April 17, 2014

The 2012 NBA Draft, And A Ticking Clock

In Cleveland, the next draft always seems to be the most important event in franchise history. The Browns were at yet another precipice and holding three early picks this year, and the 2012 Draft was expected to define this regime. With their second quarterback selection in three years, this is likely the draft that will make or break the front office. They’re running out of time, and they’re all in.

The Cavaliers landed their franchise piece last season and are in a much more comfortable position, but that doesn’t make this draft any less important. Cavs’ fans are well aware that time is a valuable commodity in the NBA. In this era of player movement, a championship contender can become a lottery team overnight. Dan Gilbert says we’re now building “with” players instead of “around” them. Regardless of semantics, the clock still ticks on a build.

In the recently announced All-NBA teams, four of the five first-team players have a teammate on either the second or third team. The Cavs, as we know, are not going to attract a superstar troika of free agents to Cleveland so everything must be done through the draft, with the gaps filled in by prudent free agent signings. The Cavaliers are sitting on two picks in each round of a deep draft, with the first pick coming no later than No. 6.

Plenty of NBA writers and fans love to talk about the OKC model, but luck plays an equal part in the process. The Thunder won some high lottery picks, landed the right franchise guy, and built around him with the right running mates and wise role pieces. Sam Presti is heralded by the mid-market wannabes, but the Thunder model always seemed like an unattainable talking point for the hopelessly optimistic underdogs. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are often Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut.

Well, the Cavs got their stroke of lottery luck last year, and hit on their pick with what absolutely looks like a cornerstone franchise player.

This season was a great mix of circumstances. The Cavaliers showed dramatic improvement with Irving, creating hope for the future. But the club also dealt with a slew of injuries, which led to a tumble out of the middling existence on the edge of the playoffs and the lottery.

With a player such as Irving leading the team, and continuing to improve, how many more times will the Cavaliers be at the top of the lottery? If he’s everything we think and expect, the Cavaliers will be trending towards or arriving at the middle very soon.

Winning an NBA Championship is unlike any other in professional sports. It’s not subject to the whim of a hot pitcher or goaltender, which could push less talented rosters through a postseason series. It’s rarely subject to the parity and lack of home field of advantage in the NFL – where injuries, turnovers, and the random bounce of the ball can often push the Wild Cards through to the Super Bowl. In the NBA, you either got the horses or you don’t.

Earlier this week, as he always does, Andrew wrote deftly about the dream scenario for the Cavs in this upcoming draft:

The lottery isn’t quite as important this year for the Cavaliers as it was last year. Last year, with 2 lottery picks and a complete lack of talent on the roster, the lottery felt like a do or die scenario. Now, the Cavaliers already have their franchise player, which alleviates much pressure.

Obviously, it’s always more important to get the first piece. You can’t build anything without a foundation. But where you go next with that foundation is what defines your success as a franchise. I trust the folks doing the building, and sometimes, thanks to the bounce of a ping pong ball, these decisions take care of themselves. But the pressure is still there for Gilbert and Chris Grant, and while it’s early, the clock is always ticking. This is a momentous opportunity to wind it back a bit. With four selections, including a potential top 3 pick, this is the time to seize the dream of the “OKC model.”

  • maxfnmloans

    Nice piece Brendan. I’m fired up to mow some grass now

  • Wow

    Ah the days of stacked teams and playing with your buddies. The league wonders why nobody cares anymore. I’m personally rooting for the Spurs or Thunder just to stick it to all the other “super” teams. 

  • mgbode

    the more I look at it, it’s always been this way.  just getting better publicized now and the Heat took it to the absolute extreme where a team purposefully tanked by shredding salaries for years and the 3 highest profile FAs all signed with them at the same time.  the Celtics, Lakers, and 76ers got plenty of FA and Trades that look pretty lopsided (at the time and in hindsight) throughout NBA history. 

    when 1 or two players can turn the tide of a team, it’s tough NOT to have such controls. 

    ————————–

    doesn’t mean I am not going to root for a Spurs or Thunder team that developed more internally though.  I certainly will.  

  • Jaker

    well said. this isn’t the Browns where we can expect a cornerstone player high in the draft each year. The Cavs will only have a few more chances to land their guys that they plan on building the team through. this year is a must hit, just like last year

  • Jack

    just wish they let the balls fall live…hate this envelope BS

  • cleveland__rocks

    yea, but then how would they rig it?? i won’t be surprised if the brooklyn nets get the number 1 pick.

  • saggy

    Let’s go NETS!!

