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5 Prospects Cleveland Should Take In NBA Draft

Leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft – in the last week now — we are going to preview each team in the lottery for their needs. Taking a look at the team’s individual strengths, weaknesses, roster, and what prospects would fit in with the current and future plans.

Welcome back! It has been far too long since the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the position to draft with the…Oh, never mind they were here in 2003, 2011, and last year. They have a monopoly on the spot, it seems, and yet another opportunity to go behind Door Number One and change the fortunes of the franchise.


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Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.

ONE: 2014-2015 Potential Roster Review
The rentals in C.J. Miles, Luol Deng, and Spencer Hawes are all gone. The team has decisions to make on team options for Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson, and Anderson Varejao as well thinning out the roster a ton if they are all gone next year. The team is built around star point guard Kyrie Irving with Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, and Sergey Karasev all on board for handful of years as well. It is a young, athletic roster that has a lot of potential on paper, but only accounted for 33 wins last year despite desperation moves for plug-in veterans like Deng, Hawes, Miles, and Jack.

With new head coach David Blatt locked up for the next four years and David Griffin at the helm running the team as general manager, the Cavaliers have the look of a team ready to improve. They have a first year head coach (despite years of experience in Europe) and a first year general manager that will bring a fresh look to the team next season.

TWO: Biggest Strengths
If the team resigns to rebuild around the young core they have a star in Irving and a little over 20 million in cap space. With that, the roster will be at seven total players not counting the rookies and only one “veteran” of more than five years in the league with Jack. That gives the team money to spend, flexibility, and doing so with the one thing most rebuilding teams do not have: a star player already. Thompson and Waiters both have value as trade assets around the league despite not being a great fit in Cleveland with Irving as second and third options respectively. The trade assets are in place, the money is there, and with the No. 1 pick they could hit the reset button hard with one star and another future star on the roster and a plethora of young role players around them.

THREE: Biggest Weaknesses
This was not a very good defensive team based on the individual parts and on the offensive end there was little flow with the way things were organized. There was a lot of isolation offense and standing and watching. It was the Mike Brown LeBron James offense without having a LeBron James on the roster. A lot of pressure was put on Irving to score late in shot clocks and the team was consistently giving up 100-plus points a night, so the offense had to on point to compete in games. This was an average team that scrambled to get better overnight and it resulted in 33 wins, no playoffs, and another top pick in the NBA Draft. This team needs more creativity on the offensive end and individuals who can play defense to help develop a scheme that masks the other poor defenders on the roster.

FOUR: Odds In The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery
Only two teams “won” the lottery with the Charlotte Hornets moving into the lottery. MJ’s squad has to send a thank you card to Cleveland because when they moved up, Charlotte moved in. The Cavaliers had a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery with only 17 combinations to work with, one of which won the lottery. It was the lowest percentage to win since the Chicago Bulls in 2008 (Derrick Rose) and the Orlando Magic in 1993 (Chris Webber).

FIVE: Recent History of the No. 1 Pick
There have only been three true misses in the last nine years for teams selecting No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. There was Andrea Bargnani in 2006, Greg Oden in 2007, and then last year, for the Cavaliers, Anthony Bennett. While it is too early to tell if Bennett is a bust, it is quite clear he is not in the conversation as one of the best players in that draft today — or in the foreseeable future. This is where you get an Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, or even an Andrew Bogut. Players with the ability to be a franchise-changing prospect. The key is to not try and be the smartest guy in the room and take the best prospect regardless of situation.

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Five Prospects Who Make Sense For The Cleveland Cavaliers At No. 1 Overall

1. Andrew Wiggins: 6-8, 200 pounds – G/F, Kansas
Stats: (In 32.8 MPG) 17.1 PPG 5.9 RPG 34.1 percent 3PT

This has been the pick that makes the most sense since Cleveland won the lottery. A perimeter player with a defensive focus, elite athleticism who can score off the ball. Wiggins is a low maintenance on the offensive end so he can mesh with Irving as a slasher, offensive-rebounding scorer and transition weapon. He clears up some of the perimeter defensive woes and could be the Kawhi Leonard of this team in a few years making plays in every facet of the game.

2. Joel Embiid: 7-0, 250 pounds – C, Kansas
Stats: (In 23.1 MPG) 11.2 PPG 8.1 RPG 2.6 BPG 62.6 percent FG

Yes, Embiid has two injuries in less than a year and could not make it through his first college season or the NBA draft workout sessions without getting hurt — again. On the other hand, he fortifies the paint on both ends, makes the poor defenders already on the roster a touch better because of his presence, and showed that he will only get better over time. The injuries are scary and this team cannot miss again with a high pick, but Embiid has so much skill it might be worth taking that risk.

3. Jabari Parker: 6-8, 235 pounds – F, Duke
Stats: (In 30.7 MPG) 19.1 PPG 8.7 RPG 35.8 percent 3PT

Other than Parker being a physical clone of Anthony Bennett, despite having a completely different game, this pick is bad for two reasons. One: You just drafted Bennett No. 1 and this renders him useless and implies that the team has given up on him already. Two: How much worse of a defensive team do you want to be, Cleveland? There are no style points for losing 125-110 in the NBA. Parker can score, but he adds to the culture of poor defensive intangibles already established.

4. Noah Vonleh: 6-9.75, 247 pounds – PF Indiana
Stats: (In 26.5 MPG) 11.3 PPG 9.0 RPG 52.3 percent FG

Unless they trade down this is not an option whatsoever.

5. Julius Randle: 6-9, 250 pounds – PF, Kentucky
Stats: (In 30.8 MPG) 15.0 PPG 10.4 RPG 50.1 percent FG

Unless they trade down this is not an option whatsoever.

There is a way to mess this up. The Cavaliers have the formula to screw this up from the recent years with Chris Grant running the ship and leaving with little to show for having two No. 1 picks and two No. 4 picks in four years. How is that possible? Take the best available prospect, build with him or around him, and call it a day. Do not over-think things David Griffin.

What do you think?

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