Do Cavaliers opt to address the weak wing positions? Do they bolster their admittedly shallow front court? Who are the best players beyond the much-discussed top three?
Knowing that the Wine and Gold will be selecting no lower than sixth-overall, we have been able to narrow down the Not-so-Big Board once again, limiting it to six players with the rest being left for debate. There are undoubtedly clear-cut tiers involved, but the Cavs have a great chance at entering this October with one of the better players the college game had to offer.
We will continue to update this as players start to make their way to Independence to show Chris Grant and Company what they have to offer. Until then, do enjoy.
|1||Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky||I tried my best to keep him below the first-overall slot on the NSBB’s of old, but there is absolutely no way, under any circumstances, that Davis cannot be the selection if the Cavaliers are lucky enough to land the top slot once again. Size, athleticism and the ability to make an impact without the ball — a perfect recipe for a rookie heading into the NBA, playing for a team already fit with one of the best young point guards in the league. Davis would likely split time between power forward and center if he came to Cleveland, but nothing I’ve seen leads me to believe this would be an issue.|
|2||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky||Andrew has already touched on this, but it’s worth repeating: the kid is the real deal and would be an absolute perfect fit if he were to be the one selected by the Cavaliers this June. Knock his form all you’d like, there is no doubt in my mind that MKG’s work ethic and character has Independence salivating. He’s the perfect wing for Byron Scott’s offense and does not let up on the defensive end. Kidd-Gilchrist may never be the 30-points-per game scorer that Cleveland grew accustomed to for most of the last decade, but he’s easily the best replacement the team could land via the upcoming draft.|
|3||Bradley Beal, SG, Florida||If Cleveland stays in their third-overall spot, Florida’s Beal is not a terrible consolation prize. One of the best shooters in the draft who also happens to play at a position of great need, Beal is fearless, clutch and willing to carry his team on any given night. He’s a stellar rebounder for a player of his size, can play the point in times of need and can play wing defense on players larger than he due to his NBA-ready frame. Not your average undersized off-guard, Beal represents the third of three players who will solidify the top tier of the upcoming NBA Draft; Cavalier fans should be happy with either of these three players.|
|4||Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut||This is where things start to get interesting. Thomas Robinson may get looks at the fourth-overall slot if another team is drafting, but with the power forward spot essentially spoken for in Cleveland, the Cavaliers have a decision to make. Do they take the best center in the draft despite an underwhelming Freshman campaign, or do they go with the next-best wing player? Right now, I think Grant is leaning towards the former. A lot will be determined with a private workout/interview, but given the weakness at the center spot this past season, Drummond’s the pick here.|
|5||Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina||A year ago, the Cavaliers would have considered Barnes with the second-overall pick had they had it. Fast forward to today and the once highly-touted scorer may be looking at fall on draft day. Barnes may be one of the best pure scorers in the draft and his length makes him very much NBA ready. He’ll need to add some bulk and show at least some desire to drive to the rim, but his fundamentals and mid-range game make him very intriguing for a team in dire need of a small forward. His reputation took a bit of a hit with all of this “brand” talk this past season, but everything else points to Barnes being a great kid. I’ll take it.|
|6||Perry Jones III, SF, Baylor||And rounding out the top-six is a player who, with Barnes, was among the most desired just a little over one year ago. At 6-feet-11-inches, Jones gets the nod over the rest of his peers as he’s not only been impressing in pre-draft workouts, but has been doing so from the small forward position. After a season of hit-or-miss and essential replication of his Freshman campaign, Jones has nowhere to go but up with his workouts and interviews this off-season. He has insane upside, incredible athleticism, can jump out of the gym yet put the ball on the floor when needed. This sixth spot is his to lose.|
The best of the rest:
Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas — Great skill, great size, and a huge season for the NCAA runners-up. That said, unless he blows the Cavaliers front office away with a for-the-ages set of workouts, I cannot envision any scenario where they draft another power forward (not named Anthony Davis) with an early first-round pick. Sorry, TD.
Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State — Sure, keeping him in Ohio would make for a great story, but Sullinger’s regression and battle with injuries did not help his draft stock. There is concern about size and ability to succeed at the next level and some pundits have him falling out of the top 10. Returning to Ohio State may have cost Satch’s kid a few dollars when it’s all said and done.
Jeremy Lamb, SF, Connecticut — The uber athletic Lamb could easily be in the discussion for the sixth-overall spot in a battle with Jones, potentially even giving Barnes a run for his money. Despite his biggest weakness being his strength, Lamb can do essentially whatever he wants on the floor thanks to a seven-foot wingspan and solid mid-range game. A dark horse for the top-five come June.
Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina – With his brother opting to stay at Indiana for at least one more season, Tyler Zeller becomes the second-best pure big man in the draft. Propelled by a strong finish to the regular season and a 20-20 game in the NCAA tournament, the seven-footer will be a solid addition to the post game of whichever team calls his name.
Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse – A player whom some had pegged to go at the end of the first round just a few months ago, Waiters has drawn comparisons to Miami’s Dwyane Wade and seen his name subsequently jump up draft boards. He doesn’t have the best shot, but he’s slashing ability coupled with his strength make Waiters the second-best shooting guard in the draft.
Previous Not-so-Big Boards: