NBA Draft day is here! In the Cavaliers’ franchise history, these have been some special days. The Cavaliers have drafted nearly all of their franchise cornerstones, and they’re hoping to add another for the second straight year. Here at WFNY, we’ve got a wide range of college and pro basketball opinions, and we drew on those experiences in this roundtable. We hope you enjoy.
Who is your guy and why (obviously excluding Anthony Davis)?
Kirk: “The answer to this question for me has been MKG, Beal, and Barnes all within the last three months. I remain firm in my opinion that the Cavs should not and will not be disappointed if they stay at four and select Barnes. In the end, I’m hoping for MKG. I’m counting on the fact that he’s only 18 and it will give him plenty of time to develop that jumper, and the other aspects of his game will be outstanding enough to warrant the selection even if he never becomes what you would call a good shooter.”
Andrew: “I remain on team MKGtoCLE. I totally get people’s concerns about his shooting ability, but I don’t want MKG as a shooter. I want MKG to run the floor with Kyrie, slash to the rim, draw fouls, grab rebounds, play tenacious defense, and be an on floor leader. Basically, I want MKG to be MKG and do all the things he does best. When watching Kentucky games, you couldn’t help but notice him doing all the little things to help his team win. It’s intagibles similar to what you get with Anderson Varejao. Fine, those guys are limited offensively. But they’re winners. They do whatever it takes to give you a chance to win. That’s what I want on the Cavaliers.”
Rick: “Admittedly, I watch probably less college basketball than any other writer at the site. That said, I have been tracking Beal since February, thinking the Cavs would have a shot at him. What I read about MKG makes me think he is the smart choice. Truthfully, I will be excited about either of these guys. “
Ben: “I go back and forth on this question daily, if not hourly. I started off with the idea of MKG or bust but now I think I want Beal.”
Jacob: “My guy is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Many people knock his offensive skills, but I think he has the most transferable skills immediately to the NBA. He’ll hustle, grab rebounds, play staunch defense and still manage to score 10-12 points per game as a rookie. Since he won’t even be 19 until September, I love the idea of just watching him grow up alongside Kyrie Irving and watching the two of them shine together for years to come.”
Scott: “I’m sure this is fairly well known by now, but my 1a is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Built in chemistry with Kyrie Irving, size, incredible athleticism, a position of need and a pretty damn good basketball player. He may never be an international superstar, but I’m very confident in MKG’s ability to fine tune his shot, already possessing a high floor, only adding to his underrated abilities on offense. I salivate at the pick-and-roll possibilities that he would instantly bring to the city of Cleveland.”
Craig: “Beal. It is without a doubt the least risky proposition outside of Davis.”
TD: “Such a tough call for me – I go back and fourth between all three of the targets. While I think Barnes is the best guy for the now because he is such pure scorer, I just don’t know how the Cavs can pass on MKG if he is there. The guy just screams passion for the game. I don’t think it is in him to fail. ”
Do you trade up to 2 for Beal or see who falls to you at 4?
Craig: “Absolutely trade up. In the NBA, you need a quantity of good players, but it’s far more important to be top heavy in terms of talent. The #24 pick is nice to have if the Cavs end up keeping it, but it can’t stand in the way of getting more of a sure thing, which I think Beal is. A #24 pick could end up being a great player, but it could also end up being the equivalent of a MLE veteran or worse. Can’t let something like that deter you from locking up a franchise cornerstone.”
Andrew: ”I would only trade up to 2 if I thought Charlotte was going to take MKG at #2. I like Beal a lot and would love to have him on the Cavaliers. But not at the price Charlotte is asking. I’d rather just sit tight and take MKG at 4. And then, if Golden State is still interested in trading #7 for Andy, I probably do it and take Jeremy Lamb. This gives the Cavs a core of Kyrie, Lamb, MKG, and Tristan. Not a bad place to start when trying to rebuild.”
TD: “I don’t trade up for Beal at 2. It’s not like he was a dominant scorer in his one year in college. I don’t get the Ray Allen clone comparisons. He isn’t nearly the shooter that Allen is. If he fell to 4, I’d take him all day, but I don’t trade up two spots to get him.”
Scott: “I get the allure of Bradley Beal. I do. And I still wouldn’t count out a move as it would provide the Cavs with the best shooting guard they’ve had in quite some time. I would be more than pleased to have him on this team. But if I can stay put and get him, I’m ecstatic. In an asset collecting stage, however, I stay where I am and take the best player left. I don’t believe that there is a drop-off that warrants a move at this point.”
Jacob: “As of now, I sit and wait at No. 4. I like MKG better than Beal, and even though we have extra draft picks at our disposal, I don’t like the idea of making a move just for the sure sake of making a move. I hope we’ll package up those three later picks and try to move up to the late teens in the first round.”
Ben: “I don’t think I would trade up for Beal, but if the Cavs feel like he’s The Guy, then I’m fine. But I’d be more than fine with keeping their assets and selecting either Barnes or MKG at 4.”
