July 29, 2014

Cleveland Cavaliers Interested in Texas PG Cory Joseph?

When discussing the draft in any sport, we as fans, and even many analysts, use a fair amount of assumption to backup our opinions. We take what is assumed to be common knowledge about certain players and apply it to our assumed needs for each team in question. In reality, though, the only thing that really matters is the opinion of those with the power to actually make the draft selections.

In the case of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA draft, I think most would agree that there are two prospects who stand out more than the rest in Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. I think most would also agree that the players the Cavaliers should take if they have the #1 pick is Kyrie Irving. But what if Irving isn’t the player Chris Grant wants? What if Grant thinks the PG position is ok for the next 2 seasons and he would rather fill other needs with the first 2 picks?

For myself and others who view Kyrie Irving as highly as I do, this scenario is a nightmare to even consider. Yet I briefly found myself doing just that, considering it, this morning. In ESPN’s Chad Ford’s NBA Draft Blog yesterday he was discussing the draft withdrawal deadline and some of the names who stayed in the draft. One of the players who stayed in the draft, Texas PG Cory Joseph, was a surprise for some. But not for Chad Ford:

Of the group, Joseph’s decision might make the most sense. One source close to the player told ESPN Insider on Sunday night that a team promised to draft him in the early second round. Although the source wasn’t 100 percent clear which team it was, a little more digging revealed that the Cleveland Cavaliers were the team that seemed to be the highest on Joseph. The Cavs own the 31st pick in the draft, which is the the first pick of the second round.

I don’t mean this to come across as a knock on Cory Joseph, but there are some serious questions raised by this. First of all, two of the more prominent NBA Draft websites, NBAdraft.net and DraftExpress.com didn’t have Joseph getting drafted at all (DraftExpress has him going with the 9th pick in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft, for what its worth). Furthermore, he didn’t even crack ESPN’s Top 100 prospects list and he is currently #74 on DraftExpress’s list of the Top 100 prospects. Taking Cory Joseph with their first pick in the 2nd round seems like a mighty reach.

If the Cavaliers were to draft Kyrie Irving, would they spend their first pick in the 2nd round on another PG when they already have Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions under contract? That doesn’t seem likely. We’ll get to the point of whether Cleveland really promised to pick Joseph in a minute, but first, just assume for a minute that they did. What would that mean with regard to Irving?

The first thing it would tell us is that the Cavaliers like Derrick Williams more than Kyrie Irving. It might also tell us that they even like Enes Kanter more. As I said, though, if Chris Grant were to really feel that there’s no need to address PG in the first round, then perhaps they would reach for a PG they like in the 2nd round and go with Kanter and someone like Bismack Biyombo in the first round.

Or maybe Chris Grant is just bracing himself for the reality that the odds of the Cavaliers actually being able to draft Kyrie Irving are pretty slim. So maybe Cory Joseph is the PG they like best after Irving (although I find it hard to imagine they would pass on Kemba Walker for Joseph) and they’re willing to settle on Joseph in the 2nd round.

That’s all a lot of speculation and reading into one paragraph. The truth is, if I had to place a bet, I would bet on this being more smoke than fire. I won’t use the fact that the Cavaliers have the 32nd pick, and not the 31st pick as stated in the quoted paragraph, against the main point of the paragraph, but I will pick apart other aspects of it.

First of all, this information comes from a source close to the player, not from a source close to the Cavaliers. It is Joseph’s camp that says a team has made this promise to them. That alone doesn’t make the information invalid, but it does make you consider whether or not there is an agenda here to make other teams who might be interested in Joseph reach a little higher to take him.

Also, it’s kind of curious that this source is close enough to Joseph to know that a team made this promise, but he’s not close enough to be “100 percent clear” on which team that might be. It sounds to me like Chad Ford was able to verify the Cavaliers have some degree of interest in Joseph, but he wasn’t able to verify that they made any kind of promise to him. Thus, the report is only that the Cavaliers are the team that is highest on Joseph.

Finally, I think it’s worth noting that the Cavaliers also own the 54th pick in the draft this year. If the Cavaliers really are going to take Joseph, I have a feeling it will be with that pick rather than the 32nd pick in the draft. At that point, Joseph might be considered a long shot to even make the team, with 3 draft picks coming before him and limited open roster spots on the Cavs. For the Cavaliers, it might be a logical pick to take Joseph if they view him as a project they can let get some seasoning in the D-League. Either way, whether the Cavaliers took Kyrie Irving or not would have no impact on Joseph’s situation.

