NBA Draft, David Blatt and Baby Got Back: While We’re Waiting…

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Happy NBA Draft week, you guys! With Joel Embiid almost a lock to slide down the lottery, all eyes will be on David Griffin and the Cavs as they navigate through questionable terrain. It seems like just yesterday that this draft class was the one everyone was gunning for. And sure, while there is undeniable depth, who the Wine and Gold take at the top will be praised my many, but panned by others.

Chad Ford’s latest has Jabari Parker as the name at the top of the team’s draft board, but cites a source who says that Andrew Wiggins will find his name in the mix before Thursday night. The Kansas product had a good workout for the team on Wednesday and Parker is reportedly tipping scales north of 240 pounds—with 11 percent body fat. For comparison purposes, Carrick Felix’ body fat before the draft was 3.3 percent. Parker’s offense is NBA ready, but I can’t think of a worse defensive unit than one led by Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and the Simeon Academy product.

Of course, a trade can always go down, but I can’t think of a move that would be panned more than a trade down given the sudden two-player tier that comprises the top of this year’s class.

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Speaking of, while I can obviously be a bit biased due to my fandom, I’m not sure I’m on board with this “worst drafting team” rhetoric. Sure, the numbers are there—whatever they mean—but several variables play into who is selected and when. The fact that Tristan Thompson is one of two players to have outplayed his draft slot speaks volumes to the criteria. (Two-time All-Star Kyrie Irving has somehow underperformed his draft position.)

I’d be curious to see how much the Cavs average is dragged down by last season’s freshman campaign for Anthony Bennett. If there were some factor adjustment made for quality of draft class, maybe I’d listen—especially since the piece in question decided to start after Cleveland drafted the best player in the world. And most importantly, that Jim Paxson drafted Lucious Jackson in 2004 does not imply that David Griffin will draft the next big bust 10 years later.

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Looking for some David Blatt to tide you over? We got you covered.

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Browns offensive lineman Joel Bitonio signed his contract over the weekend. I’ll use this space to not only remind you all to check out Colin’s excellent film study of the gargantuan second-round pick, but give a shout out to the new CBA that has allowed so many of these rookies to not only get into camp on time, but do so in a financial way that does not cripple a franchise in the event a player does not pan out as planned. Once Justin Gilbert’s slot is determined, he’ll be locked and loaded, and he’ll likely cost the Browns around $8 million in guarantees—not to bad for the eighth-overall pick.

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I often use Twitter to share links to some of the better sports writing I stumble upon over the course of the week. Given that Twitter is essentially ephemeral to the eyes, I figured it would be beneficial to share a select few here every Monday as I spearhead WWW. That said, here are some of the best pieces of #ActualSportswriting I read last week.

Train in Vain” by Brian Phillips (Grantland): “There is no time in Rio. Hours fall away in tracts, like trees disappearing in the Amazon. They fall away when you are lying on the beach at Ipanema, eating doce you bought from a shirtless little boy with a cigar box. They fall away when you are standing on the beach at Copacabana, in the purple glow of the FIFA Fan Fest, watching drunk fans slow-motion zip-line toward the blinding yellow figure of Fuleco, the cartoon armadillo who is the World Cup’s official mascot.”

The sad last chapter of Sterling’s life” by Ramona Shelburne (ESPN): “There weren’t many ways to reach him, even if the business were urgent. An executive tells stories from over the years about walking the strand of beach in front of Sterling’s Malibu place, waiting until he came outside on the deck in the afternoon. If you were lucky, he came out wearing clothes.”

A Place that God Forgot” by Wright Thompson (ESPN FC): “Nobody told them how long the autopsy would take. The mechanism of death in the murder capital of the world runs at its own pace — neither rushed nor ruffled — because the bodies don’t ever stop coming.”

The Essence of Velocity” by Jason Turbow (SB Nation): “He was certain in the strength of his model. If somebody in baseball was willing to take a chance, Husband was convinced that the ensuing payday would be huge for everybody concerned.That was nine years ago. He is still waiting.”

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And finally, Baby Got Back, as performed by Brian Williams:

 

 

  • RGB

    Ugh, I can already see it…With the first pick in 1014 NBA draft, The Cleveland Cavaliers select, Dario Saric, forward, Croatia.

  • Brad

    With the “Worst Drafting Team” article, you also have to consider how many first round picks were traded away during the 2003-2010 era. We traded away a pick almost every other year. A consideration also has to be made for what the average win-share is for the draft as a whole, since the last three have been pitiful.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    Exactly. SO many variables go into that type of analysis. I’m sure Jacob or Jon would be better suited to critique it, but it seems very myopic to me.

  • BenRM

    The numbers in that article are obviously cooked to make the point the writer wanted to make. But with that said, the Cavs have still been a pretty terrible drafting team. Which is a large part of the reason why the Cavs are a pretty terrible basketball team.

