Thursday, June 23, 2011

NBA Draft: What Cleveland Should Do

I have a few theories on what the Cavs should do with their picks and because I know so many people care what I think about sports (HA!) I'll share. The way I see it, Cleveland needs a few things:
  1. A player that is exciting enough to help fill the seats to make up for the Post-LeBron drop-off in attendance that I *assume* took place.
  2. A player that will actually fit-in with their team system as it currently exists. Perhaps this isn't as big of a need but it would be nice if the new player(s) could fit into the system rather than changing the system that is currently in-place.
  3. A point guard. Even though I like B-Diddy (Baron Davis) because he's really exciting sometimes, he just isn't gonna cut it long-term. And Daniel "Boobie" Gibson isn't the answer either.
  4. A new franchise-type player.
It's these four things that make Cleveland's two picks in this year's draft (number 1 and number 4) so interesting to me. In my opinion, the best player available in the draft is Derrick Williams. Dude already has an "NBA body", can shoot the college 3-pointer (mid-range game for the win), has a nice game around the rim as well as a nice game facing the basket. People are saying he's a "tweener" and all this other prognosticated bullshyt. Dude is a BASKETBALL PLAYER. Go back to Charles Barkley and he was probably a tweener when he first came into the league and he's now one of the best players of all-time. If you can play score or defend at an elite level, you'll be ok in the NBA and Williams has the body and skillset to do both. 

I don't dislike Kyrie Irving and I understand the PG-focused nature of the NBA at this time so it makes sense to take him with the #1 pick just as much as it does to take Williams (if not more). But based on what I've seen of Irving and the fact that he only played 11 games at Duke I liken taking him with the number 1 pick to taking a high school point guard with the number 1 pick. Has that ever happened? EVER? A high school career and 11 games at Duke and you're the #1 pick in the NBA draft as a point guard? Yeah, ok. I think Irving will do well in the league because he's definitely a pure point guard (all the Chris Paul comparisons are kind of annoying at this point though) but I don't think his impact will be felt as immediately as Derrick Williams. Two or three years from now we'll be saying "that Irving pick was really really smart" whereas next season we may very well be saying "Derrick Williams look like a rookie of the year candidate for sure and a franchise player for years to come". 

In the end, if I were Cleveland, I'd do one of two things:
  1. Take Williams with the first pick and trade the fourth pick (and maybe JJ Hickson) for a proven point guard like Tony Parker who is already on the trading block and who also can take some of the scoring load off Williams shoulders. Parker isn't a pure point guard really, he's a great scorer going to the rim which means kick-outs to Williams for jump-shots or follow-up dunks for Williams off misses. Steve Nash and Johnny Flynn are also on the trading block evidently but Nash ain't going to a start-up and Flynn isn't really proven enough to give up a lot for.
  2. Take Williams with the first pick and take either Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker with the 4th pick because Irving won't be around then. I know people don't like Kemba as much as Knight or Irving at this point (at least that's what analysts are saying) but I think Kemba has heart and the skill to be an effective point guard. Or, he could be the next Ben Gordon (UConn fans don't act like ya'll don't know, lol). But I think if Kemba's extra Bronx azz can humble himself and learn to be a more pure PG who can also score, he'll be a nice compliment to Williams for years to come.
  3. [This was my original thought] Take Irving #1 and take Williams at #4. But it's obvious at this point that Williams won't be around that long so I think number 1 or 2 above would be the way to go.
It'll be interesting to see how all this plays out.

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