NBA Draft: Where the Cleveland Cavaliers Stand

Feb, 29, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes (40) dribbles as Maryland Terrapins guard Nick Faust (5) defends in the second half. The Tar Heels defeated the Terrapins 88-64 at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

With the news that the Cavaliers would have the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, there was suddenly a lot more to discuss. In order to get some preliminary musings and thoughts written down, I had a conversation with Martin Rickman, site manager of Blogger So Dear and writer for SBNation-Cleveland.

Check out our back and forth and feel free to contribute to the conversation in the comments section. Continue the dialogue by following Martin and I on Twitter at @MartinRickman and @ConradKaczmarek.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to talk about the Cavs, feel free to email me at ConradFTS@Gmail.com.

Martin: The Cavs ended up with the fourth pick in the draft. How are you
feeling now that you've had a night to sleep on it?

Conrad: A bit disappointed, but good overall. Once the Cavs secured
the third slot in the lottery, I knew they could do no worse than the
6th pick. It just so happens that there are 6 players in the draft
that I really like. At four, Cleveland has a good shot at any player
other than Anthony Davis. There's a lot of options but each option
brings a reason to get really excited.

Martin: It seems like a lot of us were getting really pumped about
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist over the last few weeks. That's not completely
out of the question now, since there's really no telling who the
Bobcats or Wizards are going to take, but if MKG is off the board, who
is your pick? I know you've trumpeted Bradley Beal in the past ... is
he still your guy?

Conrad: Yeah. If MKG is there, you take him. If he's not there and
Beal is available, you take Beal. But like you said, there's no real
way to know who the Bobcats or Wizards will take. It's possible that
both Beal and Kidd-Gilchrist are off the board. That's when it gets
tough.

Martin: Well, let's assume the worst. This is Cleveland, right? If MKG
and Beal go two and three (as they probably should), what then?

Conrad: Then it's a choice of Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes, or
Thomas Robinson. You could make a pretty massive pros and cons list
for each of those guys.

Martin: You don't really think the Cavs would take T-Rob, would you?
Anderson Varejao isn't a true center and neither is Tristan Thompson,
so you're looking at two PFs/undersized Cs. I like Robinson a lot, but
this would likely mean moving Thompson, a guy the Cavs liked enough to
take over Jonas last year (and what a gut-punch it is to learn he will
probably be ready to join Toronto for 2012-13). Are the Cavs ready to
give up on Tigger?

Conrad: I don't think they are ready to give up on Thompson. I've
been saying for a while that we can't judge the Tristan over Jonas
pick for at least 2 more years. Thompson is just so raw and has plenty
of upside. The thing with Robinson is that he may be the best player
available when the Cavaliers pick. Isn't that the idea for a team that
needs talent as much as the Cavaliers? Like you said though, the Cavs
have two other players that are basically power forwards. It'd be hard
to spread out the minutes to give the two young guys enough time to
develop while still getting the most out of Varejao (still the Cavs'
second best player). Bottom line: I doubt the Cavs take Robinson
unless they have a plan to trade Thompson or Varejao already in place.

Martin: That is pretty much where I fall, as well. And I'm not convinced
the Cavs won't trade Varejao. I've been saying for two years now
(injury-shortened or not) that Andy has to be moved. His contract is
still team-friendly, he's getting older, and veteran presence or not,
if he can bring significant value, I believe the team needs to pull
the trigger on a deal. But let's assume everything stays status quo.
The Cavs bring back five players under contract with Boobie on a team
option. If the Cavs pass on Robinson and don't make a trade (we'll get
back to that scenario later), who is your pick -- Barnes or Drummond?

Conrad: You're making me choose now, huh? Alright then. As of today,
I'm going with Barnes. He's big (6'8") and can shoot the ball. A lot
of the concerns about his game are focused on his ability to create
for himself and to take over a game in crunch time. With Kyrie Irving
playing next to him, he doesn't have to worry about those things. If
you ask me tomorrow, I'll probably say Drummond.

