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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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Cavaliers make Duke's Irving top pick in draft

NEWARK, N.J. - Kyrie Irving traveled just a few miles down the road to become the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. The players who followed him came from across the globe. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Irving with the No. 1 pick in a draft filled with internationals, confident his foot is healthy enough to allow him to lead the rebuilding effort that follows LeBron James' departure. Loudly cheered by family and friends not far from where he starred at St. Patrick's High School in Elizabeth, Irving showed no signs of the toe injury on his right foot that limited him to 11 games last season as he walked up the stairs to shake hands with Commissioner David Stern.
"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. "But now to this moment, from being a fan of the NBA draft and now being drafted, it's a special feeling in my heart and knowing that my friends and family were together, it's a memory I'm going to remember for the rest of my life." Three of the first six players taken were from Europe, capitalizing on the absence of some American college players who might have gone in their spots and made this a stronger draft. It was the first time four international players who didn't play at a U.S. college were selected in the lottery. The Minnesota Timberwolves took Arizona forward Derrick Williams with the No. 2 pick. The Utah Jazz then took Turkish big man Enes Kanter third with their first of two lottery selections. The league's uncertain labor situation hung over the draft, and likely weakened it. Potential top-10 picks such as Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Harrison Barnes were among those who decided to stay in school, without knowing when their rookie seasons would have started. Stern, who could lock out his players next week if a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached, was booed when he came onto the stage. New Yorkers in the sellout crowd cheered loudly when Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette were taken in the top 10, but they booed the Knicks' selection of Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert at 17. Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas went fifth to Toronto and Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic was taken sixth by Washington. Bismack Biyombo of Congo went seventh to Sacramento. The 18-year-old forward will end up in Charlotte as part of a three-way deal agreed to earlier that also included Milwaukee. Kentucky's Brandon Knight went eighth to Detroit as common fans finally heard a name they recognized again. He was followed by Walker of national champion Connecticut and NCAA scoring champion Fredette of BYU. Kansas twins Markieff and Marcus Morris were taken with consecutive picks, with Markieff going at No. 13 to Phoenix and Marcus going next to Houston. Florida State's Chris Singleton went 18th to Washington.
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