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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