  • mgbode

    I know.  They NEVER let the Cavs get the #1 overall pick.   Stupid lottery :)

  • Holly Wellman

     a player wants money,championships,and playing time. with an owner thats great like dan gilbert that will pay top dollar,an organzation from top all the way through ready to do what ever it takes,and a coach in coach scott who knows how important your players are all the way through the roster for a deep and great young and hungry team with the deepest and best rotation in the nba.we were on the way of building that and making a push for the playoffs just this past year ,with a very deep team.  then we had alot of injuries and fell out and forced to trade pg rammon sessions,breaking up the youngest and the best pg combination,one two punch in the nba. when that was rolling we had an exciting team all the way through from 10 to 12 deep ,playing great. also a team can play two pg’s the same time and even start them ,depending on the players and the roster which lineups play best together,examples 1- what the clippers tryed to do with pg chris paul and pg billups or could do what the cavs did example 2- pg’s/ irving and sessions split squads they meshed best together and split the game down to have everyone well rested,running,and out playing the other teams. also other examples of other positions would be as such-a position player with a strength with a weakness and/-playing with a player who has a  weakness but a position of strength would mesh together and help each other out as a team being great. examples- thompson and varejeo are high energy guys,rebound well,hustle,relentless,hard working underneath great motors and strength pounding the glass but weakness is high scoring. if you added other biggs”- with those two-” who the other two have high scoring with a strong strength who could rebound some but not his or there’s biggest strength but can try and does decent but add a thompson or varejae with them they mesh and a strong team unit.(old example big z scoring at center with big ben rebounding and defence and motor meshed well together) the next couple years we have draft choices and chances to have more draft choices. you also have cap space but need to spend smart and on young and talented players who could mesh and make us a great team.   many diffrent options,also addition by subtraction,along with team greatness included but could help cavs draft standings with chances of the lakers and kings pick(anything is possible and can happen).also remember some players i list were playing out of there true natural position with there old team and the most glaring one would be scoring guard 6’6” 220 pound 22 year old sg tyreke evans from kings playing sf or pg everywhere but along side a great point guard who could feed him the ball and set him up or let him take over. also young 24 year old 7 foot 265 pound center in just coming off his third season in which he didn’t play many games do to a freak injury which hurt his numbers and who can score great and has great days rebounding and days were he can improve but young players with expeirence and coaching can and will improve in young center brook lopez who the nets won’t sign him to a big contract because the want to try to sign deron williams and dwight howard,there loss is our gain because he is younger then howard and center brook lopez playing along side pf varejae or thompson would mesh and make each other better and would out duel howard who would be older and out numbered underneath.  also pg ramon sessions could be signed back,because lackers won’t break the bank for him and we know how the young 26 year old 6’3” 190 pound guard pg/or even sg can do for us. also an option like a billubs but younger for us would be pg playing sg 27 year old 6’3” 209 pound all-star deron williams. other option is a young shooting guard who never got the proper chance to develope or oppurtunity to flourish and never had a chance to play along side great pg play like i’m suggesting in irving,sessions and or williams in young and talented who will prove himself at 24 years old 6’4” 210 pound o.j. mayo starting or coming off the bench playing alot of minutes would mesh great with our young core. also a player who could be signed to take a flyer on to see if he could come back healthy and sign a -player and team friendly- contract so he can prove that he is the player everyone touted him to be coming out of college at 24 years of age seven foot 285 pound former number one pick center greg oden. he has leg issues but is young and can still over come the problems and can come back healthy and show everyone he is one of the best young big men in the game today. he can get healthy ,improve,and mesh with a high energy guy like thompson or varegeo. we took a chance with an older player with leg problems with a contract simmialr or close even with former boston celtic forward leon powe(if it works out steal of a life time,worth a chance). some players could be out signed or trade for,along with everything starting wednesday after 8:00 p.m. when the cleveland cavs win the 2012 nba lottery and take sf/pf anthony davis who is skilled enough scoring,blocking shots,defence,shooting,running,and is fast and very quick with feet and arms and hands and angles to play sf like larry nance did with hot-rod but is way more athletic and can jump even higher then nance could,handle the ball better and has a great touch on his shots and very skilled passer who is only 18 years of sge who still can get stronger and better every day,and is also great around the basket as well in which gives cavs a big advantage with a big lineup meshing great together.   now after that there is no way to ever know if you will have another chance to draft that high again to draft your third guy to develope with irving and davis to make your own young big three but with a bench and depth on our team meshing great together.  so you could package picks i mean as many as it takes and if needed future number one’s of coarse for a move up and get pf thomas robinson,sg bradely beal,sg austin rivers. thats where teams can go wrong,there stuck being good but not great and can’t get high enough in the draft to add a super star and no team wants to trade with you to make you better because they want your player or players-so you need to make your move when you have a window,remember if not for injuries we were making a playoff push and would of held on to pg sessions and wouldnd’t of had this chance to draft this high. next year we will be even better and be a play off team,so this draft is most important and you can build it right this year and beyond but this draft is very important not just for our number one pick over all in sf anthony davis but adding to our team with more talent this year when we have a chance. we are not selling to players we are building. no! we are selling and showing players we are done building and are the next young big three,the next young thunder squad but combined meshing together all the way through as a team,we are better and are going to win multi championships now and for years to come!!!!!!!

