After winning the NBA Draft Lottery last month, Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert once again put all kinds of pressure on himself and his basketball organization by announcing it would be the last time for the wine and gold in that position for a while.
While we believe Gilbert was speaking from his desire to win, these types of statements are growing old. It is time for results for sure, but what happens if the Cavaliers miss the post-season by one or two games in 2013-14? Winning 36-38 games next season would be a great improvement from this year’s 24 victories.
There has been a lot of conversation about trading out of the top spot in the draft, a move we have advocated all along, but with this year’s crop of draftees being devoid of a “difference maker”, it will be tough for GM Chris Grant to come up with a trade partner.
If the wine and gold cannot deal the first pick, then they need to take the best player, whoever they perceive it to be, and not worry about the current make up of the roster.
While you can pick for need when picking later, when you have the first pick, you have to take the best player.
That would seem to narrow it down to three choices: Kansas G Ben McLemore, Indiana G Victor Oladipo, and Maryland C Alex Len.
McLemore is reported to have outstanding athletic ability and can score the basketball. He has three-point range, and can shoot off the dribble, a skill needed to be a complete player. His weaknesses are his feel for the game and his ball handling.
Those are a lot of good skills to like in a player.
Oladipo might be a reach at #1, but it has been reported the Cavs love him, and he would fit in nicely with Mike Brown’s emphasis on defense. He might be the most explosive athlete in the draft. He has a toughness about him and can finish at the rim. However, the rest of his offensive game needs a lot of work.
His jump shot is inconsistent and he doesn’t handle the ball well. He may be a good complement to Kyrie Irving, with Dion Waiters coming off the bench in a combo guard role.
Len is probably the most ready to play big man available this year. At 7’1″ and 255 pounds, he is a legitimate NBA center and his back to the basket game continues to improve. And he’s a decent mid-range shooter, and made 69% of his free throws in college.
As with most big men though, Len needs to get stronger and because of that, he is not a great rebounder at his size.
His NBADraft.net comparable player is someone Cleveland basketball fans should be very familiar with…Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
The Cavs’ biggest need is a small forward, but there doesn’t seem to be a quality one available this year.
Normally we don’t advocate taking a big guy for the sake of taking a big guy, but taking Len makes the most sense unless Grant can make a deal.
The speculation will end two weeks from today.