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2011 NBA Offseason: Cleveland Cavaliers

Draft Grades, Offseason Needs, Free Agents

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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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mprofetta 06-26-2011 12:20 am (total posts: 5)
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(con.)I'm not saying Irving won't pan out in the NBA, or that Rose was a "sure thing", but if there is a sure thing, Rose was MUCH closer to it coming out than Irving. I don't know many folks who thought that CHI should have selected Beasley, and we all knew that Oden was even MORE OF A RISK coming out (injury) than Durant. I understand the importance of team chemistry, glue guys, specialists, etc., but they don't make for a strong draft.
mprofetta 06-26-2011 12:13 am (total posts: 5)
26     27

(con.) I have to disagree. Sure, D-Rose didn't post a triple-double on any NBA players, but HE DID put his team on his back and take them to within a whisker of the National Championship as a Freshman. Rose was a PROVEN performer, was taller, stronger, faster, had a longer wingspan and was much more polished than Irving at the same juncture of their development. You could argue that Duke actually seemed to REGRESS with Irving at the point (instead of Nolan Smith).
mprofetta 06-25-2011 11:57 pm (total posts: 5)
26     27


I commend you for posting a lengthy, thought-provoking comment. It's a refreshing break from all of the trollers and "Go Cavs!!" comments. However, I'm not sure just where you are going with your statements. From what I gather, you're insinuating that since there are no "sure things", all drafts are relative, and one can't say that this year's draft is weak.
atownsfinest 06-24-2011 09:10 pm (total posts: 1)
34     46

honestly I think people get wayyyy to held up on the notion that this, or other, drafts are void of talent due to the lack of "sure-thing" picks. Looking at it subjectively, how many people saying that "Kyrie's no Rose" thought that michael beasley should have gone number one instead of rose? That draft was only a few years ago and if I remember correctly there was a 50/50 split on who should go number one (obviously 3 years later we have our answer). How "dumb" are the trailblazers now for taking Oden over Durant? (who by the way was heavily critiziced for not being able to bench 185 and seen as too soft and weak to be able to make a huge impact). That one is an obvious answer, years later. The truth of the matter is it's easy to make rash decision based on "projections" but you really don't know (especially when we're talking about guys who are 19&20 yrs old) how good a player is going to be until they really begin to mature, both physically and mentally. Hell Lebron was already a man-child when he was 18 and sure enough, as he reached his mid-20's, he grew physically and subsequently his game improved. Irving may be slight right now but the kid just turned 19. Wait until he's 22 and starts to develop his "man-muscles." All you hear about this draft is how horrible it is because there's no Durant, Rose, or Lebron. Honestly, how many people have ever really been in agreement about a particular player being a can't miss and being right? (really LBJ and Melo are the only two that worked out recently that I can think of). Speaking of predictions and comparisons, how many times did D-Rose or CP3 put up a triple-double on an NBA player while in college? (the number is 0 by the way). You could make the arguement that Rajon Rondo is a top 3, even the top, point guard in the game. How many times have you ever seen him knock down an open jumper further than 12 ft away? (again the answer is 0). The bulls can have Rose, the Hornets can have CP3, I'll take our point guard who does everything well already, and with hard work could become great in an area or two. This draft was full of guys who will be nice contributors to their teams, with a mix of a few potential all-stars. Looking at recent history, this year, the Dallas Mavericks (a team of one all-star and a lot of "other" players, don't even try to tell me you knew who the hell JJ Barea, and his smokin' girlfriend, were before the finals started) beat a team thats full of all-stars. It takes a team to win, not a roster full of great players. If you want a cross-sport comparison, look at the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers. They always have the most, or almost, the most talent in the NFL but when was the last time they won a game that mattered? All in all I'm extremely pleased the Cavs came away with two quality people who can also play a little ball. Both should serve as quality building blocks. This draft class is unduly catching a bad rap right off the bat but who can fault it really? The "sexiest" player and story was an undersized white guy from BYU who can stroke a 3 ball. The way that dunks and highlights are glorified now, who cares about 3 pointers, shooting ability, team-play, and hard-work? (Ya know, the things that contribute to team success)
mosesgunn 06-24-2011 03:02 pm (total posts: 1)
28     23

Personally I liked the draft although I wished the Cavs took Kawhi Leonard with the 4th pick since he would fill an immediate need for a defensive wing with great upside on the offensive side at SF.

To answer your 'huh?' question on JJ Hickson and Antwan Jamison... Jamison is on the downside of 32 years old with very cranky knees and in the last year of his contract. Look for him to be dealt by the trade deadline. JJ Hickson is also in the last year of his contract although he would be a restricted FA (I think) so my thought is Tristan would be a rebounding/defensive specialist while JJ or Antwan are on the floor eliminating the need to have Varajao on the floor for extended minutes. If you look at his productivity, Varajao is most effective when he serves 20-24 minutes a game. Any more and he tends to break down. Both players will benefit from being in Byron Scott's Princeton offense.
mprofetta 06-24-2011 11:19 am (total posts: 5)
29     49

Am I missing something? Why is Irving universally touted as the undisputed #1 prospect in this draft? He's not NEARLY the athlete that Rose and Wall are, the toe injury is an issue and Duke looked better with Nolan Smith running the point. I understand "upside" and "projection" and all that good stuff, but this kid has done NOTHING.
Matt 06-24-2011 11:08 am (total posts: 1)
27     29

Is the worst talent-pool of rookies ever? Outside of the top-two, all I see are role players at best.
Neal 06-24-2011 10:58 am (total posts: 1)
28     25

Kyrie was the best pick, hopefully we deal Hickson and Andy V since we got Thompson
Dave P 06-24-2011 08:18 am (total posts: 1)
23     29

I'm a big Kyrie fan, but I'm not sold on Thompson.
Cavs fan in Oregon 06-24-2011 12:59 am (total posts: 1)
26     129

I wish we had gone Derrick Williams #1 and grabbed Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker #4. I was hoping we could have traded back into the 1st round and grabbed Bismack Boyumbo too.
John 06-23-2011 11:02 pm (total posts: 1)
27     103

worst draft by a team I have ever seen. Half this team is now power forwards who cant shoot. Wow the cavs are dumb 06-23-2011 12:46 am (total posts: 1)
27     115

The CAVS need a player like Derek Willims,hes 6"8 and can shoot three pointers nearly at will he also seems like a mature and articulate young man with good work ethic and a great attitude. cleveland needs a winner like that.
anthony 06-22-2011 02:56 am (total posts: 1)
19     25

Boogers and tits jus clap ur hands jus clap ur hands.
Walter 06-21-2011 05:02 pm (total posts: 1)
15     15

First comment... we're going to have comment boards like this all over the site soon. We're still working out the kinks, so this is not the finished product.

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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