The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin to rebuild from the Lebron James fiasco this summer.
Having two picks in the top four of this years draft will aid that process.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have four draft picks this year, with the two big ones being at the top of the first round. Me being who I am, should let you know who I think they should draft...but there could be a couple of options.
Here's a few ways I look at the first round:
Pick 1 - Kyrie Irving - PG, Duke
Pick 2 - Enes Kanter - C, Turkey
Everyone and their mother seems to have the Cavs picking Irving first, so I'll stick with that option here. Listen he seems to be dynamic. He can score, pass, drive...everything you want out of a point guard. Im guessing this means you either send away Baron Davis (unlikely) or Ramon Sessions (most likely), which I am not in great favor of due to Ramon's continuing improvement throughout the year. He came on strong a second time after Davis's trip to CTown, pushing Sessions to the bench. But Irving could easily be the Cavs point guard of the future and it'll be hard to pass that up.
Kanter should have played in the NCAA this year. But due to the fact he may have accepted money from a Turkish national team to play basketball he was deemed ineligible this past season. Kanter however, impressed everyone in a huge way at the Nike Hoop Summit. While playing for the internationals he racked up 34 points and 13 rebounds. The 34 points, thankfully, beat Dirk Nowitzki's point total from the 1998 game.
Kanter, like Irving, could be the Cavs center of the future. He's only 18 and he's huge, 6'11" 272 pounds. He's great on the glass and would be a great body to bring off the bench behind AV or even potentially start with Hickson playing the 4. But the NBA is getting faster, not bigger. Just by watching the NBA playoffs this year you can see that. There really isn't a dominant big man left in the playoffs this year, with only Tyson Chandler and Serge Ibaka being more defensive than offensive.
Pick 1 - Kyrie Irving
Pick 2 - Derrick Williams, F Arizona
Irving, again, could go #1. I'm not entirely sold on him, yet. Being injured throughout his only season at Duke, he played only 11 games. Irving did post solid numbers (17.5 ppg, 4.3 apg, 46% from 3, 52% from the field, over 90% FT)for the year, and had a huge 28 point game in their loss to Arizona in the NCAA tournament. But is that enough of a show to earn him as the Cavs point guard savior? Maybe.
Derrick Williams at #4? It could happen. With the TWolves and Jazz picking between the Cavaliers two picks, Williams could fall into the Cavs laps. Minnesota has Michael Beasley and drafted Wes Johnson last year at the forward spots. Both of whom are young guys and have the same type of game as Derrick Williams. Johnson didn't live quite to expectations, but was only a rookie last year. Beasley turned his game up after being traded from the Miami Heat. He averaged career bests in points per game (19.2), blocks (.7), assists (2.2), and minutes (32.3). He may be a scoring cornerstone in the Wolves offense to go along with Kevin Love. Having those two guys at the forward spot would push Williams name down to number 3 where....
...the Utah Jazz would pass him up. The Jazz have 6 forwards on their roster, three of whom were drafted last year (Jeremy Evans, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward). Paul Milsap, Andrei Kirilenko, and CJ Miles also fill the forward spot at Utah. Favors, Milsap, and AK47 easily take the meaningful minutes for the Jazz at the 4. Maybe Utah could try to swing Derrick Williams at the 3, but most scouts and teams see Williams as a 4 rather than a 3. So maybe Utah selects Jan Vesely or Kanter at number 3? It could happen.
Pick 1 - Derrick Williams
Pick 2 - Kemba Walker, PG, UConn
Derrick Williams, like Irving/Kanter, could fall into the Cavs plans to be their power forward of the future. With many fans being up and down with JJ Hickson, me not being one of them (*side note - I see JJ Hickson being the future power forward for the Cavs), Williams could easily fit that role. My view, if you missed the parentheses statement, is the Williams an Hickson become a strong 1-2 punch at the forward spots. The Cavs could run a small defensive lineup with Williams and AV, then an offensive one with Williams and Hickson. Not sure how JJ would like being placed back on the bench, but with two young, explosive forwards, how could you go wrong?
Kemba Walker can do it all. We watched him take the University of Connecticut to the National Title this year (so you know he's a "winner" also a plus), averaging over 23 points and 4 assists per game. The boy can score and score in bunches. It's something that the Cavs need. The addition of Baron Davis last year showed us now nice it was to have someone who could creat their own shot everytime down the floor. We hadn't had someone like that all year and Kemba could be that guy. His range isn't great, but did I mention he can score? Shooting the three is something he could work on, as well as his point guard skills, but the idea of him and Baron Davis breaking down defenses on a nightly basis is a nice vision to have.
Pick 1 - Derrick Williams
Pick 2 - Brandon Knight, PG Kentucky
Williams again at the top spot. Another guy who can create his own shot and will give the Cavs more fury underneath. I don't see him as huge "banger", but pairing him with AV underneath would give the Cavs a lot of strength. I could see Williams getting under the skin of opposing players, playing tight defense, being physical. It's something the Cavs lack, especially when Varejao was lost to an injury.
Brandon Knight has been scouted to having more "upside" than Kemba Walker. Knight is also bigger on both accounts than Walker (6'3" - 185 pounds to 6'0" - 172 pounds). Being bigger will help Knight on the defensive end, where Walker doesn't exactly shine. Knight can also score, maybe not with the same power as Walker, but Knight averaged over 17 points and 4 assists. He also shoots better than Walker from three (37%). Once again having to choose from Knight and Walker is a good problem for the Cavs to have, but you still want to get the career guy out of the two.
If I had full control of the Cavs office during draft night I would take Option #4. I think Baron Davis, coming off a fresh summer to get healthy, could be the Cavs starting point guard next year. And I like Sessions. I know a lot of fans might not agree with me (Kyle Knapik), but he showed a lot of character stepping up for a Cavs team with no legit star or legit scorer. Brandon Knight would come into play the year after Davis left or was traded. I like Knight's defensive ability over Walker's and him being the bigger guard gives him an advantage over Kemba on that end as well.
The Cavs will not be winners next year, but they will be better. I would try Derrick Williams in spurts at the 3, but I don't think that is where he will ultimately end up on the roster. Williams could be groomed into a superstar power forward. Hickson could grow right along with him.
All of this talk at the forward spot and no mention of Antawn Jamison? Sure I think Jamison could come back and be a 15 plus point scorer again for the Cavs, but I hope he plays well enough for the Cavs to trade him around the trade deadline. The Cavs need to get younger and Jamison could bring in another draft pick late in the season from a team who needs a veteran scorer. I don't see Jamison in the Cavs future, for long, which is why I left him out in most of this write-up.
I don't want to forget about the Cavs two picks in the second round either, but I think the top two are obviously much more significant. But the two picks in the second round I would look at names such as Jeremy Tyler, E-Twuan Moore, DeAndre Liggins, or Jon Leuer. Tyler is extremely raw, but extremely young and talented inside. Moore and Liggins could potentially be scoring pieces at the guard spots off the bench and Leuer could become that coveted "stretch 4" and give the Cavs another three point threat.
The Cavs have a great problem in the 2011 draft. Any combo of Irving/Kanter/Williams/Knight/Walker would please me, with Williams and Knight being at the top of my list. The Cavaliers will improve next year, but should still be picking in the top 10 next year with the likes of Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones, Austin Rivers, Jarred Sullinger, John Henson and Terrance Jones all potentially being there. The draft next year should provide more big names for the Cavs to choose from, making them even younger and more dynamic for the years to follow.
Saddle up Cavs fans, it's going to be exciting 2011-2012.