The NBA draft is a week away, and the Cavaliers are claiming they’re still not settled on what to do with the No. 1 pick. It’s probably posturing, but for the sake of this post, play along. Since winning the draft lottery, the consensus has been that Cleveland will grab Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, even though he only played 11 games as a freshman due to injury. The Cavs have many needs, but with no elite post player in the draft, and no elite wing player – I like Derrick Williams, but sorry, I need to see much more before vaulting him into the elite class – drafting the best point guard makes the most sense.
Irving seems like a better all-around talent than shot-happy Brandon Knight from Kentucky and too-small Kemba Walker from UConn, though both are clearly lottery picks.
But could Cleveland take Williams first, and then hope that Knight is on the board at 4? That thought process hinges on what the Utah Jazz will do with the No. 3 pick. The Jazz have Devin Harris at point guard, but he’s not a long-term solution. They lack a shooting guard, but there isn’t one to be had here. They have a glut of power players, which kind of eliminates Turkey’s Enes Kanter.
(If you really want to tweak a Cavs’ fan, tell them next year would have been an amazing time to have two Top 5 picks. There should be serious talent in the PF/C department next year – Perry Jones of Baylor, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, and soon-to-be Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis should be Top 10 picks, and if the following guys develop a post game this summer, they could land in the lottery: The Plumlees from Duke, John Henson from UNC and Thomas Robinson from Kansas).
I still think the move has to be Irving first – just because I didn’t love the idea of playing him in the tournament, don’t think I’m not a fan – and then trade out of the 4th spot. I’d already rule out any Euro at 4, because Cleveland is in no position to try and stash a player for 2-3 years. Please don’t use Dirk’s success in the recent NBA Finals as an argument that Cleveland should take Valanciunas. If the Cavs just add Irving, I don’t think they’ll win 25 games next year. (And if you think a free agent is going to that franchise in the offseason, you’re drunk.)
I’d see if I could possibly slide down a few picks – maybe someone will want to jump up and grab Kanter or Kemba? – to take a defensive stopper like Chris Singleton or Kawhi Leonard (I really like both players as role-playing NBA SFs), and in addition snag a 2nd round pick next year from someone.
Now that I’m all worked into a draft lather, I’ll put together a 3rd mock draft for tomorrow. I’ll have a 4th and Final one the day of the draft next week.