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NBA Draft Grades 2011: Experts Assess Knicks', Clippers' New Peach State Talent

Though three Peach State players entered the 2011 NBA Draft, only two teams walked away with local talent. The New York Knicks brought in Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Iman Shumpert to shore up their unshored-up defense, while the Los Angeles Clippers double-dipped on Georgia Bulldogs forwards, picking the methodical Trey Thompkins and bouncy Travis Leslie

SB Nation's Tom Ziller (C) doesn't really know what to make of Shumpert, having been underwhelmed with the lanky guard's college career, but says he signals a one-man Manhattan uprising. The Clippers, however, earn a (B) for adding a pair of talented players to a crowded frontcourt, though Ziller is wary of the pileup.

ESPN's Chad Ford (C-) really doesn't approve of L.A.'s pre-draft trades that ruined their chances of scoring Kyrie Irving, which left them stuck with ...

... two teammates from Georgia who've underperformed for the past two years. Both have talent appropriate for the second round, but I still can't help but think that the Clippers would've been better off with Irving and Baron Davis in L.A. instead of Irving and Davis in Cleveland.    

Ford likes New York's Shumpert pick (B-), and I think he frames the great mystery of Shumpert's pro potential about as well as anybody has with this first line:

New York went for defense and swung for the fences at the same time. Shumpert was one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft, with great size for his position and explosive athleticism. If he can learn to run a team and shoot the ball, he can be a monster in the NBA. But right now, that a big if.    

Here's CBS Sports Matt Moore and Ben Golliver on the Knicks selection of Shumpert (B-):

Come on, they were taking a guard, they were always taking a guard, they had to take a guard and there was no way to get Jimmer. From there this was unavoidable. Sure, Marshon Brooks would have been entertaining, but they needed someone who could at least play combo guard. Shumpert plays defense and has athleticism. The rest is up to D'Antoni.

Moore and Golliver are pretty happy with the job done by the Clips, your California destination for University of Georgia basketball (B):

Thompkins slid all the way to the Clippers in the second round. Decent value pick even if it's definitely not a position of need for them. After all, they do have this guy named Griffin.

Stay with this StoryStream for all of the 2011 NBA Draft results, check out our 2011 NBA Draft rumors and trades StoryStream for all the latest news from the NBA's craziest day, and hit our 2011 NBA Draft hub for full coverage of the draft, trades and the aftermath on Friday.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.