Kirk: ”In the end, I think it’s too much. If there was a more clear separation in talent from Beal to the other guys, I would absolutely do it, even if it meant trading three or four of our picks. I just don’t think there is. I’m hoping for the Cavaliers’ scouting to come through and hit once between 24, 33, and 34 (or some combination if they trade up) with a player that can be part of the long term picture.”
Rick: “I would hesitate to trade up to 2. That said, if we don’t get Beal or MKG, I’ll be disappointed. I think MKG is there at 4.”
Is there anyone you want the Cavs to avoid selecting at 4?
TD: “Andre Drummond. Scares the heck out of me. I was thrilled to hear that Thomas Robinson apparently ate him for lunch during their workout here. I want nothing to do with Drummond at #4. That said, if the Cavs got a second top 10 pick and he was there at say, 7, I’d snag him. ”
Scott: “I’ve been one of his biggest supporters, but I am slowly starting to come to terms with the face that the Cavs cannot afford to take a risk on drafting Andre Drummond. Already having a paint-based project, missing on a player like Drummond at No. 4 could be Chris Grant’s swan song as a GM. ”
Andrew: “Barnes, Drummond, anyone else not named Beal, MKG, or Robinson. One of those 3 guys will be available at #4. If the Cavs end up with one, I’m happy. If it’s someone else, I’m really going to have to talk myself into it, and you never want to have to talk yourself into the #4 overall pick (see: Thompson, Tristan).”
Craig: ”Too many to name, but all the names in contention for the top five are alright in my book. ”
Rick: “Again, I haven’t seen much at all of Drummond, but I just can’t imagine the Cavaliers passing up solid wing players for a center that has real questions about work ethic. No thanks. Even his college teammate calls him out? Avoid please.”
Ben: “Drummond. I only like him as their second pick (or if they trade back in and take someone like Lamb). They can’t go into next year with just Kyrie, Tristan and Drummond. Need scoring help from somewhere.”
Kirk: ”Andre Drummond. The potential is there, but I think the center position is always overvalued in the draft. Look at the Final Four teams in the NBA Playoffs this season. The best true center was probably an injured Kendrick Perkins. It’s a point guard, small forward, and power forward league now.”
Jacob: “I’d be relatively satisfied with MKG, Beal or Barnes with that first pick, whether at No. 2 or No. 4. Anyone else is not worth it in my mind, especially Andre Drummond. Of course, like every Cavs fan, I desperately wanted No. 2 and then No. 3 at the lottery. No. 4 is a tricky spot because you can’t be certain that both MKG and Beal will be there – despite reports linking the Bobcats to Thomas Robinson, since trades can always happen. If both MKG and Beal are gone, and it’s just Barnes at whatever spot, then I’m not too happy, but I’ll take it since I trust the front office.”
Outside the lottery, what name intrigues you the most?
Scott: “A lot of mocks have Perry Jones III falling into the low teens. His talent level alone makes this instantly intriguing. But if we are talking available-at-24, I still like Evan Fournier at the wing and Andrew Nicholson in the low post. What the Cavs do at No. 4 will obviously set the stage for the second pick.”
Ben: “Royce White.”
Jacob: “I saw Andrew Nicholson first-hand over the last three years as a Dayton guy down in the A-10 – he’s the real deal. He’s an unbelievable scorer, has a big body and can rebound/block very well. I’m not saying that he’s a future All-Star, but I certainly believe he can be a very worthwhile third big man on a great team. He reminds me of a less athletic Taj Gibson or bigger Leon Powe, and both those guys have provided clutch playoff minutes at different times over the years.”
TD: “Terrence Jones. I think he can be a Lamar Odom-type 3/4 if he is motivated and put in the right system. Those are both big “ifs” but I’ve seen him so many times when he is on. Dude can ball. But when he isn’t engaged, like Odom, stay away.”
Kirk: “I have three names. Will Barton, Andrew Nicholson, and Royce White.”
Craig: “Sullinger now. I was down on Sully for a long time, and I’m sure there is some “homer” in this pick, but Sullinger is a great pick down at #24 if you can get him.”
Andrew: “I like Royce White and Fab Melo. I don’t think either will be great, but I see attributes in their game that look like potential solid, contributing role players in the NBA.”
Rick: “Fab Melo. Would love to see the Cavs end up with a center from this draft. A center not named Drummond apparently.”
Will the Cavaliers be able to trade up from 24? Should they?
Rick: “It will be difficult trading up from 24 I think. The only reasonable way I think the Cavs pull it off is by trading up just a few spots. Hope I’m wrong. If the Cavs feel good enough about a player, like Ross for example, I would be fine with them trading #24 and next year’s first rounder to move into the top ten.”
