NBA Draft 2011: Cleveland Cavaliers select…
We are t-minus ONE hour away from the 2011 NBA Draft (otherwise known as the Cavs replenishment-fest) and I am multiple bundles of nerves.
First off, I drew this picture. This is, after all, week six of the much ballyhooed (by me and my close personal friends) Bleacher Report, and we went with something of an NBA selection special.
Second off (“second off?”), I’ve compiled a list of what I think each lottery team should do with their pick—be it select a particular guy, trade down if opportunity presents, or just say “screw it” and reach into a hat for advice. Mostly this was done to quell my nerves; a little this was done to keep me busy while the draft approaches.
Hope you enjoy.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers — Draft Kyrie Irving!
Not even a debate. Not only is he the best player in the draft, but as my good friend John Krolik of the substantially awesome site “Cavs: the Blog” frequently points out, he has a position. Derrick Williams does not. Moreover, he plays the position as it pertains to getting the most out of the current NBA rulebook, which favors the quick over the strong. Great player, great fit, no questions.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves — Draft Derrick Williams.
No explanation point, but they still should do it. Derrick is a very good player, and ultimately, a better fit with a pass-first point guard like Rubio then is Michael Beasley. Why? Because for better or worse the guy can’t create his own shot. At least not in the way “creating your own shot” is normally interpreted. He can get to the hole, he can post and maneuver inside, and he can shoot from the perimeter. What I don’t see is anything in between. He’s not a ball-handler, nor do I see a guy who can pull up comfortably off the dribble. Those guys finish, they don’t create.
3. Utah Jazz — Draft…I can’t even write it.
The Utah Jazz are the biggest “scare-factor” for me as a Cavs fan. You see, I want Jonas Valanciunas, and I think he’s the obvious pick for us at four. The Jazz meanwhile, have made so little a peep over anybody throughout the entire draft process, that I have literally no idea what they’re going to do. Which kind of makes me think that they’re smarter then I’m giving them credit for. They’re going to draft Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter, or Jonas Valanciunas. Jonas is the best long-term prospect out of those three…ugh, I’m sick to my stomach. Take Brandon! Take Enes! Don’t trade this pick! I hope Larry Miller is impatient.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers — Draft Jonas Valanciunas.
There are rumors circulating that the Cavs are A) trying to trade back with the Wizards (who want Kanter) to pick up the sixth and 18th selections, or B) thinking of taking Tristan Thompson and trading him back to the Bobcats for nine (provided Jonas is available) and 19, because the Bobcats really like Tristan but think the Pistons will take him at eight. Both these scenarios imply that Jonas is the Cavs No. 1 (No. 2) target, and both these scenarios show them getting a little too cute. I like that they’re exploring ways to pick up an additional pick, and I hope they do. But the word on Jonas is out. You take him at four, and you hope the Jazz don’t screw things up.
5. Toronto Raptors — Draft Brandon Knight.
I actually think the Raptors will take Kemba Walker here, and I love him but just don’t see him as sizeable enough to ever be a starter for a top-10 team in the NBA. With Knight available, the Raps get their point, sacrificing what Kemba brings them in immediate impact for long-term upside. Is it worth it? Maybe not to Bryan Colangelo (on the hot seat), but it’s the right pick.
6. Washington Wizards — Draft Jan Vesely.
This is where the draft’s lack of shall we say, “heft” starts to present itself. The Wizards number one target is Kanter, and with him (tentatively) off the board to Utah, John Wall’s team will have to settle for the most athletic Euro-finisher in this draft. He’s uber-skinny, but if Vesely can get out of the run, he can finish amongst the tress.
7. Sacramento Kings — Draft Kemba Walker.
The Kings will have opportunity to trade this pick, but if Kemba is on the board, they should take him. Not only would he allow Tyreke Evans to move off the ball, but I suspect he’ll also bring to the locker room a bit of the maturity that is otherwise missing. Tony Parker will be dangled for this pick…I think Kemba Walker’s worth more.
