Kyrie Irving supposedly has a promise from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Timberwolves – all those silly trade rumors aside – appear certain to take Derrick Williams 2nd. By most accounts, the Jazz will grab Kentucky’s Brandon Knight third. Right now, I’m fairly confident that regardless of who is selecting, Irving-Williams-Knight will be the first three players off the board.
Could the Wolves get an interesting last-minute trade offer? Maybe (more likely: They get hoodwinked). Could the Jazz surprise some folks and take a big man (Enes Kanter?) to replace Memhet Okur? Perhaps.
But the focus here is on Cleveland’s pick at 4, which could send the draft in many directions. Among the options:
* Grab Enes Kanter, who may or may not be the best PF/C in the draft. One problem: They already have a PF in JJ Hickson, and a PF in Sideshow Bob. Kanter has a higher ceiling than both, but nobody’s quite sure just how good he is right now. And if he’s not ready to be a factor for a couple years …
* Take a Euro, even if he won’t be in the US for a year or two. Logic: There’s no harm in stashing a player – it’s not like the Cavaliers are going to compete for a playoff spot next year. Might as well build for the future while creatively tanking … and getting another high draft pick in 2012 (when the draft is stacked). Names that qualify here include Motiejunas, Valanciunas and Vesely.
* Wacky trade ideas! What about giving up the No. 4 pick to Phoenix for Steve Nash, so Irving can have a mentor? How about this one (proposed by a reader): Trade the No. 4 pick to San Antonio for Tony Parker and draft Derrick Williams first overall (new lineup: T Parker, A Parker, Williams, Hickson, Varejao). That’s actually an interesting lineup that probably would be around 9-10-11th in the East, assuming Williams is as good as advertised. Deal the 4th pick to Washington in exchange for the 6th and 18th picks (proposed by Chad Ford), but that only works if Kanter is on the board at 4. With the sixth pick the Cavs could stash a Euro, plus add a scoring 2-guard later in the 1st round.
* Trade down 5-6 picks and get a very good role player like Chris Singleton or Kawhi Leonard, either of whom could slide in at small forward and in the East, and maybe defend those scorers on the wing (Melo, LeBron, Wade, Granger, etc).
* Find a sucker who will give up their likely-high 2012 1st round pick.