With the NBA Draft less than a month away, it’s time to start thinking about what the Cavaliers may do with this year’s pick.
So, based on some of the comments here lately (and/or lack thereof) it appears nobody’s really in the mood for talking about the Tribe these days. That’s ok, I don’t feel like writing about them any more than you feel like reading about them anyway. Besides, how many different ways can I say “this team is awful” and “it’s time to try something different”? My thesaurus is out of pages. So its time to move on and talk about a team that is more fun to write about these days….the Cavaliers. The NBA Draft is coming up on June 26th, so what better time than now to start looking ahead?
For your convenience, I have rounded up a nice collection of mock drafts out there. I figured first we’d see who other sites think the Cavaliers will take, and then we can discuss who we think the Cavaliers should/will take with their pick. Fair warning, though, projecting the 19th pick is tricky, especially when all the draft camps and private workouts have yet to be conducted. Furthermore, projecting the Cavaliers picks is even trickier than most because of how close to the vest the team keeps info on which players they like and which players they are inviting for workouts. Let’s face it, when even Brian Windhorst has trouble getting good inside info, you know the team is being extremely tight-lipped. None the less, lets have some fun and take some guesses.
Analysis: Budinger did a good job in this NCAA tournament game of not only being extremely productive, but also displaying better potential in various parts of the scouting report that were thought to be weaknesses. He was extremely aggressive for one looking for his shot and trying to make things happen, moving off the ball extremely well and showing absolutely no hesitation spotting up with his terrific stroke when an opportunity presented itself—which hasn’t always been the case this year to say the least. He also showed a little more versatility on the offensive end, handling the ball and finishing in transition, and beating his defender off the bounce with an aggressive slashing move on at least five separation occasions from what we counted, either getting fouled or scoring off the glass in the process. He scored 23 points on 8-13 shooting, adding 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and got to the free throw line seven times—a very nice all-around offensive performance to leave a good taste in scout’s mouths if he indeed decides to enter the draft. [Read More]
Analysis: If Koufos slips this far, it will be tough for the Cavs to pass on him. He’s a very skilled big man who gets up and down the floor really well. Some scouts compare him to a young Zydrunas Ilgauskas. He needs to get stronger, but he’s got great upside for a pick this low in the draft.
Analysis: Whichever NBA team drafts Jordan will have to be patient with him. As the Lakers can attest with Andrew Bynum, the wait could be well worth it as Jordan has all the makings of a quality NBA big.
The Pick: Jason Thompson, PF, Senior, 6’11” 250 lbs, Rider
Analysis: Thompson played at a low mid-major, Rider, but he had 24 against N.C. State and 24 against Kansas State. He plays hard and harder. Watching him in the conference tournament you could see he has some room to get better, even though he is already a senior. When he gets on an NBA strength program for those legs, and has another big man inside to help with the load, you can see him stick for a while. LeBron is getting older; this is a mature help.
The Pick: Nicolas Batum, SG/SF, 6’8″ 215 lbs, France
Analysis: LeBron James desperately needs another scorer and Batum could become the top scorer on a few NBA teams. He has ample athleticism, an absurdly long wingspan and well-developed skills in nearly every aspect of the game. The questions regarding his motor and aggressiveness to dominate appear to be his biggest obstacle between being good and being great. Batum has NBA range on his effective, albeit flawed jumper, but he is better in the mid-range especially coming off screens and the great balance he has when creating his own shot off the dribble. Despite his slight stature, he can attack the rim and as his body fills out, he will be able to take advantage of this with greater frequency.
The Pick: Brandon Rush, SG, Junior, 6’6″ 210 lbs, Kansas
Analysis: He showed off his versatility and an increased maturity level in bouncing back from a torn ACL that threatened to jeopardize his pro aspirations. The Cavs have plenty of holes to shore up and could do worse adding a multi-faceted swingman who should be able to contribute immediately.
