August 26, 2014

NBA Rumors: Cavs final draft board consisted of Bennett, Len, McLemore

Reports on draft day  indicated that the Cavaliers were down to deciding between taking Alex Len and Nerlens Noel with the first pick, but now that the smoke has cleared it appears the Cavs’ choice was in fact between Len, Ben McLemore, and Anthony Bennett.

According to Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, Noel was not one of  the final players Chirs Grant and his staff came close to taking with the first overall selection of last Thursday’s draft.

“I’ve heard the Cavs’ final three choices at No. 1 were Ben McLemore, Len and Bennett.” said Pluto in his Friday column.

Chris Grant had been notorious in the previous years for keeping his hand close to the vest leading up the draft, selecting Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters much to the surprise of everyone in the media, and this year proved no different with the selection of Bennett.

All the reports that the Cavs were desperate for a center in the draft have gone by the wayside as the team came away from Thursday still with Tyler Zeller and Andy Varejao as the only options on the roster at the position.

With the Cavs choosing between McLemore, Len, and Bennett it’s apparent the team was looking to draft the best player available as opposed to drafting based off of need.

[Related: Saturday Six Pack: Reasons to love Anthony Bennett]

 

NBA Draft Rumors: Cavaliers down to Len or Noel, but still open to trade

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have narrowed their choice to centers Alex Len and Nerlens Noel.

While players like Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett have all had their time in the sun as the rumor du jour for the Cavs, Len and Noel have been the most consistent two names mentioned for Cleveland since they won the draft lottery.

Conversely, ESPN’s Chad Ford thinks that the Cavaliers could end up trading whoever they pick at #1.

“The Cavs’ top option is to trade the No. 1 overall pick for a combination of a veteran plus a 2014 lottery pick,” writes Ford. “If they can pull that off, they’ll move the pick. If they can’t, they’ll keep attempting to move whoever they draft until all their options have been exercised. In other words, don’t assume that they are keeping who they draft at No. 1.” 

[Related: WFNY Roundtable: Talking Cavs and the 2013 NBA Draft]

2013 NBA Draft – Kirk breaks down the candidates and potential trades – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-27

WFNY Podcast LogoKirk and I took the last opportunity before the draft to talk about all the possibilities. I also signed off by saying “Don’t drink too much” so there’s that.

  • The Kevin Love rumors and what that might have meant
  • Quantity vs. quality and Bill Simmons’ thoughts that four quarters don’t always equal a dollar
  • The trade rumors with the Pelicans and Greivis Vasquez
  • Do you think Chris Grant’s board is really so equal at the top or is it all smoke?
  • The Thomas Robinson trade rumor for the #19 pick
  • Houston trying to make a run for Dwight Howard
  • Thomas Robinson was supposed to be NBA ready
  • Nerlens Noel and the concerns about him
  • Noel might be an athlete and not a basketball player
  • Does Alex Len have the chance to be Hibbert?
  • Could Alex Len be Rick Smits?
  • Anthony Bennett and what he can be for the Cavs
  • Anthony Bennett’s dribbling ability and three point shooting ability
  • Victor Oladipo and his chances of being the number 1 pick
  • Victor Oladipo has the highest floor of any of the top six
  • Defense translates from college to the NBA
  • Ben McLemore and the Ray Allen comparison
  • Otto Porter from Georgetown
  • Otto Porter has the potential to be a complete basketball player
  • The Tayshaun Prince comparison
  • Sergey Karasev and the chances to have him with Dallas’ pick

[Read more...]

The Diff: 2013 NBA Mock Draft Database

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week’s article covered the makings of the 2014 Cleveland Indians rotation. This week, it’s back to the draft.