Again, I don’t want to be insulting to a kid who is trying to achieve his life’s dream in becoming an NBA player. I’m just disputing Chad Ford’s implication that the Cavaliers are the team who promised Cory Joseph they would take him with their pick at 32. I don’t believe there is any other way to infer what Ford is saying by mentioning both Cleveland and their pick at 32 with Joseph’s name attached, and I simply don’t believe there’s any truth to it.

If there is truth to it, though, it might be a warning sign to Cavs fans to brace themselves for an unpopular move on draft night.

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Photo Credit: Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America

  • http://gooddoctorzeus.blogspot.com DocZeus

    The Cavs are in the rare position where drafting for need and drafting for talent are synonmous. There is no position on this team that isn’t imminently replacable with younger and/or better talent.

    If the Cavs pass on Kyrie Irving to take Derrick Williams or (god forbid), Enes Kanter than they deserve to fail.

  • Gren

    Great another Texas PG… (someone had to say it)

    Don’t screw it up Grant.

  • mgbode

    i have little doubt that the Cavs were NOT the team to make such a promise.

    the early 2nd is where NBA prospects that inexplicably drop out of the 1st round get snatched up. if Tyler Honeycutt drops, then would be ‘reach’ for a player most scouts agree is lesser? i highly doubt it.

    and, as you mention, we have the #54 pick. that makes more sense (though I don’t like Cory Joseph and would prefer we don’t draft him at all)

  • mgbode

    oh, and if we decided to go with Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter over Kyrie Irving, I would be disappointed. but, I think those are the clear top3 guys in this draft, so I wouldn’t be upset with any of those guys on our team (D.Williams being at the position of most need, Kyrie and Enes being at the most important positions and hardest to find)

  • The Other Tim

    Don’t get cute, Cavs.

  • 240

    2nd round picks can be bought and traded very easily on draft day. Even if the Cavs promised to take this kid…if they trade a 2nd round pick 2 years from now to get one in this draft would anyone really complain?

  • Believelander

    Here’s the question that really matters – is Kyrie Irving the most talented prospect in the draft? The one regarded as having the greatest potential? That should be the only real question the Cavaliers’ ask when they’re on the clock.

    “Who is the most talented player, wherever he plays 1-5, in this draft?”

    I admit not to be an NCAA hoops follower, but I’ve heard a number of names bandied about, so that’s why I’m asking the community.

    But since #1 is right, we could really use a young stud at, well, every position, we should just draft the best player available and hang ‘need’. Honestly that seems to be true a lot of the time in my opinion. Maybe a bit less in basketball than football or baseball, but most of the time nonetheless.

    So I put my vote firmly behind whatever guy is going to have the highest chance to be an NBA all-star within the next 5 years. Honestly with a total rebuild, unless we sign Howard and Paul this off-season, I don’t see a reason the Cavs need to be looking at immediate gains over bigger long-term payoff.

  • Believelander

    I guess to tie my post in to the topic at hand, if the Cavs’ most talented option when they draft isn’t a PG, then I guess if they think this kid has a lot of upside taking a second round flyer on him can’t hurt.

  • mgbode

    @Believelander – especially in this particular draft, noone knows. there are more questions than I ever remember about players before. let’s take a look at some of the top names.

    Kyrie Irving – he looked really good for Duke, but hurt his foot, missed most of the year and only really played 1 ‘healthy’ game in the NCAA tourney (which Duke lost). He ‘seems’ like the best bet to be a really good NBA star, but that injury robbed us from seeing how consistent he can be over the course of a season.

    Derrick Williams – untouted player out of HS and wasn’t even listed as a 2011 1st rounder in most mocks coming into this season. he came on strong during the year, and exploded in the tourney. are we letting a hot streak during an admittedly great tourney run hype him more than he should be? plus, can he play SF where he would have the most impact in the NBA with his frame and style of play? or is he a Rashard Lewis (ok, at least the Rashard that was still using PEDs)?

    Enes Kanter – missed the entire season because the NCAA ruled him ineligible. He dominated Sullinger in the Nike Hoops Summit, but he has considerable size advantage on Sully and it’s not like Sully is known for his defense. He could easily be the BPA in this draft, but is largely an unknown.

    Valanciunas / Vesely – Euro players who few here have actually seen play. Hopefully, NBA teams know more than us about these players, but it is such a different game over there it’s hard to see how some games will translate.

    Kemba – too small to really be at starting PG more of a Jason Terry type.

    Kawhi – seemed overwhelmed with the size/length of UConn that he would have every game in the NBA.

    Burks – likely changing positions from PG to SG. Risk there.

    Singleton – hurt last year as well.

    Bismack – see Euro players above.

