The 2012 NBA Draft has come and gone and the Cavaliers have… well I’m not exactly 100% sure what the Cavaliers have or what they’ve done. Wow. Where do I even begin with this one? I guess I might as well just take this one step at a time so you can all appreciate the emotional roller coaster I went for a ride on last night.
Heading into the draft I was confident that the Cavs were going to find a way to get one of three players: Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, or Harrison Barnes. After Anthony Davis they were regarded as the 3 best prospects and the premier wing players in the draft. Thomas Robinson was also a possibility, but given the selection of Tristan Thompson and the Bobcats “supposed” infatuation with him I had ruled him out. With two question mark teams ahead of us and three targeted players it was all but inevitable the Cavaliers would select one of them.
With the first pick, the Hornets selected Anthony Davis amid a chorus of boos directed at Darth Vader, or as his friends like to call him, David Stern. So far go good. The Brow takes his photos, does his interviews and the Bobcats go on the clock.
Now, there had been talk all week about how the Cavs were going to trade up to #2 and take Bradley Beal. I have to admit I was never a fan of this strategy. The Cavs have too many holes and giving away their entire draft, and possibly Varejao, for one guy seemed stupid to me. As the clock ticked down from 5 minutes to 5 seconds it became clear the Cavs weren’t moving up to #2 either because they didn’t want to mortgage away their future or because the Bobcats didn’t want to risk pissing off the Wizards and missing out on Robinson… or a combination of the two.
With the second pick in the NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select… Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from the university of Kentucky…
My actual response to that selection…
Not only was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist the player I wanted at #4, but I had also convinced myself that that’s who the Cavs were going to take. Given everything we had heard it seemed like a no brainer that the Bobcats would take Robinson. Only they didn’t. Michael Jordan did it to us again. What, he wasn’t thoroughly satisfied with how he ripped out our hearts with the shot? Was this his attempt at the final kill shot? Did the voice from Mortal Kombat call him on his cell phone on the 13th green at pebble beach and say, “FINISH HIM!”
And just like that I had a bad feeling. Washington coveted Bradley Beal so there was no way he was slipping to us at #4. You know how I know this? Because the Wizards had threatened the Bobcats that they would either take Robinson at #3 if they traded the #2 pick to a team that wanted Beal or would trade the #3 pick to a team that wanted Robinson no matter what the costs. The Wizards, a team desperately in need on a particular player, in this case Beal, was willing to completely eff over Charlotte if they got in the way. All that was missing was a lake, a row-boat, and an invitation to a mystery fishing trip.
Anyways… Washington took Beal at #3 and thus began the most agonizing five minutes of my life in recent memory. These are the things I was tweeting and saying, again… all in a five-minute time period.
“Barnes has to be the pick here. If it’s not Barnes I’m going to scream.”
“If David Stern doesn’t say the Cleveland Cavaliers select Harrison Barnes, I’m going to snap.”
“All of the sudden I’m terrified we’re taking Andre Drummond.”
“Please God, don’t let it be Drummond.”
“I have a bad feeling about this”
“The Cavs are about to eff this up. The pick has to be Barnes, but they’re taking too long. That’s not good.”
“They’re taking too much time to think this one over which means they aren’t making the obvious pick. This isn’t going to be Barnes. It’s going to be Drummond, Robinson, or a trade.”
And that’s when David Stern made his grand appearance and proceeded to finish off the job that Michael Jordan started about 10 minutes earlier.
“With the fourth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select… Dion Waiters out of the Syracuse.”
WHAT!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?! THEY WERE SERIOUS ABOUT TAKING WAITERS?!?!?! AND THEY DIDN’T TRADE DOWN TO DO IT!?!?!
I didn’t even bother with the analysis and interview. I went for a walk with the Yankee Loving Fiancée and stewed about what had just happened the entire time. Why did they decide to take Waiters? Why didn’t they take Barnes? What was it about Barnes they didn’t like and what was it they liked about Waiters? Why on Earth do I care so much? Why do I continue to do this to myself?
Luckily I got back to the apartment just in time to watch Chris Grant’s next NBA Draft magic trick. Yes, Chris Grant turned the #24, #33, and #34 picks into… Tyler Zeller, the tall 7 ft center from North Carolina. Words can not begin to express the level of hatred I have for this move. NBA and NCAA analysts can sing me his praises all they want, but can someone please explain to me how they expect him to be able to guard Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum, what about Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler, and lord knows who else? I don’t see it. I see three picks wasted on a guy simply because he’s tall.
There was chatter all around the internet that the Cavs were looking for a way to get back into the bottom of round 1 or the beginning of round 2. It never happened. Instead, the Cavs sat back and watched as the plethora of talented players who could have played a pivotal role in the Cavs future plans get snatched up by other teams, most notably Jared Sullinger at 21 and Perry Jones III at #28.
So, what do I think the Cavs got with the selections of Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller? I can sum it up pretty easily…
Dajauan Wagner and Chris Mihm… and I’m being serious.
They selected a player in Waiters who at his best is probably nothing more than a quality 6th man on a title contender or the leading scorer on a crappy team. He’s Dajaun Wagner minus the intestinal issues. As for Zeller, he’s tall but he’s not a freak athlete, he’s super skinny, and he owns one semi-quality move in the low post (a reliable jump hook). I think he’ll probably be better than Chris Mihm, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he flops.
In a perfect world, Waiters and Zeller will work out well for the Cavs. They’ll be key contributors in the rebuilding project and as the Cavs get back to being a contender, they’ll be a big reason why. If not, well then Chris Grant can begin packing his bags and looking for a new job because these two picks are either going to make or break his career as an NBA GM.
With that said here’s my final thought. If Chris Grant was going to gamble his future as a GM and the future of the Cavs with this draft, then why not make the bold move and select Andre Drummond at #4? If Drummond ends up being what many think he can be, he’ll be better than Zeller and Waiters combined. At least with Drummond you could understand the pick by simply looking at his size and athletic ability. With these two… I just don’t see it, and I just don’t get it.