The Diff

This is not my first rodeo in talking about the 2013 NBA Draft class. For reference, you can look back at my WFNY articles in January, early March, late March, April and then mid-June. This has been an exhaustive process, but one that can always be handled with a few more stats. That’s the subject of today’s edition of The Diff: I’ve looked at 40 recent mock drafts from around the Internet and I’m here to share the results with what they mean for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ potential plans tomorrow. This activity will help to determine projected draft tiers and availability at different slots in the draft’s first round. [Read more...]

Are the Cavaliers on the verge of making a huge mistake?

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

As the Cavaliers close in on draft night, now just two nights away, it seems options are narrowing. As they should. When you have the No. 1 pick, you have the luxury of not having to do near as much contingency planning. You control your own destiny, so as draft night approaches, you should more or less have a pretty good idea what you are going to do.

As with any draft, all media speculation should be taken with as much caution as possible. I’ve written about this plenty before, but when it comes to the NFL and NBA draft, front offices love to leak information that sometimes isn’t 100 percent accurate. This is why we seemingly have contradicting reports of Nerlens Noel vs Alex Len. A lot of it depends on where the info is coming from, and why these sources want to leak this information in the first place.

But is there really a chance the Cavaliers will take Alex Len with the #1 overall pick? And if so, would it be one of the biggest mistakes this franchise could make? [Read more...]

All signs point to the Cavs selecting Nerlens Noel, per ESPN’s Chad Ford

Chad Ford isn’t buying into the noise. While Maryland’s Alex Len has worked his way into many conversations to be selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick, Ford is sticking to his initial inclination that, once on the clock, Chris Grant will select Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel.

In one of his latest blog entries, Ford lays out his logic as to why he feels the flat-topped shot blocker will be the No. 1 pick:

  • Noel told Louisville’s Courier-Journal on Sunday that the Cavs’ lead doctor, Dr. Richard Parker, had medically cleared him. I’ve had that confirmed by several sources. The Cavs have no serious issues with his knee.
  • The Cavs are stressing that they’re taking the best talent available, regardless of team needs or development curve.
  • The Cavs believe that given the strength of their roster, it’s unlikely that they’ll draft a starter. They believe their core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao is better than anyone they could draft at No. 1. They also believe that while they have a huge hole at small forward, they’ll use their cap space to find a veteran small forward to fill that hole. Regardless of who they draft, he is likely coming off the bench.
  • That means the Cavs are less likely to focus on which prospect will have the greatest impact now. They are free to take the player they think will be better down the road.
  • If history is any guide, the Cavs have a proven track record of taking young, less experienced prospects that show big upside.
  • They also have selected players that have, historically, graded out strongly in the various analytic measures they employ. Irving, Thompson and Waiters all ranked very highly by virtually every analytical tool.

This method of thinking, while sound, conflicts with recent local reports that consider Len to be the selection, and Noel considered to be the “surprise” if taken. Len, a legit 7-footer with a more developed offensive game, was first linked to the Cavaliers back on June 15. Suffering a severe foot injury, he was once considered to be a lottery pick at best.

Meanwhile, Noel has seen his name stay atop many mock drafts despite recent rumors surrounding his allegedly ahead-of-schedule rehabilitation as well as the friends with whom he surrounds himself. The 19-year-old Noel has recenty been given the clearance of his knee being “100 percent fine.” Though a project on offense, many consider the Kentucky product to be the most defensively-stout big man in the draft, an area that was easily the biggest weakness for the Cavaliers who ranked dead last in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage (.476) in 2012-13.

[Related: The Worst Case Scenarios for the Cavs’ Offseason]

The Worst Case Scenarios for the Cavs’ Offseason

I keep searching for "Your favorite basketball team using the first overall pick on a European center with stress fractured feet" but nothing comes up.

I keep searching for “Your favorite basketball team using the first overall pick on a European center with stress fractured feet” but nothing comes up.

This upcoming NBA offseason is the most important offseason the Cavs have had since that guy from Akron left.  They hired a new coach, they have four picks in Thursday’s draft and they have a whopping $19 million in capspace that could be used to entice both potential free agents and potential trading partners (the Cavs could take back a bad contract or two to grease the wheels on a trade).

