April 17, 2014

What I Think I Know About the NBA Draft

The 1986 Draft put the Cavs on the path to contention. Let’s we’ll say the same for the 2012 Draft.

Here’s what I know about the 2012 NBA Draft:

1. It takes place on Thursday, June 28th, 2012 (you should watch it here).

2. The New Orleans Hornets will take Kentucky center Anthony Davis with the first pick.

3. The Cavs have four picks and a lot of options.

When the lottery gods pushed the Cavs out of the Top 3, many were understandably down. Trust me, I was one of them. I had just spent a month dreaming of Kyrie Irving throwing alley-oops to Anthony Davis and having earnest “if the Cavs have Irving and Davis and LeBron wants to come back, what do you do?” conversations. Also, the local conventional wisdom seemed to be: ”as long as the Cavs can stay in the Top 3, we’ll be OK.” Landing in the fourth spot was definitely a let down.

But picking fourth isn’t so bad. A number of high caliber players could be available to the Cavs at four. It’s Chris Grant’s job to figure out which one fits the best with Kyie Irving and the rest of your Cleveland Cavaliers.

Who could the Cavs be targeting with their fourth overall selection? Let’s take a look at some mock drafts:

The names that come up at four are Bradley Beal (five times), Harrison Barnes (four times), Michael Kid-Gilchrist (twice) and Thomas Robinson (once). The most common names at 24 are Iowa State’s Royce White (four times) (the Cavs are said to have interest), followed St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson (three times) (Terry Pluto likes him) and then a mix of various guys.

Beal or Barnes seems to to be the consensus amongst the mock drafters (MKG tends to be off the board). Barnes and Beal are both in Cleveland on Saturday, set to work out together for the Cavs.

From the PD:

NBA sources have confirmed that North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes and Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal will be in town to work out for the Cavs, who have the No. 4 pick in the first round.

The question is: Are they working out against each other?

CBSSports.com reported the two were scheduled to work out against each other, but that could not be verified immediately. The two performed extremely well during athletic testing at the recent NBA Combine in Chicago, but Barnes is 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, while Beal is 6-4, 201.

I’d be hard pressed to argue against the Cavs picking either guy, as both would look great shooting jumpers next to Kyrie Irving. But I tend to think that a lot of guys would look good next to Kyrie Irving.

The mock drafts are great, as they give you a good feel of who the Cavs might be targeting, but the problems with mocks is that (by their very nature) they fail to account for draft day trades. Sure, the Cavs are targeting both Beal and Barnes with the fourth pick, but what if come April 28th, they don’t have the fourth pick?

From nearly the minute we learned the Cavs were set to pick fourth, there have been rumblings that Cleveland is looking to deal. They’ve offered their entire draft to New Orleans for the right to pick Anthony Davis (the Hornets declined), the Bobcats are shopping their pick but want “A LOT” in return, and the Cavs have been linked to the Blazers (owners of 6 & 11), who are open to trading their picks.

Along with Portland and the Cavs, the teams with two first round selections are the Hornets (1 & 10), the Rockets (14 & 16) and the Celtics (21 & 22).

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went to HS with Kyrie, Harrison Barnes is a good friend and shares an agent

So what does one make of all this?

First off, I like that the Cavs are being aggressive. Sure, the Hornets aren’t going to trade the first overall selection, but I’m glad the Cavs are gauging what it would take. Explore all of your options.

As for trading up with Charlotte (to draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), I generally feel the same way I did about the Browns trading up for RGIII: if you think that he’s The Guy, go get him. I’m in. But like all moves, it all depends on the nuts and bolts of the deal.

Bill Ingram from Hoopsworld confirms that Michael Jordan’s Bobcats have put the second-overall selection on the market, but are presently “asking for the world” and wish to include either the much-maligned forward Tyrus Thomas or journeyman center DeSagana Diop in a potential transaction. Thomas, a freakish athlete, has long been a disappointment since being drafted fourth-overall in 2006 and is due roughly $26 million between the 2012-13 season and his free agency in the summer of 2015. Diop, the 30-year-old one-time center for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has a $7.3 million player option for this coming season.

