The Cavaliers started their rebuilding process last night by drafting Duke point Kyrie Irving first overall, and then using the No. 4 pick on Texas forward Tristan Thompson.
Cheered on at the Prudential Center in Newark by family and friends, not far from where he starred at St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, N.J., the 19-year-old Irving showed no signs of any lingering problems with a right foot injury as he walked up the stairs to shake hands with commissioner David Stern.
Despite playing 11 games in his only college season because of a toe injury, Irving was too good to pass up with the Cavaliers’ first No. 1 pick since taking LeBron James in 2003. Irving has said he has no health concerns, making him the best choice in what’s been called a weak draft.
“I didn’t have any doubts about going to No. 1. I was looking to the organization to pick who they felt was the right choice,’’ Irving said.
The selection of Thompson was a bit of a surprise. The Cavaliers were reportedly interested in Lithuania center Jonas Valanciunas, but they may have been turned off by his uncertain contract situation with a pro club in his home country. Valanciunas went fifth to the Raptors.
The Timberwolves took Arizona forward Derrick Williams with the No. 2 pick. The Jazz then took Turkish big man Enes Kanter, who was ruled ineligible at Kentucky.