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2011 NBA Offseason: Cleveland Cavaliers

Draft Grades, Offseason Needs, Free Agents

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Cleveland Cavaliers (Last Year: 19-63)

2011 NBA Draft Team Grade:

Kyrie Irving was obviously the no-brainer at No. 1, but after that, the Cavs' draft confused me. I think Tristan Thompson is a reach at No. 4 and will never be a great NBA power forward. Then getting nothing of immediate help out of their two second-round picks for a team that is clearly in need of more talent, especially on the wing, seems like a waste. (Team Grade: Don't Get It)

Live 2011 NBA Draft Grades:

1. Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Irving is the best player in this draft so the Cavs made the right decision in taking him first overall despite already having Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions at the point. More importantly, Irving provides Cleveland with a new face of the franchise that will lead the post-LeBron re-building project. (Pick Grade: Makes sense)

4. Tristan Thompson, F, Texas
WOW! I am not that high on Thompson and think he is more of a late lottery prospect. He can rebound and is athletic but not a scorer from outside of eight feet. I guess Jonas Valanciunas´┐Ż contract situation scared them off. Plus, doesn't Cleveland already have Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson at power forward? (Pick Grade: HUH?)

32. Justin Harper, F, Richmond (TRADED TO ORLANDO)
This pick makes more sense since the Cavs dealt Harper to Orlando for two future second round picks. However, I can't help but think that there were some wing players available who could have possibly helped the Cavs' re-building project. (Pick Grade: Meh)

54. Milan Macvan, F, Serbia
Macvan is a tank but has a decent mid-range game. He probably won't come to the NBA soon, but might pay off down the line. I still thought there are better players on the board who could have helped out the Cavs this season on the wing (Moore, Lighty, Hopson.) (Pick Grade: Meh)

*** 2011 NBA Offseason Needs and Free Agents listed below this comment box. ***

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cf 04-01-2014 03:07 am (total posts: 1)
1     1

Andrei the Russian and McDermott. 2 players make a huge difference fast.
Jessica 01-02-2014 05:25 am (total posts: 1)
2     2

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Pelicans fan 06-17-2013 11:18 pm (total posts: 1)
6     10

Lhady I laughed at your comment.mocking the dead BCS!!!!!!!Ad icona pop would say "I love it."
Tank Machine 05-25-2013 08:16 pm (total posts: 1)
34     234

The Cavs are the kings of tanking.
RealCavsFan 04-20-2013 07:55 pm (total posts: 1)
7     306

its DONALD MOTHAFAULKING SOAN. and Alanzo Gee is a forward And the jumping jew sucks.
Jeff 02-05-2013 11:59 pm (total posts: 1)
32     9

You have to be kidding me with Zeller's grade.He fills the big man role with Andy always injured.ot to mention he contributes no matter what so I would give him a solid B or not so solid A
Nick 08-11-2012 10:17 pm (total posts: 1)
43     36

Kyrie Irving=Chris Paul
Tristan Thompson=Serge Ibaka

Obviously this is more than 1 year later but i beleive that the Cavs walked away with the most from the 2011 Draft. Thompson put up nearly the same numbers Derrick Williams did and Irving was a straight up stud. I thought the same thing after we drafted Thompson but in the end, as a Cavs fan I'm happy with the choice. Plus with Waiters and Zeller, as well as 7 first round picks in the next 3 years the future looks GREAT in Cleveland!
Lhady 07-25-2012 12:55 am (total posts: 1)
15     14

i think it's the fairest way there is. it doesn't maettr how bad you suck. you don't throw games. period. it gives the highest chances to the worst teams, without making it a definite so teams are less likely to race for the bottom. the only better (haha in theory NOT practice) way would be to get a committee together and have them sit around and rank all the teams.. heh.. and for a kicks you could throw some computer rankings in there
Mark Hicks 07-01-2012 11:45 pm (total posts: 1)
168     154

While I agree with you with your love for Dion Waiters, I do not totally agree with your assessment of Tyler Zeller. Personally, I would have kept one of those 2nd round picks to take Quincy Miller but otherwise to get a solid athletic center who can run the floor with Irving, Waiters, and Thompson makes the Cavs exciting to watch. I think for them to trade 3 players (who could be D-League players) for a starting center who could possibly be in the league for 10 years was well worth it.
Josh N 06-30-2012 01:44 am (total posts: 1)
13     13

Everyone keeps ripping the Cavs picks, the fact is that I like both and I will decide if they were good when the season rolls back around
Some Guy 06-29-2012 05:31 pm (total posts: 1)
38     14

Guys Walt doesn't write this... Just look at the top of the page.

