The Cleveland Cavaliers surprised quite a few people with the first pick in the NBA draft.
After weeks of speculation about Nerlens Noel and Alex Len being GM Chris Grant’s top choice, the Cavs went with F Anthony Bennett from UNLV at number one.
The question mark on Bennett is whether or not he is a tweener, too small to play power forward and not quick enough to guard small forwards. He does have an NBA body, measuring at 6’7″ and 240 pounds. He’s big enough to not get pushed around by older NBA veterans.
On the other hand, looking at him from the offensive end, he could be a match up nightmare for opposing forwards because with his size, he can overpower many small forwards in the league, and if other teams put a power forward on him, he will be too quick for them.
However, he needs work on defense, which he will get from coach Mike Brown. He reportedly also needs help with his aggressiveness on the boards, which again, the coaching staff will work on.
One question that will need to be addressed with Brown is how well he works with young players. He didn’t seem to have a lot of patience with guys like Shannon Brown, but he will need to tolerate rookie mistakes from Bennett, and the team’s second first round pick in Sergey Karasev.
Karasev is 6’7″ and can shoot the basketball, given a score of 10 out of 10 in shooting on NBADraft.net. He is reportedly a good passer and has a good feel for the game, but he needs to get stronger. It was reported that Grant had coveted him for a while, and the rumor was the Cavs were going to trade up to #13 to get him, but he fell to them at #19.
The problem with the Cavaliers right now is still the absence of a veteran to give guidance to all the young players. That is a definite need, someone who can teach Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Dion Waiters how to win in the NBA.
Also, Bennett was a good player in college, but we don’t feel he was a dominant one. Last year, Anthony Davis was clearly the best player in the college game. You can’t say that about Bennett, and if you can’t dominate at the college level, what makes anyone think he can be a great pro.
That’s why we advocated dealing the first pick if at all possible.
Right now, Cleveland has one potentially great player in Irving, and a bunch of other young players who might develop into solid NBA players, or they might not.
And they seem to be collecting guards with Irving, Waiters, Karasev, and second round pick Carrick Felix. They still don’t have a big man who can put the ball in the basket on a consistent basis.
Perhaps Tyler Zeller will be that player in his second year, but no one can be sure of that.
We realize they still could make a trade or do a sign and trade before the season started. But right now, it is tough to project this team as the playoff team owner Dan Gilbert said he wanted.
Hate to put a damper this soon on draft night, but if there no more moves for the Cavs, it looks like another long winter for the wine and gold.