Thursday, June 7, 2012

How Can I Help You? Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving is looking for help, and I'm here to find it for him.
As I type this, the Miami Heat are one game away from being prematurely eliminated from this year's NBA playoffs without a championship. Lack of depth has killed the Heat, and the team looks different now. I thought that they were a team who would be the favorite to win the title for the next five years. Now, it remains to be seen if they can even win one.

Enter the Cleveland Cavaliers; LeBron James' former team and one that guaranteed it would win a ring before LeBron. While it was assclown owner Dan Gilbert who made that promise, it certainly would be refreshing to see this karma to come to fruition. That being said, with four picks in the top 35 of this draft, their quest begins here. A not so talented team showed flashes of postseason contender when Kyrie Irving was healthy, and now they look to push their rebuilding plans ahead of schedule.

Cleveland has a bunch of free agents after this season. Donald Sloan and Manny Harris, two guards that backed up Irving, will probably not be brought back. It's also time for the team to part ways with Anthony Parker. Semih Erden and Luke Harangody are two other players that won't return due to lack of production. That leaves Antawn Jamison and Alonzo Gee as the two free agents that the Cavs may resign. My guess is they let Jamison go because he is getting old and already takes up a lot of money out of their budget. But with Gee, I say bring the kid back. He showed some flashes this past year and he has the potential to be a solid player in this league. He needs to work on his shooting, but he is a surprisingly good rebounder for his size and can start at small forward. Now let's see who is still left on Cleveland.

Irving, last year's #1 pick, is the starting PG and will occupy that spot for a long time. He had an amazing rookie season and looks like he will quickly become one of the best point guards in the NBA. His premier scoring and passing abilities are what make him not only dominant at his position, but also a guy that can win games for a team. The Cavs really have no one at shooting guard, as Daniel Gibson may be the only one left on the roster after free agency. He's a 6' 2" sharpshooter who doesn't do enough scoring to play the 2. Cleveland will want to address that position and try to pair a scorer next to Irving.

At small forward, if Gee returns, he will be the guy. If not, all that's left is Omri Casspi and Luke Walton. Casspi is no more than a backup and Walton is a scrub. Even with Gee, the Cavaliers may want to look for a small forward in case he doesn't pan out, and if they lose him to free agency, then that's definitely a top need for them. With Jamison gone, the only real power forward remaining would be Tristan Thompson. While Thompson wasn't fantastic in his rookie year, his play showed that he has potential, and the Cavs want him to be their future 4. That being said, Cleveland won't be in the market for a PF until possibly one of the later picks to add depth.

The center position was held down by Anderson Varejao last season until he got hurt. When healthy, Varejao averaged a double double and had a breakout year, showing he can play center in the NBA. His rebounding, defense, energy, and leadership are all key traits that make him crucial for a young team like the Cavs. He will be their starting C for the foreseeable future.

It appears that shooting guard is the top need for Cleveland, while small forward is also a need, especially if Gee is not resigned. Some size down low for depth is another issue as Thompson (6'9") and Varejao (6'11") are slightly undersized. And, of course, drafting a backup point guard late is not out of the question. But for now, let's try to fill the holes of the Cavaliers.

Cleveland selects 4th, 24th, 33rd, and 34th in the draft. Let's dive into the prospects.

Brad Beal can pair with Irving to make a supreme scoring duo.
At #4, the Cavs want a top prospect who is a wing scorer and could be something special one day. There are three players who would fit that mold: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Brad Beal, and Harrison Barnes. Barnes has the potential to be a superstar, but he is still very raw. Kidd-Gilchrist is a huge talent, especially on the defensive end, but Cleveland may be looking more for an offensive player. Enter Brad Beal, the former Gator who has a beautiful jump shot that some compare to Ray Allen. Beal plays big for his size and is a scrappy rebounder. All in all, he has the talents to be a dynamic scorer in the NBA, and one that the Cavs won't want to pass up. Taking Cleveland's wants and needs into mind, and also realizing that there is a good chance Kidd-Gilchrist won't make it to this pick, I believe that Beal is the choice here.

If you read my mock draft, you may already know who this pick should be. With the Cavaliers now looking for a small forward, Jefferey Taylor from Vanderbilt is my personal favorite. Taylor has versatility and runs the floor so well. He can create for himself on offense but can also lock down on defense. Other, more attractive options could be Moe Harkless, Terrence Jones, and Royce White, but there's a good chance that all of those players are already taken by then. Even if they're not, White is probably the only one I would take ahead of Taylor. I know I gave him to the Bobcats in one of my previous posts, but the reality is that Taylor will not be around by round 2.

As for picks #33 and #34, the Cavs can go in a lot of different directions.

Kevin Murphy can score with the best of them.
If they're looking for a point guard to spell Irving, Tony Wroten from Washington may be the pick. Wroten's upside is through the roof and playing behind Irving could make him even better. If he's still on the board at the time, he could add his skills of attacking the basket and spectacular court vision to this team.

If they decide to add a backup for Beal at the 2, Will Barton and Khris Middleton are both appealing, but Kevin Murphy from Tennessee Tech seems like a better fit. Murphy is a top notch shooter and has the ability to create his own shot. His step back jumper allows him to create space, but his length for a SG (6'7") will enable him to shoot over smaller guards.

Amusing the situation that Gee stays with Cleveland, him and Taylor would be the small forwards for the team. Enter Draymond Green, a SF prospect from Michigan St. that the Cavs may decide they can't pass up on. Green has great shooting, rebounding, and passing, but scouts are concerned that his lack of size and athleticism won't make him successful in the NBA. His intangibles as a leader and a glue guy may make Cleveland forget about all that and select him anyways.

Big man depth is a must for this team which leaves two prospects in mind, one from Europe and one from America. Furkan Aldemir from Turkey can play both PF and C and has a very good understanding for the game. Henry Sims, the senior from Georgetown, developed greatly in his final year in college and has exceptional passing skills for a big man. Both would be a big help for Cleveland's frontcourt.

We may need to get used to that smug look on Dan Gilbert's face.
In conclusion, I belive the Cavaliers should draft Brad Beal, Jefferey Taylor, Kevin Murphy, and Furkan Aldemir with their four picks. These players would give them a starting lineup of Irving, Beal, Gee, Thompson, and Varejao, with Taylor, Casspi, Murphy and Aldemir coming off the bench. While that may not be a playoff team right away, it could be in a couple of years with all the young talent they have.

Next, I'll go over the Sacramento Kings and dissect the controversial big man that is Andre Drummond.

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