8. Detroit Pistons — Draft Tristan Thompson.
Before I realized they were thinking of trading him to Detroit (and out of semi-desperation), I actually talked myself into Tristan Thompson for the Cavs last night. At four. Here’s what I realized: He’s a heck of a player, a great shot-blocker, and with just a season of college ball under his belt, he still has huge upside. The difference between Valanciunas and Thompson is that Thompson is 6-9. He’ll have to play power forward. No way around it. But for a team like the Pistons, looking to find that rare guy offering both immediate impact and long-term value, Thompson is a great pick.
9. Charlotte Bobcats — Draft Bismack Biyambo.
I’ve come to like a lot of the guy in this draft class, and Bismack is no exception. The Bobcats, I think, are targeting Thompson. As it stands, they get the more raw, yet more athletic version of him. Bismack will take some work, but as little as they’re wont to admit it, they’re not going anywhere soon. They have time to teach this Congolese warrior.
(Note: We’re going back in the draft! Charlotte, as I’m typing this, just swapped with Milwaukee and Sacramento…which basically will show the draft order from 7 on going as follows:)
7. Charlotte Bobcats — Draft Tristan Thompson.
Well, we said it above—the Bobcats wanted Tristan Thompson, but knew the Pistons would take him at 8—and now they’ve moved up accordingly.
8. Detroit Pistons — Draft Bismack Biyambo.
I’m not sure that they do this—the Pistons are semi-desperate to win now—but they should. What better place for Biyambo to fulfill his potential than the home of Ben Wallace?
9. Charlotte Bobcats — Draft Chris Singleton.
According to ESPN, Charlotte made this move both to usurp Detroit for Thompson, and to have to opportunity to grab either Alec Burks or Chris Singleton at nine. That’s pure offense vs. pure defense. I go with defense, Singleton, who comes closest to replicating Gerald Wallace’s game, and who—along with Thompson—will provide an intimidating core for what could be a burgeoning defense.
10. Sacramento Kings — Draft Jimmer Fredette.
The Bucks essentially traded this pick for the right to pick up Steven Jackson. They think they’re on the verge of a dynasty. I think they just traded the 10th pick in the draft for Stephen Jackson. Again, according to ESPN, they’re targeting Jimmer Fredette. Not sure I agree with that, but also not sure I have a better idea. I’ll say this…he’ll space the floor for Tyreke. Meanwhile, literally every person in Utah sheds a tear.
11. Golden State Warriors — Draft Kawhi Leonard.
Golden State could use a wing, Golden State could use a defensive identity, Golden State could use Kawhi Leonard. Alec Burks is an intriguing option as well (Monta Ellis may not be around forever), but I think you go with Kawhi and hope that he turns into Gerald Wallace.
12. Utah Jazz — Draft Alec Burks.
Okay, I am definitely not one for trades. Utah needs a wing and a point…so as Kevin O’Connor frequently espouses, you take the best player available, the one with the highest upside. At this point in the draft, that’s Alec Burks. He’s a big-time offensive talent, with the athletic capacity (if not the temperament) to stop people.
13. Phoenix Suns — Draft Klay Thompson.
I think that the Suns are between a rock and a hard place here. Or more aptly put, they’re in a sparsely-populated desert with none of the prospects that could help them anywhere near. Phoenix wants to find an understudy to Nash and/or a finisher in the mold of Amare. That’s Jimmer, Derrick Williams, maybe Jan Vesely. None of them are left. Thompson is crafty, and a heck of a shooter…and I suppose there’s always room for that type of guy in Phoenix.
14. Houston Rockets — Draft Nikola Vuvevic.
I know there’s a strong Montejunas contingent out there, but Montejunas has neither the inclination or the size to play on the interior. Vuvevic, a late riser, has both. The sad truth of the matter for the Rockets is that they need to replace Yao Ming, and here they take the best prospect available to fill his hefty shoes.
1. As always, editor Rollin H.
2. As frequently, Nico Colaleo, who colored this picture expertly. (Check out his blog!)
3. The Center for American Athletic Progress, which is my blog of almost entirely picture! (Check that out as well!)