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2012 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: 21-45)

Live 2012 NBA Draft Grades:

4. Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse: A Grade
I LOVE Dion Waiters. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE him. It is shocking he goes this high, but I have been on his bandwagon for months and it looks like I was right - sorry, bragging. It is crazy Waiters goes this high, but he definitely fills a need at shooting guard and it will be exciting to watch him and Kyrie Irving play together for the next few years.

17. Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina: D Grade
Cleveland gives up No. 24, No. 33 and No. 34 for Zeller, which seems like a lot for a big man who will be a solid, but not spectacular, big man in the NBA. The Cavaliers need depth all across the board and could have selected three quality players instead of simply taking Zeller. Don't like it.

*** 2012 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)
24     25

(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.

2011-12 Season Summary:
I make a weekly appearance on a radio show based out of Cleveland, and it's actually rather amazing that a month and a half into the season we were having a legitimate conversation as to whether or not the Cavaliers were going to be a playoff team. However, that talk was quickly put to rest as they finished with the third-worst record in the league.

Still, there were some bright spots, particularly the play from first-round picks Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Irving performed better than most expected during his rookie season, and every indication appears that he will be Cleveland's franchise player moving forward. Thompson had a solid rookie campaign even though he spent a decent amount of time late in the season playing out of position at center.

Even with the bright play of their rookies, it was clear that the Cavaliers simply lacked the talent to truly be competitive especially after losing Anderson Varejao to a fractured wrist midway through the season. The team also made a move for the future by dealing Ramon Sessions to the Lakers for a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

That left players like Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, and Alonzo Gee to shoulder the load as Irving also missed a chunk of time late in the season due to injury. With Jamison's outrageously overpriced contract finally coming off the books, and the likelihood that the team will not pick up the almost $4.8 million team-option on Daniel Gibson's contract, Cleveland will have a ton of cap space this offseason. That provides the Cavaliers with the opportunity to be aggressive in free agency if they so choose.

2012-13 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Anderson Varejao/*Semih Erden

PF: Tristan Thompson/*Luke Harangody

SF: Omri Casspi/Luke Walton

SG: *Alonzo Gee/#Daniel Gibson

PG: Kyrie Irving/David Sloan

NBA Free Agents:

#G-Daniel Gibson (TO)

*SG-Alonzo Gee (RFA)

*C-Semih Erden (RFA)

*PF-Luke Harangody (RFA)

PF-Antawn Jamison (UFA)

SG-Anthony Parker (UFA)

PF-Samardo Samuels (UFA)

G/F-Jason Kapono (UFA)

SG-Manny Harris (UFA)

2012-13 Team Salary: Approximately $29 million

NBA Offseason Needs:

1. Wing Help: From the likes of Luke Walton and Anthony Parker to Mychal Thompson, Manny Harris, D.J. Kennedy, Ben Uzoh, and Christian Eyenga; the Cavaliers had quite the revolving door of crap trying to plug the holes at shooting guard and small forward last season. Cleveland sorely needs a wing player who can help take some of the pressure off Kyrie Irving. Expect the team to target either Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, or Harrison Barnes with its lottery pick. The Cavaliers should still look to add another proven perimeter scorer or use one of their other picks on a wing player in hopes of finding an upgrade.

2. True Center: When Anderson Varejao went down with a season-ending injury, Cleveland lacked any sort of inside presence. Guys like Semih Erden and Ryan Hollins don't even deserve to be in the league, and the teams was forced to play undersized power forwards Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels in the middle. Even though Varejao will be back next season, he is not a true banging, physical presence down low. The Cavaliers need to find a serviceable big body to clog up space in the paint, and preferably not one named Erden or Hollins.

3. Veteran Point Guard: Since dealing Ramon Sessions, Cleveland has had a void behind Kyrie Irving at point guard. Ideally, finding a veteran who can play 12-15 minutes a night if needed while also providing some guidance to help further Irving's development would be a smart addition.

4. Patience: The worst thing management can do this offseason is blow the team's cap space by overspending on mediocre talent or acquiring expensive, long-term contracts. General Manager Chris Grant needs to stick to the script and follow the Oklahoma City Thunder blueprint of building through the draft and wisely using the Cavaliers' cap space on short-term deals for veterans who can temporarily fill-in where needed.

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