Martin: Well I'm sure we will both change our minds daily. That's part
of the fun of this. I watch more than enough ACC basketball, and I see
all the knocks on Barnes. Hell, I've enjoyed making some of them.
Nothing is more fun than ripping UNC when you're a fan/graduate of
another ACC school. That said, Barnes has always projected as a better
pro than a college player. Roy Williams is notorious for hiding and
underutilizing star players (a lot of time to get them to stay an
extra year), and despite the fact that Barnes looked downright abysmal
in some games this year, he has the size, the tools and the skill to
be a scoring machine in the pros. I was one of the few on the Draft
Barnes train a year ago before he decided to come back to school, and
if you'd have told me the Cavs would have had a chance to get both him
and Kyrie last year, I would have been ecstatic. This is why being
stuck at No. 4 is so scary, though. Drummond has question marks, and
so does Barnes, but the two of them fit needs the Cavs clearly have.
I'll go back and forth again and again, and I'm sure it'll get even
murkier once workouts and the combine start.

Conrad: For sure, I don't like the college game for a number of
reasons, but one of them is the three-point line. It's too close and
it makes the game too crowded inside the arc. In the NBA, Barnes will
have much more room to operate and run around screens to get passes
from Kyrie. By staying a second year, Barnes just gave lots of people
too much time to dissect every aspect of his game. They found flaws
and they focused on them. Best case, he can turn into a Joe Johnson
type of player. Worst case, he's Marvin Williams. I know that's not
what you want at the #4 pick, but check out Williams' numbers. He's a
relatively useful player and in the right system could be even better.
For the record, I think Barnes will be significantly better than that,
however.

Martin: Well, the Williams thing is interesting to mention because what
did Atlanta need for the longest time, and who should Atlanta have
taken over Williams in the first place? A point guard by the name of
Chris Paul. Now the Hawks have a PG they like in Jeff Teague, but he's
not a facilitator, he's more of slasher than a passer. If the Hawks
had the chance to draft Paul and then get Williams the next year, who
knows what Marvin's career trajectory ends up being? So is it safe to
say your wishlist is 1.) MKG 2.) Beal 3.) Barnes 4.) Everybody else?

Conrad: I wouldn't even go that far. It's MKG then Beal. After that,
I don't know. I'd be open to a trade down as long as they stay in the
top-10 and get another solid pick. A package for the Blazers' 6th and
11th picks? I'm just spitballing here, but that's a possibility too.
Chris Grant has said that they'll explore every option and trading
down is certainly one of them.

Martin: Well let's talk a little bit about that. Say the Cavs can trade
4 & one of their second rounders for No. 6 & 11. Do you stand pat
there? Go with BPA at six, then a guy like Lamb or Perry Jones at 11?
Or do you get even more creative, keep No. 6, then package 11 & 24 for
another top ten? Chris Grant likes to pull these kinds of moves, and
he clearly grabbed all these picks to do something with them.

Conrad: You probably stay at 6 and 11, but who knows. We've
officially entered complete speculation territory. I like Perry Jones
III a lot later in the lottery. I like Tyler Zeller too. There's a lot
of options back there, but I can't even pretend to know how that would
play out.

Martin: I'm sure my head will spin over the next few weeks as I read
everything and everything, but if I had to hope for an ideal,
realistic scenario, it'd be Beal dropping to No. 4. He's a terrific
shooter, he can rebound, he plays bigger than he is (which isn't that
small, honestly), and he's a competitor. He'd complement Irving really
well and would give the Cavs their other three picks to either make a
deal or snag SF/C.

Conrad: Yeah, there's a ton to think about and it's going to be a really exciting month leading up to the draft. With the fourth pick in the draft, there are a bunch of options and there's no way to tell exactly how it will turn out. And we haven't even begun to discuss the three other draft picks that Cleveland has in this deep draft. Yeesh.

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