The Cleveland Cavaliers took Duke’s Kyrie Irving. In their first time in the top slot since they took some high schooler out of Akron, the Cavs are hoping the one-and-done, 11 game college vet, St. Patrick’s (NJ) HS point guard product produces similarly for them on the floor as said Akron product (minus The Decision, of course). The Cavs used their 2nd top-5 pick (#4 overall) to reach for Texas big man Tristan Thompson. I’ll save everyone the boring summary of each pick, so if you don’t know how the draft shook out, visit here please.
ESPN’s Draft Insider Chad Ford handed out 11 grades of A- or higher in his report card from the draft, here (you need ESPN Insider to access), of those 11 only 4 were A’s (Wizards, Jazz, Kings, and Timberwolves). I’ve got some input on the draft as a whole, as well as some of these grades that Ford gave out, which have been pretty widely accepted commentary thus far, though I think 11 A-‘s and higher in arguably the weakest draft class since 2000 is a bit generous.
If you don’t remember the 2000 draft class, it was a doozie. This draft featured a top-10 loaded with studs including but not limited to Kenyon Martin (#1?!), Stromile Swift (#2, seriously), Marcus Fizer (#4), and Chris Mihm (#7). This draft’s best player was taken all the way down at #43, a smooth-shooting lefty from THE Ohio State University known as Michael “The” Redd.
Getting back to the Cavs, a recipient of one of Ford’s numerous A-‘s, I think they fucked it up big-time and whether that falls on owner Dan Gilbert or GM Chris Grant I don’t know. First, though I’m knocking the Cavs’ selections, I’m not knocking Kyrie Irving. I think he was tied with Derrick Williams as the best player in this draft. Two different positions, two very excellent players. My beef with the Cavs taking Irving at 1, was the fact that they also had #4, and I think they treated both picks as completely separate instead of as TWO in the top 5. Before I go into it, let’s take a look at the Cavs roster right now, as a result of the draft and subsequent trades:
PG/SG: Baron Davis, Kyrie Irving, Ramon Sessions, Manny Harris, Boobie Gibson
SF/PF: Tristan Thompson, Samardo Samuels, Antawn Jamison, Luke Harangody, Joey Graham, Alonzo Gee, Christian Eyenga, and Omri Casspi (acquired in a deal with the Kings for big man J.J. Hickson)
C: Ryan Hollins, Semih Erden, Anderson Varejao
Not a bad result, but they seem to be trying to go with the quantity over quality idea at the 4, with rookie Thompson leading the rotation. I loved the Casspi deal, as he brings a pair of nuts to the table, and he’ll probably start at the 3 with Jamison going to the 4. I don’t like a couple of things here, however, and it starts at the PG position, where you have a massive contract invested in Baron Davis, so you can’t start Kyrie. Not to mention Baron was essentially GIVEN to you by the Clippers because of how toxic he was to their young core, and now you’re going to ask him to mentor his successor? HA!
I also HATE the Thompson pick at 4. Granted, he has the potential to flourish, MAYBE he can develop an Amare-like nastiness? Maybe he develops an Aldridge-like mid-range game? Odds are, he doesn’t do any of that. Most mock drafts had Thompson going late-lottery at the earliest, so I wonder, if you really like the Thompson/Kyrie combo that much, couldn’t you package B-Diddy and the #4 pick to move back and pick up a character veteran? Just a thought.
It’s obvious the Cavs wanted to pick up a PG and a big man in these two picks. Again, I like Kyrie, but do I believe he’s head and shoulders above the other top PG’s of this class Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker? Not entirely, no. Irving is better, yes, but like I said, I like Derrick Williams just as much, and he also fits a SUPER NEED position for the Cavs. I say use #1 on D-Will, and at #4 grab one of the other PG’s, be it Knight or Kemba. If you take that approach, you can hang on to J.J. Hickson (who is far more skilled than both Casspi, AND Tristan Thomson), and you can solidify your starting lineup with D-Will. Let Knight or Kemba come off the bench as a change of pace from B-Diddy, and you have an amazing start to a quick rebuild.
Okay, so maybe the Cavs weren’t so high on Kemba and Knight. Maybe they didn’t feel like trading back to the latter part of the top-10 where they both went. How about this (which is without a doubt, what I would have done), at #1 you take D-Will and hope Enes Kanter is still around at 4. If we go by what really happened (and assuming Irving is taken at #2), Kanter is off the board at #3 to the Jazz. Instead of taking a PG, solidify your front-line for the next 10+ years by taking Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas at #4 (click for a vid but bare with the 2-minute intro). Big Dawg is 19 years old and is well on his way to being the atypical Euro big, one who likes to bang and board. No, he won’t be available to play in the NBA next season due to buyout issues, but with the strike in action, will anybody? Let’s say they take D-Will and Big V, keep Hickson, and we don’t have a 2012 season or we get 50 games in at best. Suddenly, the Cavs are sittin pretty powerful in the East with this opening day lineup, not to mention another high first-rounder in NEXT year’s draft (Anthony Davis, Quincy Miller or Michael Gilchrist anybody?): PG- B-Diddy, SG- Sessions, SF- D-Will, PF- Hickson, C- Big V, and coming off the bench they get Varejao, Twan Jamison and Boobie Gibson. Now THAT is a playoff team in the EAST!
