August 17, 2014

NBA Draft Debate: Would You Move Kyrie for the Right to Draft Anthony Davis?

Last night, I lobbed the question into the bat-wielding folks on Twitter.

Having watched the NBA Draft special on ESPN, featuring Chad Ford and the windbags from First Take, the discussion circled around power forward and sure-fire first-overall selection Anthony Davis.

Ford discussed that, if one was to poll general managers throughout the league, they would provide a very short list of players who would not be moved for the rights to select Davis this Thursday night: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and (“maybe”) Chris Paul. Dwight Howard and Deron Williams are nearing free agency. Derrick Rose has the injury risk coupled with the allure of bringing Davis — a Chicago-born player — back home. Plus, big men are at a premium and point guards are a lot easier to replace.

Which led me to the masses.

Cavs fans, would you part ways with Kyrie Irving, last season’s Rookie of the Year, the player who has helped repair the rubble that was left in the wake of the 2010 off-season, for the right to have Anthony Davis in a Cavaliers uniform for at least the next four seasons?

The response on Twitter — and there were a lot of them — were almost unanimous. No. No chance. Absolutely not. No [expletive] way. I even received a “That is the most stupidest thing I have ever heard in my 23 years of life1.”

But then as the dust settled and the emotion started to give way to potential logic, some of my followers started to think otherwise. Mike Curry of Cleveland.com’s Cavs HQ said, “As good as Kyrie was in his 51 games, the Cavs would have to ship him out for Davis. Davis’ value is so much higher because of his size.”

There was a lot of debate surrounding Davis’ offensvie prowess, or lack thereof due to a specifc roll within John Calipari’s offense. There were also comparison’s to Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Patrick Ewing and even Bill Russell — arguably the most valuable player of all time. Irving has the potential to be the above-mentioned Paul. It’s a point guard-driven league. But there’s also a reason that there are a bus full of seven-foot stiffs being paid very, very well to be reserves on NBA rosters.

In Cleveland, we love our own. This much is known. But do we tend to overvalue them? Peyton Hillis may very well be the poster boy for such. Madden cover and all.

Certainly a bird in the Wine and Gold hand is worth more than the relative unknown of a player yet to step foot on an NBA floor. But is this a hypothetical debate worth having? I cannot see any scenario where Chris Grant would even consider including a player of Irving’s caliber in a deal. But should he?

The floor is yours.

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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Footnotes:

  1. Let that one marinate for a bit []
  • saggy

    that’s a very good, and important, point

  • Steve

    So why don’t we just trade away all the draft picks we are allowed to, because, who knows about any of these college players, there just isn’t any way to tell anthony davis from that foreign big man that no one has ever seen, because, hey, they haven’t played against a pro yet.

  • BA

    You just like beating a dead horse don’t you. The truth is Davis may be no better than Marcus Camby. They have many of the same characteristics and guess what, I am pretty sure Camby never made an all-star team. Davis may not either. Kyrie almost made the AS team his rookie year. He was right on the bubble. Quite frankly, if I had to choose between Ibaka and Davis right now, I choose Ibaka. Now after Davis tests himself against NBA centers/PFs, I might feel differently.

  • TTBOY

    Question is, would NO do that trade? I think they may refuse it.

  • Steve

    I don’t really care what kind of numbers each put up their rookie year. I care about how much value they can deliver towards winning a championship. Davis is a very special player. He’s a skilled big man, which is very scarce, much more than quick PGs, in today’s NBA, who can absolutely anchor a defense, which is essential, unless you have three absolutely fantastic scorers.

    There really isn’t much reason to believe that Davis can’t change a game as much as Irving can, and considering that it’s much easier to find a small than a big nowadays, I don’t see how you can’t take Davis.

  • BrownsFanSF

    I think I agree with everything you’re saying there. It’s interesting to me the direction the NBA is headed. Did we just watch the first finals in a decade that didn’t have an all NBA level big? Or are Lebron and Durant basically 4s with perimeter games? If we call Durant and ‘Bron 3s, are bigs as important as they used to be or do OKC and Miami just have so much wing talent it doesn’t matter?

    Davis will probably be the more important player to his team, but Howard is probably the best big in the game and he hasn’t won anything. I just can’t see trading your rookie of the year, historical number producing, face of your franchise for what someone is projected to be. Even if it is supposedly Bill Russell’s head on Blake Griffin’s body, until November – it’s still a projection.

  • mgbode

    i agree with Harv. lots of good PGs. likely won’t replace Kyrie, but could find a replacement. not so much with Davis.

    Davis/MKG/J.Lamb(w/ GS 7th) is one heck of a draft :)

    (and 2 of those 3 things are unlikely to happen)

  • Jaker

    No, for so many reasons, but bottom line is Kyrie is special and has shown it.

  • Bobby

    I argue for Kyrie having proven himself on the NBA level and Davis being somewhat of an unknown. Also, the NBA has become more and more of a point guard’s league. Sure, Davis may end up being one of the greatest big men of all time, but that impact is minimized without a great PG to facilitate the pick and roll game.

  • UncleCrew

    Its a point gaurds league? really? When was the last time a team whose best player was a point guard won a championship? I can’t remember. I love Kyrie to death, he’s a hell of a talent, but I wouldn’t think twice about trading him for a young Dwight Howard who can hit free throws.

  • UncleCrew

    I know they would refuse it. Kyrie is going to be one of the best PG’s in the nba. Davis is going to be an MVP candidate year in and year out, as well as a defensive post presence that practically every championship team needs. Hate to say it as a cavs fan, but Rings are not won on the perimeter. Every champion of the last decade I can think of had their best player playing inside, or their 2nd AND 3rd best players playing inside (the heat, during the finals, used lebron at the 4 more than the 3, the first time lebron has done that in the finals, and the first time he won a championship, not coincidentally.)

  • UncleCrew

    Or we could look at more than one year and remember how Tyson chandler made life hell for miami, and kidd was ok but not even in the top 2 or 3 on his own team. Or we could look at the lakers who don’t have anyone that plays point well and won two championships with pau, a little bynum, and kobe. Or the when the Celtics won it and their pg was their 4th best player at the time. Yes, if you have 3 perrenial all stars or 4 of the best young players on the planet you might not need the perfect blueprint of a team. That doesn’t change what the blueprint is.

    Honestly having one player who dominates the ball a ton is bad for winning a championship, nothing is easier to defend than iso, ball movement is an offense’s best friend.

  • Steve

    The 5, the 4, whatever, so many places are interchangeable in today’s NBA. The traditional 5 isn’t anywhere near what it used to be. And there is risk, but there is a whole lot of reward too. I like that you can only see one part of Davis’ potential – that it is just potential, and that he doesn’t demonstrate a ridiculous amount of upside.