Best Case: Andrew Bynum, Worst Case: Patrick O’Bryant
Why I like DeAndre: Potential, potential, potential. Athletically, this guy is a freak of nature. You can’t help but notice him when he’s on the court. If he fully develops, by the time Big Z is ready to retire, DeAndre could potentially be an All-Star caliber Center ready to step right in.
Why I don’t like DeAndre: Potential, potential, potential. The Cavaliers don’t necessarily have the time to wait for someone to develop, which means they may need to take a more polished player. DeAndre has a LOT of weaknesses that need to be addressed before he’s ready to make an impact at the NBA level.
Best Case: Leandro Barbosa, Worst Case: Shannon Brown
Why I like Russell: Incredibly quick and athletic, able to push the tempo and give the Cavs a bit of an offensive facelift. Also, a really solid defender who would help bolster the perimeter defense.
Why I don’t like Russell: Not really a true PG, he’s more of a tweener. The biggest reason I don’t want any part of him, though, is his erratic shooting. Although, I suppose the good news is that he might be able to put HeyLarryHughes back in business.
Best Case: Mehmet Okur, Worst Case: Esteban Batista
Why I like Kosta: Again, potential. In the NIT tournament, we started to see some of the tools Kosta has at his disposal. With his size and outside shooting, his a matchup nightmare for any team. He’s like a less talented Dirk Nowitzki if he reaches his full potential.
Why I don’t like Kosta: Soft. At times seems disinterested in what’s going on. Nowhere near ready to play in the NBA yet, this is a long term project. One the Cavaliers should be wary of.
Best Case: Eddie Jones, Worst Case: Kelenna Azubuike
Why I like Brandon: What’s not to like? He’s a solid shooter, has freakish athleticism and length, is a great defender, has plenty of experience, and played a key role on an NCAA Championship team. He could potentially provide an instant impact in the Cavaliers lineup, even if it is coming off the bench initially. Could develop into the starting 2 guard on the Cavs.
Why I don’t like Brandon: Struggling to come up with a reason. Focus and turnovers, maybe? Sub par free throw shooting? That’s about all I’ve got. As far as 19th picks go, it’s hard to do much better.
Best Case: Antonio McDyess, Worst Case: Josh Powell
Why I like Darrell: I probably like Darrell more than most, but I think he could be a very good pro player. I can see him being an integral role player on a Championship team….you know, kind of like how he was with Kansas. He can be a dynamic offensive player eventually, but right now athleticism and defense could provide instant value.
Why I don’t like Darrell: As with any big man you’re going to get this low, you have to be patient with them, and I’m not sure the Cavs can afford to be patient right now. They need to get better now, and often the learning curve is shorter for PGs and SGs than it is for PFs and Cs.
Best Case: Rashard Lewis, Worst Case: Dermarr Johnson
Why I like Donte: Good question.
Why I don’t like Donte: He’s nothing more than a project, in my opinion. Any time you mix Donte’s size with his offensive tools, he’s going to be an intriguing prospect, but his lack of true position and his lack of desire to work on defense simply won’t fit with Mike Brown’s system.
Best Case: Al Jefferson, Worst Case: Jackie Butler
Why I like Marreese: Marreese is one of my favorite prospects based on potential. He is so dynamic on offense, he can be virtually unstoppable at times. If he reaches his potential, he will be a solid NBA All-Star, I truly believe that.
Why I don’t like Marreese: First and foremost, I’m biased against anyone who went to Florida….other than Erin Andrews, of course. Other than that, his focus is a major concern, as is his dedication to staying on the low post, as he tends to float outside.
Best Case: Jerry Stackhouse, Worst Case: Marquis Daniels
Why I like Chris: CDR and Brandon Rush are 1a and 1b on my wish list with the #19 pick. Chris Ford says it better than I could: “Douglas-Roberts would be a great fit for the Hornets Cavaliers if he’s still on the board here. He is a big-time scorer who excels at slashing to the basket. He also is an excellent midrange shooter and should be able to step in and contribute right away.” Ok, so Chad has him going to New Orleans and not Cleveland…..but the Cavs pick first, so they can still take him. I like what he can bring to the lineup immediately. He can make an impact.
