Jan Vesley of the Czech Republic was taken by the Washington Wizards.

Congo's Bismack Biyomboa was taken by the Sacramento Kings, who traded him to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The high number of international players was due to the absence of a several top-rated U.S. college players who choose to remain in school amid the uncertainty of the NBA's current labor negotiations. The league is facing a potential work stoppage if the owners and player's union fail to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by next week.