    Who’d have thunk?

  • mgbode

    I don’t know why they compare pick slot to other years rather than use the actual draft they were picked in? Why not just show how the actual picks played out and figure things out from there?

    Did more than 3 players out-perform Tristan Thompson from that draft and by what %? Ok, that is the hit or bust factor and move on from there.

    Yes, it gives major credit for finding an Ibaka late in the 1st round, but so does their method. And really, 1 outlier could vastly affect a teams drafting grade due to such a small sample size.

  • letunisien

    watch world cup 2014 for free Bein Sports http://www.le-tunisien.net

  • mgbode

    Yeah, we were stuck in bad situations but did not make the most of them. There was not a single WOW, we got that guy there pick. In hindsight, that guy could have been Drummond (over Waiters) or Terrence Jones (over Tyler Zeller) or Kawhi Leonard (over Tristan), but we never found that guy.

    Starting in 2011 as that is what matters here:

    2011 (1) Kyrie Irving — better? none unless you think Kawhi Leonard would have progressed as he has here, then there’s an argument.

    2011 (4) Tristan Thompson
    Definitely better(drafted later): Leonard, Jonas-V, Jimmy Butler, Parsons
    Arguable: Klay Thompson, Vucevic, Faried, Isaiah Thomas

    2012 (4) Dion Waiters
    Definitely better: Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond,Terrence Jones
    Arguable: Barnes, T.Ross, J.Lamb, Henson, Harkless, Sullinger, Plumlee, et cetera

    Zeller falls into the same boat (T.Jones obviously better drafted 1 slot later — lots of people in the arguable category with him)

    2013 (1) Anthony Bennett
    Definitely better: Cody Zeller, Steven Adams, Olynyk, Dieng, Plumlee
    Arguable: Oladipo, Caldwell-Pope, et cetera

    Really, 2013 is a mess and one year of crud. Some of the bigs not asked to do too much have okay numbers as seen above but that’s about it. Mason Plumlee and Tim Hardaway led the way in WS. The class could develop, but wow that was bad.

  • Guest

    What will the Cavs do during the NFL draft? Well Manziel is already taken…

  • Harv 21

    Re the draft, I hear you, Scott, especially about not factoring in strength of draft. One might even argue that for a few years the Cavs crushed the second round, somehow finding productive to excellent players there (Boozer, Varajao, Boobie). But defending their drafting overall is like complaining that someone else’s farts actually smell worse. Not something worth arguing at length, because even if you win you lose.

    It helps to get lucky, like winning the lottery in the years where there’s no-brainers (Spurs with Robinson and Duncan, Magic with Shaq, Cavs with Lebron). But at the risk of learning too many lessons from the Spurs, I’m coming around to the recent Jerry West quote: the draft is not the key to winning. Looks to me like the best orgs have a good system, correctly identify the players who fit, and know both how to develop young players and how to discard those that aren’t fitting in. [Not sure that under this theory Miami with two straight trophies is a “good” org, or that the Lakers sans Phil Jackson is one either].

  • mgbode

    JFF is only taken in the NFL and MLB. He is still eligible to be taken in the NBA draft (if he submitted his paperwork in time — would anyone be surprised if his PR firm did just that?)

  • mgbode

    Miami – their system was Pat Riley convincing the big-3 to sign on the dotted line. but, then also finding enough veterans who fit their system (LeBron w/ the ball, everyone else needs to shoot, play defense and rebound) in Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Chris Anderson, et cetera.

    Lakers – their system was taking advantage of other teams in the trade market (Kobe, Gasol, et cetera) and using LA to sign the veteran players they needed to fit their system (triangle under Phil — who knows since Dr. Buss gave up control).

  • Harv 21

    I think you’re making my point. I doubt Miami gets LeBron and Bosh without the beaches, regardless of Riley’s mind control. Doubt Lakers get Shaq without it being L.A. And with Shaq gone and Phil gone, Kobe alone is unsustainable.

  • Harv 21

    I think you’re making my point. I doubt Miami gets LeBron and Bosh without the beaches, regardless of Riley’s mind control. Doubt Lakers get Shaq without it being L.A. And with Shaq gone and Phil gone, Kobe alone is unsustainable.

  • mgbode

    sure, but location is part of the tools for the organization. it makes what SA (and OKC) has done even more impressive.

  • mgbode

    The EV article is amazing. I had read some snippets on EV when we got Trevor Bauer (along with his long-toss and other methods), but that is a nice detailed write-up on it. And, it really cuts into why Montero hated him so much. Bauer wanted input on what and where he threw pitches and Montero viewed him as a rookie who should listen to him. I’m guessing Kirk Gibson wasn’t the best manager for Bauer to be thrown into given his wanting to be outside the baseball norm too.

  • Steve

    I’d say Faried isn’t arguable, and If Jonas had come over right away, he’d be there with Leonard as better than Irving.