At least the Cleveland Cavaliers have one arena where they are victorious, unfortunately, it is not on the court.
Instead, it happens in the NBA Draft Lottery, where the wine and gold came up with the first overall pick for the third time in the last four seasons.
To this point, those first overall picks haven’t translated into success in the regular season, which is why the Cavs continue to be in the lottery. They haven’t been able to make the playoffs.
The first overall selection does give Cleveland GM David Griffin a valuable commodity, it remains to be seen though, who will make the first pick next month.
Why? Because the Cavs have already been through this before. Is it really best for the team to take another player who will take two, three, or maybe even four years to be able to make a difference in the NBA?
Next year will be the fifth season since LeBron James left for Miami, causing the Cavs to start a rebuilding process. The time for developing players is over, it’s time to start winning games. Will the first overall pick help them get over the hump in 2014-15?
We are all aware of last year’s draft in which the Cavs selected Anthony Bennett with the first choice. The rookie of the year turned out to be Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, who was the 11th pick. Out of the top ten, only Victor Oladipo (Orlando), Cody Zeller (Charlotte), and Trey Burke (Utah) could be said to be big contributors to their teams as rookies.
The year before, the Cavs selected Dion Waiters with the 4th overall choice. That draft looks to be pretty solid with only Thomas Robinson and Austin Rivers not getting big minutes with their respective teams. Still, only four players, Damian Lillard (Portland), Terence Ross (Toronto), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte), and Bradley Beal (Washington) are playing a significant role of playoff teams.
In 2011, Cleveland selected Kyrie Irving first and Tristan Thompson fourth. Only two players taken in the top ten of that draft, Jonas Valenciunas (Toronto) and Kemba Walker (Charlotte) are getting significant minutes on teams that made the playoffs.
The point is there haven’t been more than a handful of rookies who have made a significant difference in their first couple of years in the league. It is almost like the major league baseball draft, where you are picking players who can help you down the road.
The Cavaliers can’t wait any longer to start winning.
We have said this before, players who can make an immediate impact in the NBA generally play well in the NCAA tournament. They don’t disappear.
Many have Cleveland selecting Anthony Wiggins of Kansas as their choice. His last college game was dreadful, scoring less than 10 points. He also weighs under 200 pounds. Can you see him playing against guys like Paul George, Paul Pierce, and other small forwards who are 6’7″ and weigh 220 pounds?
This isn’t to say Wiggins won’t ever be good, in fact, he may turn into an all-star player. Irving did, but his success hasn’t translated into wins on the floor.
The point is there isn’t a player in this draft who can turn a franchise next season, so if Griffin can turn this pick into a young veteran who is already a quality player, that would be better for the wine and gold.
As for young, we mean mid 20’s, not a player who only has a few years remaining in their career.
To be sure, it was great for the Cavaliers to get the first overall pick. However, they need to look at it as another asset they’ve accumulated to get back to winning. There isn’t a franchise turning player in this draft.