I don’t know what the Cavs are going to this offseason. No one does.

Oh, there are rumors. Paul Pierce? A trade with Dallas? Could they buck the experts and take Alex Len over Nerlens Noel? What about signing Greg Oden? And what about free agents? With $19 million available, the Cavs have room to sign just about any player they pleased.

The possibilities are practically endless.

However, endless possibilities also includes possible mistakes. Just because a team has a lot of caproom doesn’t mean they have to spend it. It’s one thing if you use to capspace to sign LeBron, Wade and Bosh. It’s quite another if you use it to sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

So I’m a little worried. The Cavs have stated that they don’t want to be in the lottery next season, so that means they’re looking to Win Now. Which is good! I’m ready for some meaningful basketball games. But sometimes a win now move can backfire down the road. Sometimes that money just burns a hole in your pocket.

Here are four things that I do not want the Cavs to do this offseason.

[Read more...]

NBA Rumors: Would be a “shock” if Noel goes No. 1

With the NBA draft only a few days away, it’s looking more and more likely that the Cavs won’t be taking Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel. In his Sunday notes column, the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto says if the Cavs take a big man, it’ll be Maryland’s Alex Len and Pluto would be shocked if Noel was the pick.

 1. For weeks, I have been writing that the Cavs are looking hard at other players besides Nerlens Noel at No. 1, and nothing has changed on that front. Noel scares them because of the knee issues, along with concerns about his absolute lack of offense. Two knee surgeries in four years for a player who is only 18 should be a major warning siren. It would be a shock if they made him their No. 1 pick.

2. If the Cavs draft a big man, it will be Maryland center Alex Len. He’s 7-1, 255 pounds and looks and moves like an NBA center. He’s 21, but has a stress fracture in his foot. Maybe he’ll be fine, but big men with stress fractures in their feet are a worry. Cavs fans remember the ordeal of Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

3. At Maryland, Len led the Atlantic Coast Conference in blocks (2.2 per game), but only averaged 7.8 rebounds and 11.9 points as a sophomore. He had some big games against Kentucky (23 points, 12 rebounds vs. Noel) and North Carolina (20 points), but will he become more than just a decent NBA big guy? Noel fans can say their man averaged 10.5 points, and Len was at 11.9. Neither played for teams with strong guards. But most NBA teams believe Len has more potential to become a low-post scorer because of his size.

The News Herald’s Bob Finnan reports that Len was in Cleveland both Thursday and Friday and that the Cavs are considering him at No. 1.

Over the past couple weeks, Len, 21, has emerged as a candidate for the Cavs with that top pick. The Sheridan Hoops mock draft has the Cavs taking the Maryland center and Yahoo’s Alex Kennedy tweeted that both Z and new front office member Vitaly Potapenko are pushing for the young man from Ukraine.

The seems like that the combination of Noel’s injuries and his raw offense game have turned off the Cavs and it looks like Len’s ability to play both sides of the court is a big reason that he could go first.

[Related: Alex Len Film Room].

NBA Draft: Cavs leaning toward Noel and Len, per Chad Ford

While the Cleveland Cavaliers may be inviting a handful of top-ranked win players to Independence for a workout, ESPN’s Chad Ford says that a pair of centers are the “early favorites” to be selected with the first-overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

The team is expected to host several non-centers to Independence on Wednesday, including Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore and Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. In a chat conducted on Wednesday afternoon, Ford says that while there are several players in the mix, odds are that the Wine and Gold add a big man to their stable come June 27, be it in the form of Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel or Maryland’s Alex Len.

“There’s more in the mix there,” said Ford, “but I think those two are the favorite.”

While the majority of mock drafts have had the Cavaliers selecting Noel, recent murmurs have added Len’s name into the mix for the No. 1 pick due to his offensive skill set and ability to play from the start of the season. Ford, however, is sticking to his guns and penciling the Cavaliers in for the flat-topped Kentucky product.

