With the selections of Andrew Wiggins and Joe Harris last night, the Cavaliers are receiving rave reviews from around the national media … really. It’s a rare phenomenon for the Cleveland basketball team after three straight years of head-scratching drafts.
Listed below are snippets and grades from six different basketball writers. We’ll post others as we see them throughout the day:
“This was solid draft redemption after the head-scratcher of last year, No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett. The Cavaliers took the right players who made sense for their slots and the team. Wiggins has tremendous upside and could blossom alongside a point guard like Kyrie Irving. Harris is the shooter that Cleveland needed. Anyone criticizing these picks needs to realize that, while messing up the top pick was a little harder this year, it still was possible. Both Wiggins and Harris could be impact players next year. Now, about getting that LeBron James guy …”
“Wiggins is one of the better defenders in the draft. He’ll be relied upon to use his UPSIDE to his advantage. One qualm I have about this pick is that Wiggins needs to develop into the player he can become. The question is, can he succeed with a Cavaliers locker room that has had a history of bad blood? He’s very athletic and has the makings of a great player. It’s just a matter of if he can become that player he’s capable of or not.”
“The Cavs, in my opinion, did the right thing here. They could’ve taken Jabari Parker and justified it by saying they needed a player who could help them now. Instead they took the player with the most upside and showed a willingness to let him develop into the best player in the draft. I think Wiggins is a better fit for the team anyway. He brings defense, he can play the 2 or 3, and he won’t need the ball in his hands to make an impact on the team. Wiggins has as much or more talent than Kyrie Irving and, in time, will be the guy they build around. Harris is a shooter and is tough as nails. Though he’s not a great defender, he brings great effort. Overall, the Cavs improved their team this year and finally got a second long-term franchise building block next to Kyrie Irving. It was a good night, Cavs fans.”
“The uber-athletic small forward from Kansas saw his stock fluctuate throughout his one collegiate season, but he finished exactly where he started—in the top spot. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been leaving that small forward spot open for quite some time, all in the hopes that LeBron James might eventually come back to the team that originally drafted him, but it’s now filled by Andrew Wiggins and his interesting wardrobe choice.”
“He didn’t rack up absurd scoring numbers like Kevin Durant or propel his team to a national title like Carmelo Anthony, but the one-and-done star still flashed enough upside to merit being a top pick. Wiggins showcased an ability to defend multiple positions, an explosive secondary jump around the rim and a knack for finishing with aplomb in transition. The top criticism of Wiggins: he wasn’t assertive enough to take advantage of his physical gifts. In Kansas’ stunning NCAA tournament loss to Stanford, he scored just four points and attempted only six shots, inexplicably floating around the perimeter.” There’s no doubt Wiggins has a tendency to coast, but he still has the ability to make an instant impact and get better in years to come.”
“Once again, the Cleveland Cavaliers entered draft night with the top pick in the draft, and for the second straight season there was some question as to who the squad would glom onto. New GM David Griffin chose Wiggins in this scenario, and it’s not hard to understand why – his mixture of offensive potential and at times dominant defense could turn him into a franchise player if everything develops as promised. Concerns about previous whiffs in the first round or Kyrie Irving’s permanence are for another day – Wiggins is a stud and a deserved top overall pick.”
“The Cavaliers surprised everyone last year when they took Anthony Bennett first overall, but didn’t pull any fast ones this year, picking Andrew Wiggins with the top selection. Wiggins’ upside is through the roof and he happens to fit nice with Cleveland’s young roster. He will immediately fill Cleveland’s gaping hole at small forward to compliment Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.”
“I loved everything about the way that Cleveland emerged from this draft. First, Andrew Wiggins was the top overall selection, and in the wake of the Joel Embiid injury, he was easily the best long-term prospect for the Cavs. In addition, Wiggins is the best perimeter defender on Cleveland’s roster from the moment he touches down in Ohio, and that makes him a better immediate fit than Jabari Parker would have been. It’s a win-win.”
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.