Lets Talk Draft

2008 NBA DraftWith 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.  

The Mock Drafts

  1. Draft Express:
    • The Pick: Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Soph, 6’7″ 190 lbs, Arizona
    • 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]
  2. ESPN Insider, Chad Ford:
    • The Pick: Kosta Koufos, C, Fresh, 7’0″ 265 lbs, Ohio State
    • 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.
  3. SI.com Mock Draft:
    • The Pick: Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Junior, 6’6″ 210 lbs, Kansas
    • Analysis: A big guard who can defend, a Josh Howard-type with an improving jumper. The hope is that he’ll help spread the floor for LeBron James.
  4. CollegeHoops.net:
    • 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.
  5. InsideHoops.com:
    • The Pick: Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Junior, 6’6″ 210 lbs, Kansas
    • Analysis: N/A
  6. Ridiculous Upside:
    • The Pick: Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Junior, 6’7″ 200 lbs, Memphis
    • Analysis: N/A
  7. NBC Sports:
    • 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.
  8. HoopsWorld:
    • The Pick: Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Junior, 6’7″ 211 lbs, Kansas
    • Analysis: N/A
  9. RealGM:
    • 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.
  10. Pro Basketball News:
    • 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.

The Prospects:

  • DeAndre Jordan – 7’0″ 260 lb C, Texas A&M
    • 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.
  • Russell Westbrook – 6’3″ 187 lb PG/SG, UCLA
    • 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.
  • Kosta Koufos – 7’1″ 245 lb C, Ohio State
    • 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.
  • Brandon Rush – 6’7″ 211 lb SG/SF, Kansas
    • 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.
  • Darrell Arthur – 6’9″ 215 lb PF, Kansas
    • 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.
  • Donte Green – 6’10” 220 lb PF, Syracuse
    • 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.
  • Nicolas Batum – 6’8″ 214 lb SG/SF, France
    • Best Case: Rudy Gay, Worst Case: Thabo Sefolosha
    • Why I like Nicolas: I haven’t seen him play once. So I must simply defer to what others have said about him
    • Why I don’t like Nicolas: Same answer as above.
  • Marreese Speights – 6’10” 245 lb PF/C, Florida
    • 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.
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts – 6’7″ 200 lb SG, Memphis
    • 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.
  • Roy Hibbert – 7’2″ 272 lb C, Georgetown
    • 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.
  • JaVale McGee – 7’0″ 237 lb PF/C, Nevada
    • Best Case: Channing Frye, Worst Case: Patrick O’Bryant
    • Why I lake JaVale: Potential. And only potential.
    • Why I don’t like JaVale: Ditto. Plus, I’ve never seen him play, either, so I can’t have much of an opinion.
  • Robin Lopez – 7’0″ 255 lb C, Stanford
    • Best Case: Joakim Noah, Worst Case: Marcin Gortat
    • Why I like Robin: Size, effort, and energy.
    • Why I don’t like Robin: Best case scenario: Joakim Noah? No-ah Thank You-ah.
  • Ty Lawson – 5’11” 175 lb PG, North Carolina
    • Best Case: T.J. Ford, Worst Case: Jamaal Tinsley
    • 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.
  • Jason Thompson – 6’11” 250 lb PF/C, Rider
    • Best Case: Mark Blount, Worst Case: Malik Allen
    • Why I like Jason: Who?
    • 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:

  1. Brandon Rush
  2. Chris Douglas-Roberts
  3. Trade it
  4. Darrell Arthur
  5. Ty Lawson
  6. Marreese Speights
  7. Roy Hibbert

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…..

  • MaimLarry

    The trouble is that I think that Cavs really need someone who can step in immediately and help LeBron. The elephant in the room is that we can’t have a “wait and see” guy, because by the time he develops, LeBron may be gone and we would be back to square one. I would actually much rather have them trade the pick for someone like Davis than take a risk on someone who “could be” better in the future. The future is unimportant. If LeBron doesn’t stay, we will be starting over.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    I agree with all you said. Perhaps I should clarify…the reason trade the pick is only #3 on my wishlist is because my hope is they could somehow get Davis without trading the pick. Then, I would like to see the pick used on Rush or CDR.

    Without being privy to any discussions, it’s hard to guess what exactly it would take to get Baron Davis. Frankly, maybe Golden State doesn’t want to get rid of him at all. Maybe they want to keep him.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    You had me at “Boniface NDong”

    (Well done, Rock)

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    Has to be in the hilarious sports names HOF, doesn’t it?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    @ RockKing: Hands down

  • Ricky

    You should have thrown Joe Alexander into that mix. I absolutely love his game, he is super athletic (for a white guy), he can shoot, he can rebound, plays defense, and is overall just a very intense player. He is pretty raw but he learned a lot in just one season under Bob Huggins and I think within a year he would become a productive player. He might and probably will be gone by the Cavs pick, but he is someone I hope the Cavs get.

    I think a big man like Alexander, Arthur, or even Koufos could be effective after one year of seasoning, and that is a bigger need for us than a swingman, in my opinion. I love Rush (more so than CDR) but good big men are hard to find.

