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NBA Draft – Cleveland Needs to be #1



Many forecast Kyrie Irving going #1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers

This Thursday marks the annual NBA Draft. Not as exciting as the NFL Draft but certainly more noticeable than the MLB or NHL Draft, this class of prospects leaves little to be desired.

Although the first round will no doubt be flooded with familiar names, international stars and proven collegiate prospects, many can argue it lacks any true “substance”.

But regardless of how deep this class truly is or which players are selected in each spot, the Draft is far more important to one team more than any other. The Cleveland Cavaliers.

Luck would fall upon the Cavs once again by landing the #1 overall pick in this years draft. They also hold another lottery pick (The 4th pick overall) to use in rebuilding a dismal team that was left in shambles when Lebron James departed.

While many experts and pundits believe the Cavaliers will be attempting to package their 4th overall pick in some kind of trade to land the #2 pick as well, the emphasis for this organization is getting the 1st Pick right.

Back in 2003 when Cleveland last had the first overall pick they made the easy choice and selected high school phenom Lebron James. But that pick required no thought process. Everyone knew whomever had the #1 pick was going to land James. Not much analysis was required.

Derrick Williams may turn out to be the Elite player in the 2011 NBA Draft

But fast forward to 2011 and it’s not as easy this time around. Cleveland has a tired, frustrated and heartbroken fan base that really needs to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Their team is utterly unimpressive and produced an embarrassing 19-63 record. It’s only a matter of time before the Cavs fall into the same abyss of desperation that teams such as the Timberwolves,  Raptors, Wizards and Kings have been for years (none longer than Sacramento).

But while the #1 pick projection seems to be Duke’s Kyrie Irving I am one of the few that believes that selecting Irving won’t propel your organization. Let’s face it, Irving’s resume only includes 11 collegiate games. That’s right 11. So as a rebuilding franchise in need of stability and promise you are going to put those expectations in someone who only has 11 games under his belt?

While it certainly can be argued that Irving is a terrific talent who may very well be an All-Star point guard and many can agree that the NBA is a Point Guard powered league we need to keep in mind that Cleveland has to make the right selection.

Dominant Big Men have become a rareity in the NBA which has forced many teams to look overseas for frontcourt talent

While it may be true that the hardest position to get right in the league is the Point Guard position one can argue the most important position in the NBA is a Big Man position (Power Forward/Center)

Take a look at the Top 15 scoring leaders last season:


Only 3 of the Top 15 were true Point Guards (Westbrook, Paul and Rose) while 4 were either Power Forwards or Centers (Including NBA Champion Dirk Nowitzki)

Having a truly Elite Big Man puts you ahead of the pack in the NBA. If you think about the big men in the League the list is short.

This is where Cleveland can make an impact. In a guard/small forward rich NBA having a big man creates matchup problems and a true edge.

The Cavaliers should be able to address their Point Guard needs with the #4 pick. Both Walker and Knight should still be available

Look at how Blake Griffin has performed thus far. Many can agree he will be one of the Best in the NBA in a matter of time. Tim Duncan has led the Spurs to multiple Championships. The Lakers only won when they solidified their front court with Gasol.

The correct pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers is Derrick Williams.

Although trading for the #2 pick with Minnesota is a definitive possibility and certainly worth exploring, you should be able to land Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker at #4 without having to trade anything. That gives you a point guard that can score and has a proven track record of experience.

Truth will be told this Thursday

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Indiana Pacers

Clippers’ Paul George Booed by Pacers Fans



Paul George

Los Angeles Clipper superstar Paul George wasn’t fazed by the relentless boos showered down on him during Monday’s game in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers, the team he spent several seasons with before requesting a trade in 2017, in fact, George teased a tell-all in which he will tell his side of the story that led to his trade request, hinting that he is set to take aim at many within the organization.

As far as the boos, George says the fans are booing the wrong people. George, who dropped 36 points in the victory, was booed every time he touched the ball, and was subjected to chants of “Paul George s—!” during the game, was playing back in Indiana for the third time since the trade.

“I’m not surprised,” George said, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “That’s Indiana for you. It’s a Hoosier thing.”

“You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana,” George said. “And I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”

“… I’m not gonna share the teaser,” George continued. “… I like being the villain. I’m here two nights out of the year. The people they should boo is here a lot longer than I am.”

George was pressed by the media to divulge details, specifically about general manager Kevin Pritchard who said George’s trade request was like a punch to the gut.