  • nathanielwade

    Seriously?

  • Holly Wellman

    go back to miami

  • Holly Wellman

    go to espn.com…after me posting this everywhere all day…then look up rumor on pg/sg deron williams…they copied half my knowlege on this article…….seriously…paid all that money and got to copy someone eleses stuff…..no talent bum…lol

  • Hollyw1319

    Recommend17Email
    If you’re looking for someone to blame for the Utah Jazz’s recent struggles, don’t point your finger at Deron Williams.The All-Star point guard is frustrated these days, and rightfully so. He’s doing all he can to keep the 27-18 Jazz relevant in the Western Conference this season, which is no easy task. Though he may not admit it, he’s finding it increasingly difficult without Carlos Boozer at his side. No, Steve Nash isn’t the only elite point guard in the West who has missed the company of an All-Star big man this season.But like Nash, Williams is realizing he can’t do it all by himself, despite his best efforts. Instead of wallowing in Boozer’s absence, the 26-year-old point guard has responded by playing some of the best ball of his six-year career. Williams’ 22.8 player efficiency rating, 59.9 true shooting percentage and 118 offensive rating are all career highs. If he continues at this torrid rate, he’ll join Chris Paul as the only players to average 21 points and nine assists since Tim Hardaway in the 1992-93 season for the Golden State Warriors.

    To read how Deron Williams has evolved without Carlos Boozer to put up the best numbers of his career, you must be an ESPN Insider.Welcome,
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    ESPN The Magazine subscribers
    Activate your Insider account »Need more information?View Insider Benefits »By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball ProspectusRecommend11Email
    It wasn’t that long ago that Deron Williams was smack in the middle of the argument over who was the NBA’s best point guard. This was when Williams was running Jerry Sloan’s offense for the Utah Jazz, with Carlos Boozer as his pick-and-roll partner. For a while, most of these debates came down to Williams or Chris Paul, and since Williams tended to get the upper hand in their head-to-head meetings, it wasn’t hard to make a case on his behalf.The perception of Williams, if not his performance, changed last season when he was traded from the Jazz to the New Jersey Nets. First, there was the reason for the trade, which reportedly had something to do with becoming disgruntled with Sloan, one of the league’s coaching icons. Then out of necessity, Williams became a different player with the Nets. Whereas Williams had more support and played in a well-balanced system in Utah, he was asked to do not only all the playmaking in New Jersey, but also the lion’s share of the scoring. His usage rate soared north of 30 percent, while his efficiency tumbled below the league average.Nevertheless, Williams’ skills are as sharp as ever, and with just a player option standing between him and the open market, he’s on the verge of becoming the most coveted free agent in the land. It’s not a slam dunk that Williams will turn down that option, by the way. First of all, it’s $17.8 million. That’s a lot of certainty to walk away from. Also, he may survey the landscape and decide there will be more and better suitors if he waits another season. His decision on the option is one of the great intrigues of the coming offseason.For any player weighing his options, there are four basic criteria: 1. chance to win; 2. money; 3. on-court fit; and 4. off-court fit. We can’t get inside the head of any player, so when we speculate on where he may be playing next season, we’re basing it on what we know about the player, on and off the court, from an observational standpoint. We take that information and imagine how the NBA puzzle is going to reorganize for next season, and see what fits, and what doesn’t. The consensus seems to be that Williams will land in one of two locales, but is the consensus correct?nMonthly Membership – $7.95 a month

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  • nathanielwade

    You are a overly self important douche. No one is going to read that community college level drivel-laced rant. I take it you went to LCCC or even worse Tri-C? The seriously spoke directly to the stylistic stuttering you did for ONE HUGE PARAGRAPH.

    Take some pride in writing if you expect any thing other than the yawns you will receive from the above post. Either that or talk into the mirror.

  • Hollyw1319

    what

  • Hollyw1319

    dont know what a derp is…..but a huge sports fan have been ever scince my pops took me to games when i was a kid,now me my wife and four kids go to the game with a 2 yr old,3 yr old,15 yr old,and 17 yrol and still go to games with my pops and ma’s…..huge fan and hope we can get a young big three here in cleveland and give the kids something to cheer for again,it was like they had no one to cheer for when lebron took off—-now hope we get the next great player  towering for oops from the best young pg in the league and a trade up for  beal or gil-christ and have james come home to ohio in 2014

  • Hollyw1319

    sorry if i got outof control kids are gone and a injured person and can’t really do to much anyways,but just like sports,didn’t mean to upset noones