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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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Oh Boy 06-29-2012 02:57 am (total posts: 1)
20     15

waiters is a good player, but i don't see how he's worth a #4 pick. he's going to end up being a 6th man (rather thana starter) because he turns the ball over too much and he's not enough wade and too much like monta ellis.

Walt, you fell in love with kemba walker last year and he is not going to be a star in the league. he wasn't worth the high pick and neither is waiters.
MarkieB89 06-29-2012 12:26 am (total posts: 1)
17     17

I dont get it... I just dont. Nothing on Waiters, and the way he plays. I have watched him play and think he will be a tremendous player, and we do need a slasher, but as many decent to above average jump shooting 2-guards there is in FA this year, I have NO idea why the Cavs didn't trade up for Kidd Gilchrist and sign a guard this year...
Bill Smith 06-29-2012 12:18 am (total posts: 1)
24     23

Thanks so much. Great stuff as always.
Charles 06-28-2012 11:08 pm (total posts: 1)
34     24

Like Walt I absolutely love the Waiters pick a few people compare him to Wade, but physically and playing style wise their identical. Wade is 6'4 and 220 lbs. according to NBA.Com while Waiters is 6'4 and 221 according to DraftExpress. So they are the exact same height and basically the same weight and they both have a slashing style of play. So I don't know why so many people are complaining a back court with Wade(Waiters) and Irving sounds like a dangerous combo. This is probably irrelevant but Waiters and Wade are both #3 as well.
Carter 06-28-2012 09:28 pm (total posts: 2)
211     10

Walt I think Zeller is a 100% A+ pick. Who can you get at 33 and 34 that's actually good? Plus, Zeller is a helluva player at 24 cause thats technically where we drafted him
Aidan 06-28-2012 08:44 pm (total posts: 2)
17     11

Hey Walter, if you see this comment can you please let me know what radio show you're on because I'm from the Cleveland area and I'm curious.
Sam Hore 06-27-2012 11:54 am (total posts: 1)
10     21

The CAVS should get the 2nd best player in the draft in my eyes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They should also draft Barton, Kevin Murphy, and Jared Sullinger(whose stock is plummeting). The CAVS should also gets Ersan Illyasova,Greg Oden, and O.J. Mayo. They should trade for Chris Duhon/Jason Richardson. Resign Gee and Sloan..That would fill the roster and possibly put us in the outside of the playoffs and once you are there anything can happen with Kyrie on your team with other guys with him also. 06-14-2012 03:45 am (total posts: 2)
11     10

i would love anyone to draft talk with me any team i am not bias just looking for more insight on any team soo please contact me im not trying to nag anyone just looking for opinions on players/teams/drafts 06-11-2012 03:34 am (total posts: 2)
43     17

honestly the cavs should deff draft brad beal he shoots and has an nba body made for driving... that would take care of the 4 spot if they cannot go with beal make a trade with Portland to give up 6 & 11 for 4 and 24 so that they could pick up Barnes at 6 and possibly get lamb at 11 that would give the cavs 3 good scorers on offense with kyrie...lamb..and barnes with the 33 and 34 picks they should trade to get the 1st spot in the second round and get tyshawn taylor. that would give the cavs a young and talented back court also in the free agency they should go for OJ mayo and Javale Mcgee
PG: Kyrie Irving & Tyshawn Taylor
SG: Jeremy Lamb & Oj mayo
SF:Alonzo Gee & Omar Casspi
PF:tristian Thompson & Antwan Jamason
C: Javale & anderson Varjao
i think personally with the miss spellings lol that is a playoff team the guards are deep the big men are deep and they still only need help on the wing but still have someone solid with gee at the wing.
@gchase 05-09-2012 04:29 pm (total posts: 1)
22     17

You pose a tough question, but I would guess our big board for the first pick looks like this:

1. Anthony Davis
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
3. Bradley Beal
4. Andre Drummond
5. Harrison Barnes
6. Thomas Robinson

Thomas Robinson falls to 6 solely because he doesn't necessarily fill a need for us. I believe the hardest decision for Chris Grant and the rest of management will be between Beal and Kidd-Gilchrist. I gave the edge to Kidd-Gilchrist because Byron Scott loves hard nosed defenders and he played on Kyrie's high school team.

As a disclaimer I would like to state that I love the direction the Cav's are headed and I trust them to do their homework in order to make our draft picks count. This is due to Great management, a good coach, and an owner that will do anything to win(including being patient and being willing to spend money).
gchase 05-09-2012 03:05 pm (total posts: 1)
27     24

if your the Cavs how does your big board look between: MKG,Robinson, Drummond, Beal, and Barnes?? I would probably have MKG first.

And yes lots of great depth in late first early second. Should have a good young Nucleus when the draft is over.
Rell 05-09-2012 09:47 am (total posts: 1)
19     20

I like the direction Cleveland is going in. This year draft is very deep and they'll be able to draft 4 of the top 34 players. If they draft well and don't overpay for any free agents I think they can compete for a playoff spot next year.
Dweezil 09-27-2011 10:40 pm (total posts: 1)
19     24

YMMD with that asnewr! TX
Delgado 06-30-2011 06:07 pm (total posts: 1)
28     35

I was very surprised to see Cleveland choose Thompson over Valanciunas. I'm a Texas fan, but bad decision by Gilbert. If it wasn't for that pick, I could've had most of my mock draft right!
mprofetta 06-26-2011 12:33 am (total posts: 5)
29     93

(con) Guys who exhibit TANGIBLE traits that allows them to dominate others at their position (like Rose) are the guys who teams can build around, and make for a STRONG draft crop. There are NO PLAYERS that fit the description in this draft, which is why it's universally regarded (by guys who get paid to know such things) as a WEAK draft. You're does take a team to win. You can draft rebounders, defensive-specialists and spot-up shooters until the cows come home, but it won't matter until you have that star to build around. BTW, I think you're underrating Nowitzki...he's a SUPERSTAR.

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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