…your Cleveland Cavaliers select…Who knows? When you are picking 30th, there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to the NBA draft.
You can go with a solid college player who’s game may not translate to stardom on the NBA level, but can be a solid role player (see 2005 David Lee #30 to New York). Or you can try the international route – take a guy who’s rights you can own and leave him in Europe to develop for a few years while saving cap space (see 2006 Joel Freeland #30 to Portland) or hope he is a steal (see 2001 Tony Parker #28 to San Antonio).
With the Cavaliers at #30, you’d think they would like to get some young legs that can be plugged into the rotation and contribute immediately. Last year they took J.J. Hickson at #19, but he was more of an upside guy than someone who was NBA ready from day one. Plenty of names have been thrown around as possibilities for the Wine and Gold at #30.
Being a College Hoops junkie, I have a pretty good handle of what I like and don’t about some of the names. My analysis comes the old-fashioned way – what I saw in games. I’m not a “combine” guy. Give me the winner all day over the workout warrior.
Sam Young – SF – 6’7 – Pittsburgh – Age 24
One thing that is often said about Young is that he is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. He really came into his own this year, averaging over 19 points per game for a Panthers club that was a Scottie Reynolds drive away from the Final Four. Athletically, he is a wing player who can guard three positions. Plus, I love guys from this gritty program. You could plug him in at the three as a backup to Lebron or next to him with Lebron at the four. In general, I love the four-year college player, which Sam is. Another thing I love about him – he can jump out of the gym. Unfortunately, I think he won’t be around at #30 for the Cavs.
Dajuan Summers – SF – 6’9 – Georgetown – Age 21
The scouts will tell you he is a great athlete, has great size, and can guard multiple positions. What they won’t bring up was that he was a complete dog during his Junior year with the Hoyas, a preseason top five that didn’t even make the Tournament. Summers was in and out of John Thompson III’s doghouse all year, averaging less rebounds and assists than they year before, while watching his turnovers go up. This was supposed to be his big year. Instead, he floundered. Can you tell I am not a fan of his? Oh also, he thinks he is a three-point shooter, and he isn’t. With that said, he has the prototypical size for the wing player the Cavs are looking for.
Derrick Brown – PF/SF – 6-9 – Xavier – Age 21
I am intrigued by the left-hander. Every time I saw him play, I found him to look smooth on the court. The hope for Brown is that he can develop more on the offensive side of the ball to play the small forward position, as he is a long 6’9. He is a solid defender, especially as a shot-blocker and has a massive wingspan. Offensively, he a classic “tweener” – not thick enough to play the four, not quick enough to play the three. The thing of it is, Brown would have been the perfect guy to try to guard Hedo Turkoglu in the Eastern Conference finals. Hedo would not have been able to look over Brown the way he did Delonte West and Sasha Pavlovic all series.
Chase Budinger – SG – 6-7 – Arizona – Age 21
Budinger is an example of a guy whose stock was probably at its highest before entering college. As a Freshman, some compared him to a young Larry Bird (talk about a reach). In fact, he barely raised his profile after entering the draft last year, and then going back to Arizona for his junior year. I’ve seen Budinger drop 30 on teams with an effortless shooting stroke. I’ve also seen him completely melt under heavy pressure perimeter defense. The things to love about him are his sweet stroke and his leaping ability (he was an all-American volleyball player in high school as well). On the flip side, he is borderline horrific defensively and isn’t physically NBA strong. Essentially, Budinger looks like a young Wally Szczerbiak to me. He could be a perfect spot-up shooter, playing 10-12 minutes a night off the bench for the Cavs. But his defensive deficiencies wouldn’t get him very far with Mike Brown.
DeMarre Carroll – PF – 6-8 – Missouri – Age 22
As a Kansas grad, I obviously have seen Carroll plenty over the last two years (he transferred in from Vanderbilt to play for his uncle, Mizzou coach Mike Anderson). He is an undersized Power Forward with a great motor. Missouri’s system is full court pressure for 40 minutes, so you know he has to be in great game shape. Carroll doesn’t do anything great, but he is solid in all aspects of the game. He is extremely physical and essentially is a more athletic version of Darnell Jackson. The knock on Carroll is his size. Like Brown, he is a “tweener.” I could see him being the type of give-everything guy Danny Ferry would take a chance on.
Patrick Mills – PG – 6-1 – St. Mary’s – Age 20
Not many mock drafts have the kid from Australia as a first round pick. I think that speaks more to teams loving “the workout” more than what they see in games. Until he broke his wrist in late January, Mills was playing some of the best ball in the country. Don’t forget, he was the starting point guard on the Australian National team in last summer’s Olympics. He has sparkled during international competition. Is a true penetrating point guard – something the Cavs still lack – with deep three point range. He reminds me a lot of Heat rookie Mario Chalmers in terms of shooting ability and off the ball defense, where he creates a ton of havoc. It wouldn’t shock me one bit if the Cavs went here at #30.