One of the great debates going on in the Cleveland sports landscape is should the Cavaliers try to win as many games as they can this season, or would another lottery pick be more beneficial.
Winning is learned. For the most part, young players need to learn how to do it, how to close out close games. So, in that regard, putting games in the “W” column can only help the wine and gold going forward.
Also, remember that you cannot expect professional athletes and coaches to try not to win. Once the ball is tossed in the air, the adrenaline takes over and players want victories.
No matter which way the season goes, and with Anderson Varejao out for 6-8 weeks with a fractured wrist, the playoff dreams took a huge hit, the key for this organization going forward is GM Chris Grant.
In particular, his eye for talent.
Even if you have a high lottery pick in the 2012 draft, if you don’t have the correct person judging the talent, you make a bad choice.
The NBA is filled with players who were thought to have all kinds of ability and potential that have washed out. If you take one of those guys, it will keep you in the lottery for years to come.
Ask the Los Angeles Clippers before they drafted Blake Griffin. Check out the Washington Wizards. Certainly, the Charlotte Bobcats have benefited greatly from the lottery.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers have one player picked in the top five of the draft, Evan Turner. Indiana isn’t loaded with high lottery picks, either. Yet, both are among the top teams in the league right now.
The reason is they have people within the organization that have made the right choices in terms of players, and it has paid off.
That’s why the most important person for the Cavaliers is Grant. He has to make the right picks going forward.
At this point, you would have to say Grant has done a solid job bringing players in.
After LeBron James left, Grant targeted two point guards to bring to Cleveland: Ramon Sessions and Kyle Lowry. He got Sessions, who is currently worth a first round pick in a deal, from Minnesota with Ryan Hollins for Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair, and the 2nd round pick.
Sessions has averaged 12.5 points and 5.3 assists with the Cavs since the trade.
Lowry stayed with Houston after they matched an offer sheet tendered by the Cavs, and has averaged 13.9 points and 6.9 assists per game since the 2009-10 season.
Grant certainly hit a home run with Kyrie Irving as the first overall pick this season, although many suggested Cleveland take Derrick Williams, now with Minnesota.
The 4th overall pick, Tristan Thompson, is contributing as well, and you would have to search hard at this early date to find someone taken after the rookie from Texas that is playing better than him.
And you can’t forget Alonzo Gee, who has emerged as one of the Cavs’ best five players, and was found in the NBA D-League. He has shown that he definitely has the ability to play in the Association.
Some people will point out the J.J. Hickson-Omri Casspi deal and put that in the negative column for Grant. Casspi hasn’t worked out as well as expected, but Hickson is struggling to get playing time for Sacramento as well.
At worst, that deal is a push.
At this point, you have to give Grant a very good grade in judging talent.
If he can continue down that road, he will be the most important Cavalier in bringing the wine and gold back to contention.