“You’re getting close to trying to get this story out, aren’t you?” George asked. “… I’m not going to bad-mouth KP. That’s just Kevin’s side of the story.”

George has excelled in every game back in Indiana since the trade, and Monday’s game marked the third straight time he scored 31 points or more against his former team. However, judging from George’s post-game comments, he may be saving his best performance yet against the Pacers organization.

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Houston Rockets

Carmelo Anthony Warned Chris Paul About Houston Rockets



Carmelo Anthony

Portland Trail Blazers’ forward Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul have both spent time with the Houston Rockets, and both had unceremonious exits from the organization.

But upon his exit from the Rockets after only 10 games, Anthony says that his experience prompted him to warn his close friend Paul to “be careful” with the Rockets organization, who ended up trading Paul a few days after general manager Daryl Morrey told Paul they weren’t going to trade him.

Anthony wasn’t shocked at how things played out for Paul in Houston.

“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Anthony said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “When my situation happened in Houston, he was the first person that I called to come to my room. And we had to clear some things up, and I wanted to know if he had anything to do with it. And that was the first thing that I wanted to know, and he told me, ‘No.’ And from that point on, I told him, looked him in his eyes and said, ‘Look, just be careful.’ You know what I mean? Just be careful. And damn sure if [the same situation] didn’t happen to him.”

Paul was dealt to the Thunder over the summer in package that brought point guard Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.

“I was shocked,” Paul said, according to The Undefeated. “Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade, and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”

“I haven’t talked to nobody in their organization, no,” Anthony said. “I’m not angry. I’m not bitter at it. It happens. I wish I had an explanation when it happened, but I’m past it.”

Anthony also discussed a potential vibe around the league that the Rockets may not forthcoming, with the situations involving he and Paul as examples as to why some may be weary with the Rockets organization.

“Well, nobody has an answer, right?” Anthony said. “My situation and Chris’ situation is totally different, but nobody has an answer. Like, nobody really has an answer for my situation. Still. The only people that know is me. Me and them. That’s it. And I don’t even think they know. It’s just something that was already established before I even got there. It was on a trial-run basis. You look back at it, and 10 games is an evaluation. So that’s the business, right? You see New York have a press conference eight games in, 10 games. So that’s the new analytics. That’s the new game. Everything’s based off of your first 10 games. And once you know that, it gives you clarity on a lot of things.”

Anthony says that he did speak to Paul following Paul’s trade to the Thunder.

“No, he didn’t say I was right,” Anthony said. “He was in Vegas when all of that happened, so we was talking. And when I talked to him, he was like, ‘Man, look, I understand it. It’s messed up, but I understand it.’ And for me, I’m like, ‘Yo, it took me months to kind of, like, get past that.’ My pride was hit. My ego was hit. I had to really get past that. To a point where it was like, ‘Man, Chris, is you good?’ I wanted to make sure he was good. So he told me he was good, and that was that.”

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Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers’ LeBron James Praises Luke Walton



Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar forward LeBron James is praising former Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton, who is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, when the Kings came in to play the Lakers on Friday.

James says that with all the devastating injuries and the non-stop distractions of the constant trade rumors, Walton “did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances”, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

Walton was the head coach during James’ first season with the Lakers in 2018-2019 and led the team to a 37-45 record, missing the playoffs.

“Throughout everything that was going on, we were two of the guys that just tried to remain positive and patient, even with the circumstances that we had,” James said during shootaround on Friday.

James reflected on the challenges of last season, pointing to key injuries as contributing factors to the disappointing season.

“I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on Dec. 25, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game,” James said. “And then the injury happened and I’m out 6½ weeks.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances.”

“Um, I agree with LeBron,” Walton said. “[There’s] a longer answer and I’ve spent time reflecting on last season, but for now, couple of hours before a game, it is more focused on tonight’s task and our game planning and rotations and things like that.”

Walton is now at the helm in Sacramento, but he talked about how special it is to return to Los Angeles, even on the opposing side.

“It’s always a special place for me to come into this building,” Walton said. “I have a lot of great memories in L.A. It’s a great opportunity playing here and coaching here.”

“LeBron, he’s one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest,” Walton said. “So I’m sure last year getting hurt, not making the playoffs, I mean, he’s going right now. And this team kind of follows that lead. They’re playing incredibly well. Their defense and offense starts with him. He looks really good.”


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