“Despite the Internet chatter, I don’t think it’s correct to say that the Cavs are leaning toward Len,” said Ford. “I think they’re using this week to evaluate everyone. Figure out who the best fit is and I think by early next week we’ll have a read on the favorite. To me it’s Noel until I hear otherwise from Cleveland and I’ve yet to hear otherwise.”

[Related: Top Pick Debate: No Clear Answer, But Several Theories To Rule Out]

 

NBA Draft: Cavs to host McLemore, Porter, Oladipo and Franklin

The Cleveland Cavaliers will reportedly play host to a slew of wing players on Wednesday. Andy Katz of ESPN reports that Chris Grant will hold a workout for Kansas’ Ben McLemore, Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr., Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin.

The four players will provide one of several workouts that the Cavaliers are reportedly holding as the team hosted injured UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett earlier this week, and will host both Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len on Thursday and Friday, respectively. While individual visits have lost their luster over the years as agents have held players from participating, it was at this type of visit where current Cavaliers power forward reportedly Tristan Thompson impressed the front office so much that they used the fourth-overall selection on him in 2011.

The Cavaliers currently hold the first, nineteenth, thirty-first and thirty-third picks in the upcoming draft. They are widely considered to be selecting one of the centers first overall, but recent reports say that no decision has been made by the Cavs’ front office at this point. The draft is set for June 27.

[Related: Top Pick Debate: No Clear Answer, But Several Theories To Rule Out]

Is Alex Len the next Zydrunas Ilgauskus?

The comparison is obvious. Len, the 7’1″ Eastern European center from the University of Maryland agrees with the assessment-

“Ilgauskas, also an Eastern European, is a good analogy: A guy with true-center size who could shoot well enough to place defenders in predicaments. Ilgauskas scored nearly 11,000 career points. But there’s a way the Ilgauskas-Len comparison works against Len.

Ilgauskas had chronic foot problems over most of his pro career. Len is in a walking boot, after having surgery in April to stabilize a partial stress fracture in his left ankle. Noted Charlotte foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson did that surgery. Len’s rehab schedule suggests he’ll be cleared to start running in August and be fully recovered by the time training camp starts in October.”

“It’s that European style where big men can do whatever they want to,’’ Len described. “It just makes me a little different.’’ [Bonnell/Charlotte Observer]

The Cavaliers are rumored to be interested in Len with the first overall pick, and Ilgauskas himself has been scouting him. If the Cavaliers do draft Len, who better to work with him than Ilgauskas?

The draft is June 27th.

[Related: Top Pick Debate, plenty to rule out]

Top Pick Debate: No Clear Answer, But Several Theories To Rule Out

porterOver the last couple weeks, I’ve been camped out in the Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room. I’ve covered Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Alex Len, and Victor Oladipo Friday. Anthony Bennett is still to come later this week. Over that time, we’ve had a lot of good discussion here at the site about who your favorite to grab with the top pick is and why. It’s not so much the “who” that interests me today as much as the “why”. The reasons for taking a guy at the top spot run the gamut from fit to potential to floors to ceilings to immediate impact and so on and so forth. Let’s examine some of the more common thoughts processes going around the web right now.

First, there’s the notion that you rule a player out because he can’t help you the most this season. I think most people can understand that this one is pretty absurd as a standalone argument. Dan and Nick Gilbert may have made a proclamation about not being back at the draft lottery next season, but I don’t think that will force them to take the wrong guy simply for short term gratification.  However, I DO think that with Mike Brown back to put the emphasis on defending along with the continued improvement from the young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson coupled with the return of Anderson Varejao and the likely addition of some veteran bench pieces via free agency, that the team SHOULD expect to make the playoffs this season. I don’t think many have any surreal visions of being in the conference finals next year, but should they be able to win 38 or 40 games to sneak in as the eight seed next year? Why not? This team, when it was going good last season, was 15-15 over a thirty game stretch. The notion that such a “plan” rules out Nerlens Noel as the top selection is ludicrous. Noel may not be at the top of my board, but him not being available until Christmas has nothing to do with that. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Quarterbacks and Center Prospects

