Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

With the fourth pick, the Cavs select …

Unlike last year, when the Cleveland Cavaliers held the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft and targeted point guard Kyrie Irving from the moment they won the draft lottery, no one really knows what the Cavs will do in tonight’s draft.

We’re (pretty) sure that Cavs general manager Chris Grant knows what he wants to do but what he will do with the Cavs selection at No. 4 may hinge on one question:
How bad do the Cavs really want Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal? (If they want him at all.)
According to NBA.com, Beal has a:
“combination of attributes, most notably his ability to score, his intelligence and his strong work ethic. As good as he was as a freshman in college, he’ll get that much better because he’s not afraid to put the time in to improve. He’s a big-time scorer, who, although his 3-point stroke was a bit inconsistent in college, is a great shooter. He’s also a strong finisher. And as an added bonus, he’s a great rebounder.”
And Kentucky coach John Calipari had this to say:
“What he is, is a truly prototype two guard in (the NBA). What he can do is he plays above the rim. Obviously (he’s) a knockdown shooter. When you space the court and do pick and rolls with him in the game and he’s out on the floor, you’ve got to play him, which opens up the court for everybody else. And he rebounds the ball. He’s good. One of the issues for us when we play them is his rebounding. Now you want to talk about scoring and all the other things, he rebounds, he goes after balls. He’s a terrific player.”
Sounds good. But if the Cavs really do want Beal they may have to make a move for him.
New Orleans is a lock to take Anthony Davis at No. 1 – they reportedly turned down an offer from the Cavs for all four of their draft picks plus Tristan Thompson (how enticing that was is certainly up for debate) – and it would be one of the biggest shocks in NBA draft history if they passed on Davis.
The consensus (for what it is worth) has Charlotte using the No. 2 pick on Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, a first-team All-American who nearly doubled his scoring and rebounding averages from his sophomore season. Sounds like a pretty safe pick for one of the worst (the worst?) franchises in the NBA.
Additionally, the Bobcats traded this week for shooting guard Ben Gordon, so it seems unlikely that they would then turn around and draft a shooting guard. (Even a dysfunctional franchise like Charlotte wouldn’t do that, would they?)
So no Beal to Charlotte, which puts him one spot closer to Cleveland.
Washington has the No. 3 pick and, unlike the Bobcats, the Wizards do need a shooting guard to pair up with point guard John Wall. It’s hard to see the Wizards passing on Beal.
If the Cavs really want Beal, they may have to swing a deal with Charlotte. The Bobcats allegedly have “had a ton interest from across the league in the second pick,” according to president of basketball operations Rod Higgins.
For a team that needs pretty much everything, the Bobcats would be hard pressed to say no if the Cavs offered the No. 4 and the No. 24 picks to move up to No. 2. And with Chris Grant liking to make moves, it’s not hard to see the Cavs doing something.
The flip side of that, of course, is while the Cavs are not in the same state of disarray as the Bobcats, they need plenty of help as well. The risk of making a move is that sometimes they work out (Mo Williams for Baron Davis and that draft pick that turned into Kyrie Irving) but sometimes you end up drafting Marvin Williams (which Grant had a hand in while part of Atlanta’s front office).
There’s also the fear that Grant will stay at No. 4 and to make a “surprise” selection (and doesn’t that sound like fun?) – namely Syracuse guard Dion Waiters. According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, even though the Cavs couldn’t get Waiters to come in for a workout and meeting (shouldn’t that say something?) they have an “ever-evolving fascination” with Waiters, a 6-foot-5 combo guard who came off the bench for two year and a player that no one projects to be a lottery pick.
“Waiters struggled in his reserve role his first season and for a time considered transferring. But he decided to stay, was convinced to embrace the job and excelled this season. That was good training for the next level, because he’ll fill the same role for a year or two. Waiters doubled his scoring average from his freshman year, improved his shooting percentage from 41 to 48 percent and tacked a couple of percentage points onto his 3-point success ratio. He was an easy choice for Big East sixth man of the year.”
Waiters sounds like a nice player, but at No. 4? Do you really need to try and outsmart everyone with that high of a selection? That just feels like a perfect recipe for a disaster.
We would much more prefer the Cavs stay put at No. 4 because there is a very high likelihood that Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be sitting there when NBA Commissioner David Stern announces the pick.
Just as the Bobcats don’t need Beal now that they have Gordon, the Wizards don’t need Kidd-Gilchrist, a small forward, because they recently traded for small forward Trevor Ariza. So even if Washington selects Beal at No. 3, the Cavs could simply do nothing and have the kind of player that Cavs fans will love fall to them. And the Cavs will still have the No. 24 pick to either use or work a deal later in the first round.
Kidd-Gilchrist has only been described as the “most competitive player in the draft,” someone with “extreme athleticism” who is “explosive getting to the basket” and a “fierce rebounder.” ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote this about MKG:
“I think Kidd-Gilchrist has a chance to be the second best player in this draft — I especially like him if he lands on a team with a great young point guard like Cleveland. … He’s won at every level (high school, AAU, NCAA) and has a Rondo-eque type of motor and toughness. He’s an elite finisher at the rim. He runs the floor as well as anyone in the draft. He can defend at least three positions. He’s a gym rat and a relentless worker. Most of the analysts who followed him in high school thought he made major improvements as a freshman in virtually every area. … If we are talking ceilings, I think his is Scottie Pippen.”
What’s not to like about that?
Draft time is always a fun time in Cleveland and the Cavs have a legitimate chance to improve the team in a major way tonight. How it all plays out is anybody’s guess.
But in case you are wondering, Chris, MKG would look awful nice in wine and gold.
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