June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Dion Waiters (Syracuse) puts on a cap as he is introduced as the number four overall pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the 2012 NBA Draft with four picks. They walk away with two players. And those two players are guys that nobody really expected them to take.
After failing to get a deal done in order to move up to the 2nd pick and take Bradley Beal, the Cavaliers saw Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Beal both get taken before their slot. That left the Cavaliers to shock most of the basketball by taking Dion Waiters, a shooting guard out of Syracuse. After a brief meltdown, I've come around to the idea of Waiters joining Kyrie Irving and creating one of the most dynamic backcourts in the league. Waiters is perhaps the best scorer in the draft and can absolutely attack the rim.
Later, the Cavaliers used their three other picks (24, 33, 34) to trade with the Dallas Mavericks and select Tyler Zeller with the 17th overall pick. I absolutely LOVE the Cavaliers' move here. They gave up 3 later picks to go ahead and grab a guy that they believe is a steal at #17. According to Byron Scott and Chris Grant, they had Zeller ranked 10 or 11 on their big board. They were more than happy to grab him with 17.
All in all, it was an exciting night -- not at all like we expected. But when you look at this roster, you simply can't deny the fact that they are improved. They got two very skilled players in Zeller and Waiters who make this a dynamic team with the ability to play various styles of basketball. Perhaps most importantly, they got some athletes and weapons to put next to Kyrie Irving. This is going to be a damn fun basketball team next year.
I'll have much more coverage of the draft tomorrow. We'll have quotes from the Chris Grant and Byron Scott press conference and full analysis and reactions to the picks. The Cavaliers organization took a big step in the right direction tonight. Even if it's not the step that we all expected.