    Faried – well, no real questions here. He’ll get a ton of rebounds and energy points, but not much else. Hopefully he improves his defense (he should). But, do you take a defense-only guy who is a terrific rebounder but only 6’9″ or so high in the draft? others have more questions but higher ceilings too.

  • Bill

    Why would they take this guy, and not CSU’s own Norris Cole, top of the 2nd round?

  • MattyFos

    @mgbode

    Derrick Williams had a terrific Freshman and Sophmore season. But because he plays for a team that ESPN doesn’t care about in a conference that ESPN doesn’t care about he has been flying under the radar.
    Kemba Walker isn’t Jason Terry. Kemba Walker isn’t Jason Terry. Kemba Walker is Baron Davis. An inefficient chucker. Brandon Knight is in the Jason Terry/ Jamal Crawford mold.

    Regarding Joseph- He is a Canadian. Euro leagues have this rule limiting the number of American born players that they can have on their rosters. Drafting a foreign player at a position that the Cavs can get by with for at least another season isn’t a bad decision. We don’t have a lot of roster spaces. So taking Joseph and stashing him overseas is a good idea even if we draft Irving or Walker. It will give us another year to evaluate a player like Gee or Harris by saving a roster spot.
    For the record I am ok with the Cavs drafting anybody but Walker or Fredette with our lotto picks.
    Williams/ Irving
    Williams/ Knight
    Williams/ Kanter
    Williams/ Biyombo
    Irving/ Kanter
    Irving/ Biyombo
    Irving/ Valancias

    Those are my favorite combinations.

  • MattyFos

    “Kemba Walker isn’t Jason Terry. Kemba Walker isn’t Jason Terry.”

    IDK what happened there. Imma blame it on the iPod touch. Read it as if it said.
    “Kemba Walker isn’t Jason Terry. Kemba Walker isn’t Jamal Crawford.”

  • Lyon

    What I want to know is, if this kid is being told he’ll be taken, at highest, in the 2nd round, why would he come out?

    Is that unguaranteed half a mil contract going to be worth it? IMHO if you’re not a 1st rd pick, there’s no need to leave school early, stay in & make yourself better, thus getting into the 1st rd.

    And I watched this kid and really don’t want the Cavs to take him. Like someone else said, Norris Cole would be a better pick, and a local guy so the fans would have some investment.

  • Mark

    Take Cole because you think he is the better player but leave CSU out of it. Fans won’t care and the front office certainly shouldn’t.

  • jacob

    i seen cory playing ball since he a little kid he lived on courts by my area , he will make an be major impact in the nba!, his game is sweet,he will be one of late round picks that will be a star in the nba 100%

  • ben

    IMO, in the NBA you draft for talent. Period. End sentence.

    The only only only time you would pass is when the BPA is a shooting guard and you already have Michael Jordan in his prime.

  • Lyon

    ben, or Clyde Drexler…

  • mgbode

    @MattyFos – obviously we disagree a little here. for one, I think Knight has the ability to be more than a Terry or Crawford. He was able to get some really nice passes off his drives and with Scott could hopefully develop there.

    Kemba – who knows. UConn needed him to be their primary scorer, I think he would be more efficient as a secondary scorer and develop like a Terry, but I could definitely be wrong.

    Derrick Williams – he was okay his freshman year, but nothing fantastic. he didn’t have that 3pt shot, which is what made him so deadly his sophomore year. pretty much all his stats went up big his sophomore year (FT%&rate and 3pt% in particular going up are what made him make a leap)
    http://statsheet.com/mcb/players/player/arizona/3-derrick-williams

  • ben

    @17: LOL. Sam Bowie jokes!

  • MattyFos

    mgbode- I LOVE Brandon Knight. I think a 6th man/scorer is his floor. He’s 18 and he will grow a ton as he matures.. He’s very athletic and I think his ceiling can be a “Derrick Rose” PG. Quick, athletic, GREAT offensive game, lacks true court vision. But has the tools to be a score first PG rather than a pass first PG.

    Williams made it his goal to develop a shot after his Freshman year. He said he was watching tape and say his defender playing off of him because he couldn’t shoot. So he got pissed and worked at it (I think he took like 200 jumpshots a day over the summer)

    I would love to get both of those guys. I just don’t see Knight on the board for the Clippers pick.. Unless the Clip pick lands at #1 and the Cavs pick gets #2. (fingers crossed)

  • http://aol rome

    i would like to see the cav’s draft alec burke, who is the best guard in the draft and if they cant get irving get either knight or cole in the 2nd round. If you check on burke he is a very good player who might benefit under byron scott

  • hoop-dreamer

    cory’s stock is rising haters! nba scouts and coaches are impressed with his game.. he will be in the nba regardless………..!