“While We’re Waiting” serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Leading off, Chris Pokorny at Dawgs By Nature gives his take on the Browns quarterback situation heading into training camp, “That’s not to say that being allowed to throw downfield will be a cure-all solution for Weeden in his sophomore season. Our offensive line did a very good job at giving Weeden a lot of time to stand in the pocket last season, and while he took advantage of that sometimes, he also missed or was late in making of his throws. I’m fine if Weeden isn’t some All-Pro quarterback, but when he is given extended time to find somebody in the pocket, he has to make the opposition pay. Weeden’s starting job is not in jeopardy heading into training camp, despite the fact that the Browns added two veteran backups behind him. He took all of the first-team reps during the offseason programs, and a new head coach isn’t going to waste all of those valuable first-team reps only to pull a last-second switcharoo.” [Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature]

Keeping on the subject of quarterbacks, the Buckeyes are still looking for one for their 2014 recruiting class, Jeremy Birmingham examines, “The first option is still Brandon Harris. Alabama received a commitment tonight from top-ranked QB David Cornwell, essentially removing themselves from Harris’ list. The Buckeyes, LSU and Auburn still remain near the top of the dual-threat’s list and while I still think it’s unlikely that Harris leaves the south, he told me tonight that the Buckeyes are a real option for him. He insists that he will not be pressured to stay “South” and that anyone who says he is doesn’t “know what they are talking about.”” [Eleven Warriors] [Read more...]

NBA Rumors: Cavs high on Maryland’s Len

Bob Finnan of The News Herald wrote Sunday of the Cavaliers’  love for Maryland center Alex Len. The 7’1″ Ukrainian dazzles scouts with his size and skill and is drawing comparisons to former Cavalier center and current front office employee, Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

“I watched him while I was growing up,” Len said. “He’s really famous overseas. He played in Cleveland for almost 15 years.

“I like his style of play. He has good size. He can step out and shoot. It’s similar to my game.”

Like Ilgauskas and many other 7 footers before him, Len has some injury concerns with his feet. Currently Len is rehabbing from a stress fracture in his right ankle which is prohibiting the big man from participating in pre draft workouts.

“It’s hard. You want to be out there and show scouts what you can do. It sucks to not be out there.”

After a disappointing freshman season at Maryland, Len picked up the pace in his sophomore year. While his averages of 11.9 points and 7.9 rebounds aren’t anything to write home about, Len completely dominated Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel in their only meeting.

Len scored 23 points with 12 rebounds and 4 blocks, while holding Noel to 4 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks as Kentucky edged Maryland 72-69. It’s flashes like this that have scouts and even Len himself, salivating over his upside.

“I have the biggest upside in this draft among the big guys,” he said. “Maybe 10 years from now, I’ll be the best player in this draft.”

With no clear cut choice for this year’s number one pick, it’s not out of the realm the Cavs would reach and take Len at one. In the previous two drafts Chris Grant surprised everyone by selecting Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, two players who had been barely been linked to the Cavaliers through the pre draft process.

[Related: Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Alex Len]

Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Alex Len

Alex lenOver the next two months, I’ll take a look at some potential draft prospects that could find themselves in wine and gold come the end of June. First up, we take a look at Maryland center Alex Len. It was recently announced by Len’s representation that the center will miss the next 4-to-6 months as he undergoes surgery for a stress fracture in his ankle.  Prior to that news, many mock drafts had the Cavaliers interested in selecting Len should their pick fall in the 4-6 range. Here, we’ll dive into the film of Maryland’s ACC quarterfinal against North Carolina to see a snapshot of Len’s game. [Read more...]