Now that I redid the Cavs’ fortunes, I’m gonna hit a couple other places, starting with MY team the New York Knickerbockers, who used the 17th pick on Georgia Tech G Iman Shumpert. WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! They get a first-round pick for the first time in what seems like AGES and they use it on a 2nd-round talent?! Not to mention the reach for Shump, but at #18 the Wizards SPRINTED to the podium to grab swingman and defensive specialist Chris Singleton, a talent that was predicted to go as high as the 9/10 range at one point because of his ability to guard ALL 5 POSITIONS! Maybe that’s not a HUGE drop, but compared to the initial mocks which had Shumpert mid-2nd round, that’s huge. We NEED some Defense, PLEASE! Not only that, but my boy went to GTech and was the basketball manager for a little bit of his time there (not during Shump’s tenure), and from what I’m hearing from him, he’s got some sources that say Shump is a dick-headed alcoholic who couldn’ t care less about basketball.
Once Shump was taken, we bought a 2nd-round pick to grab Kentucky big man Josh “Woody” Harrellson. Most know Harrellson as the lone, despised white man on Kentucky’s tourney squad who did exactly what white guys do on the court to get under your skin: play hard, play defense, and REBOUND! I’ll take that on my pro team, any day. Problem is, I don’t see Woody being as successful in the NBA as we was in the NCAA. It’s clear that Knicks brass wanted a guard and a big man. I’m okay with that, but I’m doing this instead: grab Singleton at #17, he’s not THAT big, but he’s a presence in the lineup on D. Instead of using that 2nd-round pick on Woody Harrellson, use it to take Kansas’ Josh Selby who helped the Memphis Grizzlies earn an A- on Chad Ford’s report card, AS THEIR ONLY PICK! Ford says of Selby: “I have no idea whether Selby will pan out. But at No. 49, the Grizzlies drafted a player with lottery talent.”
Not only does the kid have talent (the #1 HS recruit of his class according to rivals.com just ONE year ago), but he was a favorite of fellow Murdermore native Carmelo Anthony. Grab Selby in the 2nd, let him sit and mature under budding leader ‘Melo, and I like him A LOT better than Iman Shumpert.
I’d say the team that came out looking like the BIGGEST winner of this draft, was far and away the Washington Wizards. First off, they come out with the new OLD SCHOOL FRESH uniforms a couple of months before the draft, then they jump head-first into a great day of picks for the John Walls.
At #6 the Wiz grabbed Serbian swingman/dunk machine Jan Vesley, a man who I think is going to be the runaway rookie of the year paired with OOP-factory John Wall. The Serbian celebrated his selection by FRENCHING his girlfriend on national TV, HARD! The Wiz were then able to grab utility man Chris Singleton at #18 as I mentioned earlier, which I am extremely jealous of. Singleton can fit in on ANY team immediately and make an impact. Finally, come the 2nd round, Washington selected Butler guard Shelvin Mack, a player that I am VERY fond of, and I think he will have an excellent career backing up both guard positions.
I also really like the Miami Heat’s pick at #28 of the first-round. They’re weak at PG, and they grabbed Norris Cole out of Cleveland State, a player that I think is WAY underrated and could develop into a taller, stronger, George Hill. He’s my dark horse pick for ROTY, as I see him beating out Mario Chalmers in no time for the starting PG spot in South Beach.
Ford also gave the Kings an A for their draft, which saw them trade away Beno Udrih and the pick that was Bismack Biyombo for John Salmons and the pick that was Jimmer Fredette. The Kings also picked up Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas in the 2nd round and sent Omri Casspi to Cleveland for J.J. Hickson. I thought this was a terrible move for the Kings. The 2nd-rounders were solid, but you trade for a young, undersized 4 to go alongside your other two young, undersized 4’s in Demarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson, and you draft a GUNNER of a guard to go alongside your other GUNNER of a guard in Tyreke Evans? I don’t see how this is going to work at all, with Jimmer, J.J. Tyreke and Cousins all fighting for shots (I say give the ball to Cousins, he wants it the most, as he evidenced by punching Donte Greene in the FACE post-game for not giving him the ball in crunch time). Not to mention there will be NO defense played by this team. I think a much smarter move would have been to take Kemba Walker at 7, dealt Udrih for something/someone/ better/cheaper than John Salmons and invested the extra $ in bringing back Sam Dalembert, and hung onto Casspi. I like Kemba’s chances of leading this team a lot better than I like Jimmer’s chances of EVER getting into favor with this group of goons. Not to mention he won’t take nearly as many shots as Jimmer would, which would instantly gain approval for him in ‘Reke’s and Cousins’ books.
This just seemed like a desperation move, by a decrepit franchise searching to make themselves relevant again. Jimmer will bring fanfare, but he will not bring W’s. Have fun relocating, Jimmer!
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