Grading the Cavs Draft

The Cavs got their franchise player and point guard to lead them to the promised land.  After that… I’m not so sure.  Allow me to explain.

Everyone knew the Cavs were going to take Kyrie Irving with the #1 overall pick.  Yes, there was some speculation about whether or not they would pass up Irving and take Arizona standout Derrick Williams, but deep down everyone knew Irving was the plan.  It’s a solid pick.  Irving was projected to be the best point guard and the best overall player in this years draft.  Many insiders believed though that Williams is just as sure of a thing as Irving.

Looking at Williams there’s not much not to love.  He’s a man beast who knows how to put the ball in the basket.  The more I was forced to watch his highlights last night the more I felt like maybe the Cavs made a mistake with the first pick.  It’s not that I don’t like Irving, I really do, but when you get down to it Williams has a much better resume on paper and on film than Irving.  Still, I like the Irving pick.  Byron Scott’s offense needs a point guard and if he turns into a poor man’s Chris Paul, well then that will be pretty amazing… Grade A

Complicating things a bit was the #4 pick.  Myself and many Cavs fans wanted Enis Kanter at #4 if the Cavs took Williams.  Utah decided to ruin that plan by Kanter third.  That’s when things got interesting.  Instead of trading for additional picks, or taking the Lithuanian project, Valanciunas, the Cavs took Tristan Thompson.  Yes, Thompson has a great deal of upside, but he;s so raw on the offensive end that it makes it difficult to be excited about him.  Listening to the experts talk about him and his still developing jumper, it seems like the Cavs drafted J.J. Hickson version 2.0.  Great.  What the hell happened to making some moves, acquiring talent, or using the trade exception?  Frustrating on all accounts… Grade B

With the 32nd pick, the Cavs selected Justin Harper out of Richmond.  I was excited about this pick.  Listening to the draft experts and seeing his highlight package led me to believe that the Cavs drafted a poor man’s Derrick Williams.  What’s not to like about that?  At the very least Harper has the makings of being a very solid option off of the bench.  Of course that bench will be in Orlando.  The Cavs traded his rights to the Magic for 2nd round picks in 2012 and 2013.  I don’t understand this move at all and neither do most Cavs fans.  The Cavs need players and an influx of talent.  Instead of adding a young power forward who can spread the floor, they traded him.  We might as well have not picked there… Grade C-

With their final pick, the Cavs took a player out of Serbia.  Again, the Cavs need talent and players.  With that in mind anytime you can draft a foreigner that the draft experts claim “probably will never come to America” you have to do it… right?  This pick is a massive failure considering that players like Ben Hansbrough and David Lighty were still available.  I would have taken either over some bum from Serbia…. Grade F

I have to be honest, I’m a little discouraged by the Cavs draft last night.  I still having lingering questions about Irving, Thompson is a project and a half, Harper is gone, and we have a bum from Serbia.  What’s not to be excited about?  I feel like last night was a real lost opportunity.  If the Cavs want to improve they need to find a way to utilize the $14 million trade exception they got from LeBron before it expires.  If they don’t we may be looking at another very frustrating NBA season.  Overall I give the Cavs 2011 draft a finishing grade of B.  Had they acquired more than two players and gave us more answers than leaving questions I might have graded it differently.


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