Why I don’t like Chris: Watch the last 2 minutes of the National Title game again. I didn’t see a leader who put his team on his back and refused to let them blow that game. But, the good news here is that with Cleveland, that’s LeBron’s role. The Cavs would just need CDR to contribute in a supporting role.
Best Case: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Worst Case: Boniface NDong
Why I like Roy: You can’t teach size. Hibbert is a true Center in every sense of the word. Plus, he’s experienced and wouldn’t be as much of a project. He may lack the upside, but he’s more ready to go now. He’s a great defender and has nice touch on his shot.
Why I don’t like Roy: Softness, his lack of intensity, his lack of improvement from day one, his lack of raw athleticism. If I could be guaranteed he’d turn into Zydrunas Ilgauskas #2, I’d say go ahead and take him. But you can’t guarantee me that, and so I say pass.
Why I like Ty: Speed, speed, speed. He has all the quickness, athleticism, and tenacity you could want. He has shown he can run a high powered offense and an elite team. Plus, his speed and athleticism give him the potential to be a truly great defensive player in the NBA, even if his size is lacking.
Why I don’t like Ty: Size is worrisome, as is his shot. He has a very good stop and pop midrange shot, but his outside shooting is inconsistent.
Why I don’t like Jason: Seriously, who? I mean, how many nationally televised games did Rider get? I’m not a paid scout, and I just didn’t see this guy play, so I can’t relay anything new about him.
What The Cavaliers Should Do
I’m not totally opposed to the Cavaliers packaging this pick with some other players and expiring contracts. I think a package of Wally Szczerbiak (and his $13 million in expiring money), Daniel Gibson (signed to a decent offer), and the 19th pick could bring back something pretty solid in return. I’m thinking more along the lines of Baron Davis than Jermaine O’Neal. If the Cavaliers feel that they cannot find a player who can make a fairly significant positive impact immediately, then they need to shop this pick as part of a package, in my opinion.
With that being said, I’ve already mention that I realy, REALLY like Brandon Rush and Chris Douglas-Roberts with this low of a pick. I have a feeling Rush will end up jumping up higher on people’s draft boards and will be gone by the time Cleveland picks at 19, leaving CDR as my preferred pick. Call me crazy, but I think CDR’s athleticism and toughness will fit right in and prove to be a plus. I love the way he improved his shot last year. I love the fact that he has experience and isn’t really a project. He’s ready to go in a lot of ways, and I like this pick.
If the Cavaliers feel they want to go with PG, I doubt Russell Westbrook will still be there. The only real legit PG prospect that could be available there would be Ty Lawson. Lawson is such an unknown. His size and perimeter shot scares me much like T.J. Ford, but at the same time, Ford did have a +20 PER last season. If Lawson can reach those heights, he just might be exactly what the Cavaliers need.
However, if the Cavaliers feel they must take a big man, as Windhorst suggested in his article in the ABJ, then I would like to see the Cavs take Marreese Speights or Darrell Arthur if he somehow slips to them. I’d even rather see Hibbert taken than some major high risk, high reward pick like Koufos or JaVale McGee. But I think Speights and Arthur are the safer picks with higher upsides than Hibbert.
In the end, what I think the Cavs should do with this pick is:
What The Cavaliers Will Do
The million dollar question. What will Danny Ferry do with this pick. As much as I think Ferry would love to pick a big man with future potential like Speights or maybe even JaVale McGee, I think deep down Danny will realize that the last time he picked based on potential in the first round (Shannon Brown), it blew up on the team. The Cavs can’t waste another first rounder on years of D-League development like they did with Shannon Brown. We’re still a month away and plenty can change, but as of today, May 30, 2008, I am predicting that the Cavaliers pick will be:
Roy Hibbert Chris Douglas-Roberts
…….I’ll let you guys read between the lines on that one…..