If the Bobcats are looking to dump some salary along with the second pick. Cool. But there are limits. It’s not like the Cavs don’t have a lot a holes themselves. Trading your entire draft for Anthony Davis is a little different than trading your entire draft for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. But I’m fine with trading the 24th pick to move up to second, if that’s what it took (on draft night, if the Cavs traded Ramon Sessions and the fourth pick for the second, we’d be correctly thrilled).1.

If the Cavs have to take on extra salary to make a move, so be it. I’d actually prefer this rather than moving extra picks (or Anderson Varejao). The salary floor for next season is going to be around $46.435 million and as it now stands, the Cavs have just $33 million in salaries guaranteed next season. Their first round picks will only account for about $4 million, so the Cavs are going to have to sign someone just to meet the salary floor. I’d rather them pick up extra salary in a trade for something they desire, rather than overpay someone (Alonzo Gee? Jamal Crawford?) just to make the salary floor.

As for trading down, I tend to agree with Bowers. If MKG and Beal are gone by four and you think you can still get Barnes at six, by all means, make the move. But if Beal or (especially) MKG are there are four, I’d be very surprised if the Cavs moved down.

My dream scenario would be that the Kidd-Gilchrist falls to four, followed by the Cavs using a combination of 24, 33, 34, Dan Gilbert’s deep pockets and Anderson Varejao to jump back in the middle of the first round, either with New Orleans at 10, Portland at 11 or Houston at 14 or 16.

I have no idea what the Cavs will do. Is their love for Barnes a smoke screen? I haven’t typed the words “Andre Drummond” this entire piece? Are the Cavs not interested in the young big man or do they just want us to think that? Who knows. Frankly, I’m just excited that the Cavs have options. That wasn’t the case the last time they were trying to build a contender.

The 2012 NBA Draft is Thursday, June 28th.

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Footnotes:

  1. Plus, as Bill Simmons keeps gleefully pointing out (see #6), the best part of the Sessions trade is that the Cavs have the right to swap next year’s Lakers’ pick with Miami’s. If things break right (injury prone Andrew Bynum gets injured, Kobe gets older), that could potentially be a huge jump []

  • DCox

    Last year was one of the worst drafts in histroy because of the looming lockout, but all that did was make this draft that much better. You’re going to have real quality at #4 this year, when in most drafts you’re lucky to find a starter at 4. Good luck!

  • mgbode

    Laker’s swap is top10 protected, no?  I thought there was some type of protection on it.

    Anyways, I agree with most of above, but don’t think we’d be picking a guy like Nicholson.  It just doesn’t seem to fit with our FO-scouts ideal of picking the huge upside athletic big men (tristan, jj, eyenga).

    plus, there’s a certain Bosnian that already fills the need of outside shooting forward with limited athleticism.

  • Stinkfist

    I really want a center with the 24th pick, assuming we keep it.  Melo, Leonard, and Ezeli could prove to be worthwhile starters.  Ideally, develop a 3 man rotation with Varejao and Thompson at C/PF.
    Then grab Robbie Hummel with a second rounder to come off the bench as a solid role player. He won’t blow past anyone, but he is tall, smart, shoots well, rebounds well, and doesn’t miss free throws. Plus I doubt there is a classier guy in the draft.

  • architrance

    2013 first round draft pick from L.A.
    LakersCleveland has the right to swap the least favorable of their
    own 2013 1st round pick, Miami’s own 2013 1st round pick (top-10 protected) and
    Sacramento’s own 2013 1st round pick (top-13 protected) with the L.A. Lakers own
    2013 first round pick (top-14 protected). If the L.A. Lakers own 2013 first
    round pick is #1-#14, then the L.A. Lakers’ obligation to Cleveland shall be
    extinguished. [Cleveland-L.A. Lakers, 3/15/2012]“If L.A.’s own 2013 first round pick is #1-14, then L.A.’s obligation to Cleveland shall be extinguished.”So lets not all hop onboard hoping the Lakers tank!