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Cleveland Cavaliers select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, Texas forward Tristan Thompson with top two picks in NBA Draft

By Jason Lloyd Published: June 23, 2011

The Cavaliers selected Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the top overall pick and pulled a bit of a shocker by taking Texas freshman forward Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick in tonight's NBA Draft.

The Cavs have been high on Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas all along, but remained adamant they wanted to know the terms of the buyout of his European contract before drafting him. Clearly they didn't get the answers they wanted and passed, allowing Valanciunas to fall to the Raptors with the fifth pick.

Thompson, 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season, averaging 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Longhorns. The Toronto native was a high school teammate of Cavs forward Samardo Samuels. Thompson is considered a good athlete and a good defender. The pick of Thompson, who will not be traded, brings into question the future of J.J. Hickson in Cleveland.

Hickson is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has been shopped in recent days, but at a high price. The Cavaliers want multiple first-round picks in exchange for Hickson.

While the rest of the league widely assumed Irving was the choice at No. 1 all along, the Cavs were torn between him and Arizona sophomore forward Derrick Williams. Ultimately, the chance to add a premiere point guard in a thin draft was too tempting to pass. It will be the first time the Cavs have selected a point guard since taking Utah's Andre Miller eighth overall in 1999.

Irving was limited to 11 games with the Blue Devils because of a toe injury, but averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists. He becomes the highest-drafted Duke player since Elton Brand went first overall to Chicago in 1999.

The Cavs drafted Richmond senior Justin Harper with the No. 32 pick, but traded him to the Orlando Magic for second-round picks in 2013 and 2014. They selected Milan Macvan from Serbia with the No. 54 pick, but he will remain overseas for the forseeable future.

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