Prior to the NBA Lottery, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was unanimously considered the second best prospect available in this year's Draft. I therefore concluded that if Cleveland lost out on Anthony Davis, the Cavaliers would need the second overall pick in order to acquire the services of his running-mate from Kentucky. Upon the ping pong balls eventual announcement, I initially thought they'd need to then trade up to two in order to land MKG. Then I decided there was no telling what Michael Jordan would do with his pick. I then began to think the Bobcats could go any number of directions at two, allowing MKG to still maybe slide to the Cavs at four.
According to a report from the Chicago Tribune this weekend, there's still good reason to think that's possible:
Bobcats will either draft Harrison Barnes, Thomas Robinson, or Bradley Beal (h/t SLAMonline):
“One major problem for Jordan is that his team needs help at a lot of positions. According to several NBA front-office execs, [Michael] Jordan is deciding whether to take North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes, Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson or Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal with the No. 2 pick. ’It’s a good draft, but there is just one star,’ one NBA executive said. ‘But there are kids in this draft who could be in the league for 10 years and be nice players.’”
If Charlotte does go with either Barnes, Robinson, or Beal at two, things could get cray. Pro Basketball Draft has MKG going third to Washington, with the Cavaliers choosing Beal over Barnes (5th to SAC), and Draft Express has it the same. NBADraft.Net, as a third example, actually has the Cavaliers deciding between all three of those guys - picking Barnes (4th) over Kidd-Gilchrist (5th to SAC) AND Beal (7th to GSW). As I told my man Joe Lull when I joined him on 92.3 FM The Fan in Cleveland on Friday night, my Cavaliers draft board continues to read MKG, Beal, Barnes - in that order. In saying as much, I had almost convinced myself that Cleveland wouldn't actually end up with an opportunity to totally decide between the three. I was beginning to assume that MKG and Beal would be off the board, leaving the Cavs with Harrison Barnes. That might not actually be the case however, especially if Charlotte goes Robinson at two. Which they very well could.
Each day brings a new Mock: On Friday I picked again for Portland at no. 11 overall in the SLAMonline Mock Draft and sent Kendall Marshall to Rip City. I previously linked the Blazers with Andre Drummond at six. Considerable time, thought, and research went into each of my selections, as are put into similar Mock Drafts posted all over the Internet. It's still a big guess though, by everybody. Last year at this time the SLAMonline Mock Draft had Tristan Thompson coming off the board at pick number 15. He obviously went 4th to Cleveland, leaving the NBA universe googling Tristan Thompson stats on their Iphone upon that announcement.
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.
Beal v. Barnes and positions of preference: Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes worked out for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the weekend. Nobody who is talking about it was actually there watching. A couple people had somebody who was there tell them what they think happened, and the "slight edge" has been given to Beal. Those types of reports, in general, originate sometimes from a person inside a team's organization or an agent affiliated with either of the players who worked out. I can't pretend to know where all these reports come from, but those would be two of the primary sources traditionally. I imagine there's others. It turned out in the case of Tristan Thompson last year, that he killed at his individual workouts for a number of teams. We didn't end up knowing that until after the Draft, but I suppose that doesn't matter. WFNY linked to a couple reports from respected sources that had Bradley Beal outplaying Harrison Barnes this weekend in Cleveland, so maybe that means the Cavaliers would take Beal if given that choice.
As I told Lull on Friday night, I personally think the Barnes v. Beal debate comes down to preference of a position more than answering the question of who we think is a better player. Alonzo Gee has a place on this Cavaliers team as a back-up wing. A sixth, maybe seventh man, playing primarily the SF position and a some SG. He might start next year on opening night, but long-term the Cavaliers need TWO wings who can BOTH start over Gee if they plan to be a contending team one day in the Eastern Conference. Brad Beal is a guy that could start at the two. Harrison Barnes is a prospect who could start at the three. Beal is promoting himself as a Shooting Guard who can also play some Point, and Barnes is an NBA bodied Small Forward who can maybe play some two with the right Point Guard (Kyrie Irving is that right Point Guard). If you feel like Beal is too talented a shooting guard to pass up on you take him. If you feel the same about Barnes at the SF position you go that way. Whichever way you do decide though, you're still going to need to somehow get someone else who can also play the other wing position. In truth, even though I prefer what Beal can do, the Cavaliers actually need both of these guys. Assuming MKG is off the board.
Put this on your calendars: Cavs Draft Tweet-Up June 28th at Mullarkey's Irish Pub with the Social Dudes - hope you can make it!