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NBA Draft – Cleveland Needs to be #1



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.

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.

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:

1 17 42.5 28.6
2 21 39.3 27.7
3 16 40.6 27.1
4 6 42.9 27.0
5 4 38.9 26.0
6 21 39.4 24.5
7 17 37.5 23.8
8 21 43.9 23.7
9 10 35.4 22.8
10 13 39.6 22.2
11 6 41.7 22.0
12 5 36.7 21.6
13 6 43.0 20.8
14 9 38.2 20.8
15 5 34.9 20.6

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

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