NBA News: Draft hopeful Alex Len out 4-to-6 months with stress fracture

Former Maryland Terrapins center Alex Len will miss 4-to-6 months with a stress fracture in his left ankle.

Len, a 19-year-old center who has drawn comparisons to former Cavalier Zydrunas Ilgauskas, was thought to be a high lottery selection prior to this news. Recent runs of ESPN’s Draft Predictor had Len landing in Cleveland if the team were selecting in the four-to-six range. Len, however, must now go into the June draft without the benefit of any pre-draft workouts.

One of the better centers in the upcoming draft, Len comes equipped with the ability to rebound and block shots while hitting the mid-range jump shot on the offensive end—perfect for pick-and-pop situations that Mike Brown ran very frequently during his last tenure with the Cavaliers. The seven-footer will likely still go high in the draft, but he now comes with some considerable risk.

In a recent piece for ESPN, Fran Franschilla stated that he would select Len over Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel, who is widely considered to be the top pick in the June draft. Len averaged 12 points in his 26 minutes on the floor, but was the victim of an offense that did not incorporate his skill set. In 16 of his last 19 games as a Terrapin, Len took fewer than 10 shots, averaging only 7.4 per contest.

“The tough part is the timing,” Len’s agent Mike Lelchitski said via press release.

[Related: The Diff: Regression to the mean and the Cavaliers]

The Boots: NBA Draft Lottery, John Wall and winning streaks

byron scott disappointmentIn my usual half-rapid fire, half-prose form, I’m here today with another edition of The Boots. Again, for those unfamiliar with this feature, I assign loosely defined “Boot Up” or “Boot Down” votes to trending topics in the sports world. I’m feeling some Tuesday basketball talk today.

Boot Up: #TankStrong — Stop me if you’ve heard this in the past few weeks: There’s an incredible logjam in the No. 3-11 spots in the NBA Draft Lottery positioning right now. With the abysmal Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic clearly landing the No. 1 and No. 2 best odds, in some order, the bulk of the rest of the lottery is still very much up in the air with three weeks to go.

In an effort to break down the end-of-season standings that will determine the probabilistic odds related to the NBA Draft Lottery, here’s a quick-ish look at these intriguing nine teams: [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft: Second tier fits for the Cavaliers

victor oladipoThe Cavaliers have been a much improved team over the past two months. And while that’s fantastic news and great for the long-term development of this franchise, it presents an intriguing new scenario for 2013 NBA Draft analysis.

With the team’s current 15-16 run since Dec. 22, Cleveland now sits at No. 5 in the NBA Draft order (up from No. 7 on Wednesday night). That’s inching closer to what many fans expected in the offseason, but not necessarily what they thought just two months ago.

Last time I looked at the draft class on Jan. 6, I featured the top five guys contending for the top spot. There has been plenty of shake-ups since that point. But ultimately, with the Cavs trending toward the middle of the lottery, I thought it would be most helpful to now feature a group of “second tier” players. [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft: Five players emerging at the top

It’s become an annual tradition in Cleveland to begin talking quite early in all sports about the upcoming draft.

For the Browns in the NFL, I did my first 2013 NFL Draft outlook post back in mid-November, when the Browns were 2-7. They finished at 5-11 and will have the No. 6 pick in April’s draft.

For the Cavaliers in the NBA, who selected No. 1 and No. 4 in 2011, then No. 4 and No. 17 in 2012, they again should be in the top-end of the Lottery this coming June. After an offseason of hype and intrigue that many fans thought could lead to the team potentially competing for the final playoff spot, the Cavs got off to a very slow start.

After Saturday night’s loss to Houston, Cleveland has the second-worst record in the NBA at 8-27. That’s eerily similar to their 35-game starts in each of the past two seasons: 8-27 in 2010-11 and 13-22 in 2011-12. So even if the team finishes strong (as opposed to #tankstrong), it’s likely they’ll finish somewhere in the top 8. [Read more...]