Jacob: “I’m a big fan of that idea. I think they’re able to make a move by packaging No. 33, No. 34 and maybe a guy like Daniel Gibson. Ideally, they should also make this move. Everyone’s been talking about how the team will sign no more than 2-3 players from this draft. Why not try to then maximize the value of those new players? I’m sure the Cavs are dead-set on the guys they’re targeting and will do what they can to get them. For now, I think that probably means moving up to the 18-22 range.”
Ben: “I think they’ll be able to. Whether or not they should depends on the deal. But I’d be kinda surprised if they stayed at 24.”
Kirk: “If they are willing to deal Varejao, clearly they can move up. Other than that, I think you’re looking at moving up no higher than 18 or 19 tops if you’re packaging the 24 and one of the second round picks. Should they? Yes, I think there’s a lot of value just outside the lottery, so they should try.”
Craig: “I think they will be able to trade up and they should if they can.”
TD: “Will they? Maybe. Should they? Sure. If they can get themselves a second top 10 pick, I would do it. I know they may be looking at Fab Melo at #24 and could use another big, I would love to add another shooter like a Jeffrey Taylor or John Jenkins, both from Vandy. Taylor if you take MKG, Jenkins if you take Beal. ”
Scott: “I think a trade up from 24 will be easier to pull off than a trade up from No. 4. Those second-round picks should be coveted by someone who is looking to not tie up money longer than they have to on a player of similar talent level.”
Andrew: “I’m not sure if they can. It sounds easy on paper, but in reality, the #24 pick is a crapshoot no matter how deep the draft. It may seem hypocritical to say the Cavs shouldn’t give up 24 to move from 4 to 2, but then turn around and say 24 doesn’t have much trade value in moving up, but every team has different scenarios. For Cleveland, there’s value in adding a young player with the pick. Same with Charlotte. But some teams, if not most teams, won’t put as much value in the #24 pick as Cleveland will.”
What do you do with Varejao? Is he still going to be here when this team is ready to compete? Do you trade him now?
TD: “Supposedly, Golden State wants to trade the #7 pick. If I am the Cavs, I offer up Andy for that pick before the draft. If they bite, I go Thomas Robinson at #4 and either Dion Waiters or Jeremy Lamb at #7. Or if T Rob is gone, go MKG at #4 and Drummond at #7. We know what life is without Andy already. Move him while his value is still relatively high. ”
Ben: “I think now is the time to trade him. He’s coming off his best year and there’s no gaurantee he’ll be healthy enough to deal at the trade deadline. and by the time the Cavs are REALLY competing, he’ll be past his prime. Also, he’s literally their only tradeable player.”
Craig: “Based on his track record of injury and friendly contract, it is a conundrum. You could see Varejao helping this team out of the basement, but you could also see him bringing back some more youthful value in a trade. The thing that makes him attractive in the trade market also makes him attractive as a keeper. It is a cop out, but I’m nearly 50/50 on this. I’d have to see the trade on the table to make the call. So, if I’m running the show, he’s available, but not at any kind of a discount.”
Rick: “Million dollar question in my mind. If the Cavs can move Varejao and end up with an MKG/Ross/Melo combo in this draft? Yes, I do that in a heartbeat. Love Andy, but durability is going to continue to be a question. I just don’t see him as the same effective Andy in three years.”
Jacob: “I think the best option still is to keep Varejao. His stock will only rise as this season progresses when he’s again healthy and is playing not just with Kyrie Irving, but another new wing player added through the draft. A solid idea that just popped into my head is trading Varejao at the deadline for another first-round pick, and trying to move up high into next year’s lottery to get a fourth young star for the future (along with Tristan Thompson). Varejao won’t be around when the team is ready to truly compete, and so it’s just a matter of time before he’s gone.”
Scott: “As I have said all along, you have to move Andy when the time, and the offer, is right. He is easily one of the veteran leaders on this team, but Kyrie Irving is also wise beyond his years. Once the team can be assured to have some sort of sufficient presence in the paint, moving him for a lottery pick makes a ton of sense. If the Cavs move him at the draft, I expect them to be a lot more active in free agency than originally planned. Lord knows they have the cap space to do so.”
Andrew: “I kind of already answered this. If I can get MKG at 4, and then one of the SGs I like (whether it be Lamb, Waiters, Ross, etc) are available at a spot where a team will trade that pick to me for AV and 24, I do it. Otherwise, I keep Andy. Varejao is so valuable to this team and even an old Andy will be a major asset in the postseason once the Cavaliers return to contention (assuming they stay on schedule and don’t screw things up). You don’t just find players like Andy who make their impact felt in so many ways on the court.”
Kirk: “Last year, I was strongly against this. This year, I’m much more open to it. You’d love the Cavaliers to be able to jump back in the lottery and secure two dynamic wing players to pair with Kyrie. That could be the start of something special. When we’re ready to truly compete in 2-3 years, Andy will have a short window of top level play remaining. His injuries are not chronic, nagging ones, but his style of play will always lend himself to being frequently out or at least banged up. If you can secure a Top 10 pick for him, do it.”
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