    We also have to realize as fans that whomever we pick, they will not be a major factor next season. It will take a year at least for any non-lottery player to be able to contribute, and most lottery players don’t even contribute in their first year. I can think of one playoff team that had a rookie play significant minutes, and that is the Hornets with Julian Wright (I think he was picked at the 13 spot…). So while we want someone who can help up sooner rather than later, we have to be patient with rookies no matter what

  • X 2 The L

    Kosta Koufos is the man. He has a post up game. Can drill the mid range jumper. Has pretty good speed and handle. He’s Zydrunas before the screws in his feet. Can come in right now and play at the very least like Joe Smith his first. But with him, he has unlimited potential. It took Joe 13 years to develop his game like that. Kosta has that right now in his arsenal. Of all the guys you’ve listed. He’s the one that can give LeBron real help right now. In ten years, GMs will be mad on how they slept on him. He’ll probably be better than the #1 big-Brook Lopez.

  • http://nba.com TJ

    I bealive cleavleand should take Brandon rush or cdr to be a wing player clevleand been looking for or take ty lawson who i belalive if he left his freshman year he would of been a top 10 pick but injuries messed him up or if cleavleand really wants to make their team a nba finals contender package a delonte west an your pick to move up and take darrel arthur or russel westbrook or the point gaurd from texas and joel anthony Because clevleand in my book will be in trouble next year because of boston detroit orlando toronto 76ers(who i think will be much better) The miami heat with their pick wich will be much better next year with the adittion of beasley/rose and of course wade there gonna be much more contenders in the east so if im cleavleand i’ll try to pick up a Baron davis or Gilbert(doubt) And take Brandon rush cdr or the 7″ footer from Gorgetown Roy Hibbert who also top 10 talent in last years draft So cleavleand listen try and try hard in free agency and in the draft

  • 4sure

    Bill Walker is the guy Lebron needs running with him. He can contribute on both ends of the court, guard athletic wings 2’s & 3’s. His weight is down and his shot has improved dramatically since the season has ended. He can also create his own shot…something no other current Cav can do. It would give the Cavs arguably the top athletic swing combo in the league.

  • Tom

    The Cavs should NOT trade Daniel Gibson.

    That much I know.

    I would not be opposed to Wally’s contract + the pick + Varajeo for someone sweet, but not Boobie. He’s the ONLY GUY on the Cavs that has a reliable and CLUTCH three point shot.

    LeBron needs Boobie. The Cavs need Boobie. Do not trade him away.

    Remember when John Hollinger said in his scouting report – Boobie Gibson projected to turn into Chauncey Billups after a few years.

    The Cavs will be able to sign him to a reasonable deal, and he loves playing here.

    As far as the draft, I also thought Joe Alexander was a stud. I like the idea of Chris Douglas-Roberts, but we BADLY NEED A POINT GUARD and it looks like we are going to need another big man.

    I think you go for Ty Lawson unless you can get a guy like TJ Ford through a trade.

  • eshaw

    Walker is a stretch at this pick i kno its 19 but y pass on Rush or CDR if they are available. Rush would be ideal. he’s basically in the scottie pippen mold of course w/o the freakish wingspan and would be a good #2 option because if his offenisve savy and overall knowledge for the game so he could have an impact pretty soon. CDR is another good option because he can score in a variety of ways which would make his transition to the leauge easier, he’s tough would fit in Brown’s defensive scheme (as would rush) and can create is own shot which is what we need right now. of course this is if they dont go get Redd which they need to highly consider. Centers this late in a draft are usually projects and its usualyl unlikely that u find a Boozer again atleast for a nother few years althought is Dorsey doesnt get drafted i would def sign him he’s tought down low and is pretty much like the old Big Ben. Lawson is interesting but size injury problems and outside shooting are questions but if the other two arent there he’s the next best option in my opinion. Ferry better not screw this up… AGAIN!

  • Hoy

    I think we have to go with a big man, even a project/development type (which is what we’d probably get at this point in the draft). Big Z just doesn’t have that many good years left, Anderson will probably be packaged in trade bait anyway so we’re going to need another big guy to come off the bench and give Z and Ben some rest.

    If we’re looking for a shooter or swing man to compliment Lebron then we need to do that through trading our expiring contracts, there is no way we pick up instant impact ability at #19.

    Draft of the future, trade for the present.


  • http://www.clevelandcurse.com Jay

    I don’t think this team has the luxury of drafting for the future. Every move that Danny Ferry makes, whether it is in the draft, free agency, making a trade, or hiring Flip Saunders to help Mike Brown learn that offense is important too, has to be done with the knowledge that you have to improve the team this year and win now. Jermaine O’Neal worries me, he has been in the league a long time. I would like to see them try for Baron Davis or Elton Brand. There are concerns for both of them, but they bring what the cavs neeed. Baron can play the point and score. Brand, if healthy, is a low post scorer. One thing I have always said about the Cavs, if you are the opposing team when Lebron goes to the bench who do you feel you have to double team? We need someone to answer that question with their play.

  • herbert james

    cavs should get redd, i don’t like the idea of trading the pick+sczerbiak+gibson for davis. gibson should stay. i also like the cavs to retain the pick and pick koufos. we all know he can be the man needed by the cavs.