I don't expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to end up trading with the Charlotte Bobcats for the 2nd overall pick. Charlotte is asking for too much (4+24+34) and they will keep asking for too much all the way up until they run out of time. Maybe if they reasonably asked the Cavs for 4+33 in order to move back two spots and take the player they'll end up taking second at four anyways, it might be different. But in the end, the Cavaliers will stay at four because there's too many good reasons to simply stay there and take a quality player for free. With that in mind, below are my odds on which player is most likely to finally come off the board to the Cleveland Cavaliers at pick number four on Thursday night.
Thomas Robinson (Kansas) 15:1 - Of the players considered in that top-5 group after Anthony Davis, I'm giving Robinson the longest odds of ending up in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. He might be the most NBA-ready player in this Draft, and I expect him have a productive year next season. I love this kid's story, love his work ethic, and I think he's going to be a good NBA player for a long time. I also think he has the best chance of actually surviving his first season as Charlotte Bobcat; better than anybody else who could end up starting their career's there. He'll make things happen for himself inside; he'll rebound, he'll score double figure points and he'll defend. He just won't be drafted by the Cavaliers because Charlotte will take him second.
Bradley Beal (Florida) 9:1 - When Washington made that trade for Trevor Ariza, Beal's fate was sealed. The sheer fact that the Wizards will definitely take the SG from Florida third overall is actually the only leverage Michael Jordan and his Bobcats have right now in their quest to pry the 24th overall selection away from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bobcats stink and want to draft a guy who could go as low as 6th if Charlotte passes on him at 2. So they're using Bradley Beal as the reason the Cavaliers should pay them the 24th pick to move up. In the end, the Wizards will jump on the chance to team him up in a back-court with John Wall, and hope that Wall occasionally passes to Beal during NBA games. If he does, those two could be lethal together. Beal comes off the board at three.
Andre Drummond (UConn) 6:1 - This could happen, Cleveland. Be ready for the possibility that Andre Drummond's name is read aloud on Thursday night when the Cavaliers pick goes in. Just because Jeremy Lamb, his teammate, took the time to blast him the other day doesn't mean that Drummond couldn't get picked 4th. I wouldn't take the chance on him myself, but I do understand the physical reasons why a team would. I'm not sure the kid has the type of character and work ethic the Cavaliers are trying to rebuild this thing with though, but then again I never actually met him so how fair is that of me to say. He does have NBA size. He does have NBA athleticism, and he does have huge upside. Daniel Gibson also took him 4th overall in the NBA players Draft for ESPN the Magazine, so maybe he knows something that we don't.
Harrison Barnes (North Carolina) 3:1 - All these talks, trades, smokescreens, and positioning are going to come right back down to the place most Cavs fans feel like this decision began with. Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Harrison Barnes has an NBA-body. His shot is pure, he's athletic, he rebounds, and he'd excel alongside Kyrie Irving in the NBA. He played under pressure at North Carolina, coming in as the Preseason Player of the Year in college basketball two season ago, and I walked out of the McDonald's All American game the first time I ever saw him simply thinking wow. In the end I think the Cavaliers pass on Barnes though, who I expect to be available when Cleveland picks at 4 along with Drummond, despite some spirited debate internally.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky) 2:1 - MKG is special. There are some things you just know when you see it. You can look at his shot and say he has a hitch when he brings it up to his forehead right now, at 18-years old. If that's what you want to focus on you're going to miss the big picture. Right now MKG can also defend positions 1 through 4 in the NBA. Right now he can get you 7 rebounds per game from the SF position. Right now he can get you 10-12 points per game at least, and play like a bigger, more athletic version of Tony Allen defensively. From there (12 points, 7 rebounds per game, defensive stopper as a rookie) I believe his work ethic, motor, and desire to be great will take him to places that most players in this Draft will never go. I'm not going to say that Scottie Pippen is a fair comparison, but I'm not going to argue against it either. In the end it's #MKGtoCLE.
UPDATED JUNE 28: Could Dion Waiters be this year's Tristan Thompson?
I don't think so. Then again, nobody thought Tristan Thompson was coming off the board at No. 4 in last year's NBA Draft right up until it happened. It did prove to be the correct selection, at least so far, as reinforced by multiple re-drafts from outlets like SLAM Magazine and ESPN.com in recent days. So maybe Chris Grant is feeling himself and willing to make a bold play for Waiters again this year.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski's report this morning, "sources in direct contact with Cavs officials believe Waiters would be the franchise's choice over Kansas’ Thomas Robinson should the Charlotte Bobcats select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at No. 2, and the Washington Wizards take Beal at No. 3." While this Waiters news sounds out of left field initially, it's also kinda not when you step back think about what the report is actually saying in its entirety. That being more directly, the Cavaliers do like / could like Dion Waiters better than Harrison Barnes, but not as much as MKG or Beal. My Cavaliers Draft Board has always read: MKG, Beal, Barnes. But maybe it should've read MKG, Beal, Waiters?
That said, I'm giving Dion Waiters a 12:1 chance of coming off the board to the Cleveland Cavaliers at pick number four. Better odds than the Cavaliers landing Robinson (primarily because I still believe TRob goes 2 to Charlotte) and not quite as good of odds as Beal, Drummond, Barnes, and MKG. Oh, and I realize that my odds don't add up to one hundred or whatever, and I don't care. You get the point.
BTW, this Dion Waiters possibility at 4 is what I was talking about last Monday when I said we should be prepared on June 28th for anything as Cavs fans: "MKG, Beal, and Barnes are three players I strongly believe would make this Cavaliers team incrementally better to various degrees; both next season and moving forward. Each fits an obvious need at a depleted wing position, each make sense based on their individual skill-sets, and I'd like to think that one or two of those guys would probably be available at pick number four. They could all be gone though, or they could all be there. Which is crazy to think when holding the fourth overall selection. The individual workouts that are taking place throughout the League are the primary reason for the current fluidity. What teams think they see up-close will dictate who goes where, and we should be prepared for anything as Cavs fans on June 28th. As much as we think we know, sitting less than two weeks away."
Or even sitting a few hours away...more on Thursday after the Draft. Stop by Mullarkey's tonight, you guys.