Also if given the choice between Thompson, Varejao, and Zeller or Thompson, Varejao, and Erden it is very clear which one everyone would take. I feel more confident with Zeller getting minutes that belonged to Erden, Hollins, Samuels etc. I would go at least a c+ on that pick.
Austin 06-29-2012 03:09 pm (total posts: 1)
13     14

Do you hate all white guys drafted in the 1st round? You gonna kill the team that takes Cody Zeller next yr?
Sports 06-29-2012 12:49 pm (total posts: 1)
35     12

I love Waiters at 4. He won't have the ball in his hands to much because of Irving. Waiters has a terrific upside to him and the chance he is a stud is way greater than a bust and that's what the NBA draft is. Zellar trade deserves a C in my mind and it's not because we took Zellar, I like the pick. Zellar a 7'0 footer that is smart, rebounds, not awful defense and can score at times(perfect for this Cavs team). But the problem here is what we gave up, we need something on the small forward position that can defend. Taylor from Vandy would of been wonderful. Love the pics but still need to beef up our wings.
Chaz 06-29-2012 10:47 am (total posts: 1)
50     13

You may not like the Zeller pick, but we got a big man that can run the floor, rebound, score and is a solid basketball player. The Cavs did not want to pick 4 players in the draft because they didn't want that many rookies. They did what many experts said they would do and that is trade picks to move up: done.

Put these two players with Irving and we have a nice young solid base. I give it an A all around.
Not a Cavs fan 06-29-2012 08:40 am (total posts: 1)
59     16

You are way off on the Zeller grade. That is a solid B. He contributes immediately and fills a void in the middle for the Cavs.

Not a bad trade at all.

2010-11 Season Summary:
From beasts of the East to laughing stock of the league, this season the Cavs hit rock bottom harder than Charlie Sheen after a 48-hour bender with two Playboy bunnies and a porn star.

Cleveland suffered through a NBA all-time worst 26-game losing streak that was actually met with confetti falling from the rafters at Gund Arena like the team had just won the NBA title. Add in LeBron's Decision and Dan Gilbert's open letter to the fans, and it has been an interesting past year for the Cavs' franchise.

Cleveland already faced the daunting challenge of playing without LeBron this past season. It certainly did not help that cause that veteran starters Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison struggled with injuries while starting center Anderson Varejao missed the final 51 games of the season due to a torn tendon in his ankle.

The injuries thrust guys like Christian Eyenga, Manny Harris, Alonzo Gee and Samardo Samuels into significant roles. Those players were lucky to even be on a NBA roster let alone see quality minutes. So it is no surprise that the Cavs finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference when they were trotting that type of talent onto the court on a nightly basis.

Sensing the need to build for the future, the Cavs pulled the trigger on a pretty big deal prior to the trade deadline, sending Williams and Jamario Moon to the Clippers for Baron Davis and a 2011 first-round pick. It was a very risky move for Cleveland to make considering Davis has two years worth $28.8 million left on his contract and started the season riding the pine in L.A. since he was out of shape. Still, the Cavs felt adding a lottery pick was worth the roll of the dice and Davis actually played pretty well in the 15 games he suited up for Cleveland.

Outside of that, there was not much for the franchise to get excited about except for the continued development of power forward J.J. Hickson. The third-year player showed flashes of his ability especially after the All-Star break when he averaged 16.8 points and 10.4 boards per game despite having to play a good portion of his minutes out of position at the center spot.

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Anderson Varejao/Ryan Hollins/Semih Erden

PF: Antawn Jamison/Tristan Thompson/Samardo Samuels/Luke Harangody

SF: Omri Casspi/Christian Eyenga/Joey Graham

SG: Alonzo Gee/Daniel Gibson/Manny Harris

PG: Kyrie Irving/Baron Davis/Ramon Sessions

NBA Free Agents:

SG-Anthony Parker (UFA)

Offseason Transactions:

Cavs acquire SF Omri Casspi and future first round pick from Kings for PF J.J. Hickson

Cavs trade PF Justin Harper to Magic for two future second round picks

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $54.6 million

NBA Offseason Needs:

1. A face of the franchise: It took the Bulls a decade to replace Michael Jordan in finding a new face of the franchise, and the Cavs are dealing with that same challenge. Even though it is one of the weakest draft classes in quite some time, Cleveland needs to hit a home run with at least one of their lottery picks. None of the prospects will be an immediate savior for the team, but if the Cavs make the most of their two selections, they should be able to add two players who can be important building blocks for the future.

2. Wing Help: When Alonzo Gee, Christian Eyenga, Manny Harris, Jamario Moon and Joey Graham combine to start 83 games for your team, there is no wonder you finished with the second-worst record in the league. Add in the fact that Anthony Parker is a free agent, and the Cavs need to find a serious upgrade on the wing.

3. Don't Forget About that Trade Exception: The Cavs have until July 11 to use the $14.5 million trade exception acquired from the LeBron trade. The exception can be used in addition with a player currently on the roster or individually for another player which gives Cleveland trade flexibility considering they're over the salary cap and do not have a lot of trade chips currently on their roster. If they can find a team looking to dump a player's salary and pretty much get him for nothing in return, it is a strategy the Cavs should definitely pursue as long as it does not further kill their salary cap situation. If not, Cleveland's best plan of attack might be to sit on the exception rather than roll the dice on a deal that could set the team's re-building project back even more.

4. True Center: Anderson Vaejao and J.J. Hickson are both better suited playing the four which means Ryan Hollins (who has a player option on the final year of his contract) and Semih Erden are the only true centers on the roster. Cleveland does not have much flexibility in free agency, but should look to land an affordable big man who can be a defensive presence in the paint since the team was second to last in the NBA in blocked shots this past season.

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