They can’t be done, can they? It’s hard to judge this draft without seeing the Cavs’ subsequent moves. This team currently has four point guards (Kyrie Irving, Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions, Boobie Gibson) and five power forwards (JJ Hickson, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison, Samardo Samuels). They till have their trade exception (until July 8th or so) and they have some major logjams. Other moves are coming. Right?
(Although, I do want them to suck and draft high again next year, so maybe a team full of undersized PFs is the way to go. Hmmm).
With the first pick…. Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke: cool. I’m fine with the Cavs selecting the consensus best player in the draft, not to mention a top notch point guard and leader. Complain all you want about the later picks (and people have), but bottom line, Cavs got the best player on the board. I can live with that.
4th: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: I wasn’t exactly high on him before the draft and that hasn’t really changed all that much. He’s a power forward, on a team filled with power forwards. Part of me feels like Grant took Thompson in order to trade, but when the Raptors immediately took Jonas Valanciunas at 5, the Cavs were stuck.
And even if they really like Thompson (and Grant did say they’ve been high on him all year), I feel like they could’be traded down and still ended up him. I mean, Thompson wasn’t projected to go that high (or even top ten on some boards). Terry Pluto says that they really did like Valanciunas, but were scared off by the buyout:
They really like the 19-year-old Valanciunas. But they also know that it’s hard to ask a fan base to wait that long for a No. 4 pick in the draft — and then assume that he will indeed develop. You draft a wait-and-see European player late in the first or the second round — but not at No. 4.
I never like making personnel moves based on fan reaction, so I hope Grant is telling the truth when he said they had Thompson rated high on their board all along… rather than being scared at the backlash for having to wait a (lock-out shortened) season on a player (who happens to play center, you know, a position of need).
With the 32nd pick, the Cavs took another power forward, Justin Harper, but turned around and gave him to Orlando for two future second round picks (I wanna say 2013 & 14, but I could be wrong). While I have a hard time arguing against turning one 2nd round pick into two 2nd round picks, I have to wonder whether either of those two picks will be higher than 32. Not only that, but I find it hard to believe that there was no one available at 32 that they thought was better than Manny Harris or Alonzo Gee. I mean, I know it’s a very weak draft and all but really? No one?
With the 54th pick, the Cavs took yet another power forward, Milan Macvan, who they expect to stay overseas for a year or two. He’s allegedly really physical and bruising. So that’s neat.
Some folks got really pissed that the Cavaliers passed on Ohio State guard David Lighty. Meh. First of all, if they so wish, the Cavs can still grab Lighty as an undrafted free agent and second, I refuse to get upset over the 54th pick in the NBA draft. We’re gonna get pissed over the 54th pick? Really?
Overall, draft night turned out to be kind of a dud, especially given some of the expectations (could we get Irving AND Williams??!?!!). Cleveland didn’t jump back in the first round, yet again they decided not to simply buy a pick and asides from Irving, they chose players the casual fans haven’t heard of.
The biggie is the Tristan Thompson pick at 4 (it did kinda come out of left field) but I have a hard time killing it. I don’t know much about him (the Cavs seem to like his work ethic and athleticism), but hey, I don’t know much about the Euro big men either.
I guess the problem with Thompson is that, if you’ve decided that J.J. Hickson isn’t the long term answer at power forward, why not go with Derrick Williams instead? And with seeing Brandon Knight fall to 8, we know that a Williams & Knight scenario was a realistic possibility. And while I think the Williams/Knight combo is the flashier move, I have a hard time admonishing Grant for deciding not to pass on the consensus number one pick.
(Plus hey, Thompson did hold Williams to 4-14 shooting when they met in the tournament. Heh, though Williams hit the game winner…)
How you feel about this draft basically comes down to which PG/PF combo you prefer, Irving & Thompson or Williams & Knight. Maybe that’s simplifying things a bit (you culd be really high on Valanciunas or David freaking Lighty for all I know) but asides from trusting Grant’s future trades, that’s the big question for Cavs fans:
Is Kyrie Irving + Tristan Thompson > Derrick Williams + Brandon Knight?
I believe I think so.