Looking back a few months to say, mid-January, all we could have ever prayed for was the season to mercifully end and we would own the right to draft the best player available. Here we are. We have the #1 pick due to the good graces of Nick Gilbert and Mo Williams and hope is once again restored on the north shore. After the magic ping pong balls created a "pretty nice little story" there's a buzz about the Cavs again. Who do we take? Who can we trade? Who can we get? Rumors are flying and friendly debates are breaking out all over town over which direction the Cavs should go from here. First, let's take a look at the current roster and the trade assets we currently have to play with. A few names being thrown around...
-JJ Hickson. Our biggest asset. Definitely our most valuable. In my mind I wouldn't part with him. Actually I wouldn't even consider it unless I'm blown away. Sure he has lapses and has stretches of inconsistency. I believe this will all change once he's committed to. I think we'll see him turn a corner playing with a very good PG and being earmarked as a centerpiece of the future. Anytime I think of trading Hickson I think back to a stretch of games in February into Early March when he was motivated by playing against the best. He went up against Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, and Amare Stoudemire twice. All 4 were Cavs wins in which he averaged 21 pts, 13 rebs, and 3 blocks. These weren't "somebody has to score on a bad team" type stats either. He was motivated and he played winning basketball. He manned up Blake Griffin the last 5 mins of the 4th quarter with 5 fouls and turned him away each time and swatted him at the rim two or three times. With the current state of our roster we just can't give up on an athletic big who's shown progress and should be just out of college.
-Ramon Sessions. A bright spot this season. If there was a wing player that was anywhere near worthy of the 1st pick he could very well be part of our plans. As the board is setup however he's expendable. This team has way too many holes to have a solid 3rd string PG. I'd seriously try to turn him into a younger vet at the wing or a mid to late 1st rd pick. Possibly New York??
- Andy V. This is the toughest one. It hurts me to say but I'd deal him as well if the value was enough. This guy makes good teams better. His skill set doesn't make bad teams good though. If we can add a legit wing player and maybe a pick next year I'd deal him. But I wouldn't just give him away. If we do hold onto him he could do wonders leading by example to our youth infusion over the next few years.
Now onto the draft. If I have to hear the "weak draft" whining one more time I'm going to scream. You know the guy "Dude it figures we have high picks in THIS draft." Say what you will about the depth of the draft and to be honest with you I don't care at all. Mainly because the Cavs only need it to be 4 deep. To hear people whining about how weak the draft is then bring up ways to get a 6 & 18 or a 9 & 19 for our 4 is insanity. This isn't the NFL draft. Quantity isn't king. In the NFL you win Super Bowls with a lot of pretty good players. In the NBA you get stuck in the dreaded middle. Churning out 35-45 wins a year until you finally blow it up and start over. This is how I hope the draft plays out.
1st pick hands down Kyrie Irving. I think the comparisons to Chris Paul are generous but not unfounded. He certainly is not as quick but he can shoot it better than any of the young PG's in the NBA (Rose, Paul, Westbrook, Rondo) could at 19. He's quick enough and has enough handles to get by defenders especially since his jumper will stop them from being able to sag off of him. He's tough and can finish in traffic with either hand. He was given the keys to the Ferrari at Duke when very good players in the past were barely allowed to borrow an old Ford Truck. Coach K is no fool. It's cliche enough to say it's a PG league but cliches are also true. We have a chance to add a difference maker at a difference making position. Sprint it to the podium.
Now the 64k question. What to do at 4? Let's presume for a moment it goes Irving, Williams, Knight. I then sprint to the podium for Kanter. This is where I get in arguments with people who want to package the 4 to teams who want Kanter. Why? So we can pick up # 18? Again, we need the biggest possible talent upgrade we can achieve in this draft. We don't need to fill out our roster. I happen to think Kanter is going to be a real solid pro. I love when asked by Fraschilla about his game his first responsewas "I hate to lose." And again it's at a hard position to fill. Young bigs are hard to come by. You don't pass on the best big in the class just so you can pick up a "maybe he can be" at 18. Just my opinion but I hope Chris Grant agrees with me.
I am however on board with the move down and take whatever we can get if Kanter's gone. Sans the PG's remaining there is just a huge drop off in talent after Kanter. If Knight's on the board as best available I will change tunes and pray that Charlotte wants to give us 9 & 19 for 4. That would give us a look at some of the better wing players at 9 and we can take best available at 19 and hope we find a gem.
However it plays out it's good to have some excitement back in Cleveland for the Cavs. No matter what, we'll be a better team Friday than we are today. We can all thank Dan Gilbert's empty pockets that we're not stuck at just #4 for our 1st and only pick in the 1st round and missing out on the high end talent in this class. If we hit on these picks and stay the course maybe this past year might seem worth it. GO CAVS!!!