David's pre game article before the Cavs' most recent game against the Magic really got me thinking about the success of some of the individuals on the Orlando Magic squad. Don't get me wrong, the Magic have been terrible of late, however it appears they may have uncovered some long term blocks in their rebuild.
Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris have all come from relative obscurity to become building blocks, or at least trade assets for the Magic team of the future. This got me thinking of all of the players who have been drafted in the late lottery-mid first round range that have been buried early by their respective teams, only to burst onto the scene and thrive when opportunity arises.
Avery Bradley, Eric Bledsoe, Larry Sanders, Ed Davis, Jimmy Butler and to a lesser extent Earl Clark are others that spring to mind when thinking of players that have broken out either at the end of last year or during this current season after being buried on their respective teams' benches earlier on in their careers. I think the Cavs would do well to target players that were drafted around this range, that two years on may be undervalued by their teams and could be had on the cheap. And here is the one guy around that I would love for the Cavs' to take a shot at:
I personally loved Burks coming into the draft of 2011, at 6'6" with a 6'10" wingspan, he has near ideal length to play the position, and while he came into his rookie season not being able to shoot at all from the outside, he has shown slight improvement there raising his 3PT% to 35 on a not insignificant 3 attempts per 36 minutes. Utah has been 3 points per 100 possessions better with Burks on the floor defensively too, and when defending opposition point guards (although admittedly a small sample size) Burks has held them to a .437eFG%. This shows he has the lateral quickness to stay with point guards, and what he does lack in the area can be made up for with his length. Ideally, he would pack on 10-15 lbs onto his current 195lb frame, which would likely allow him to defend his natural position of shooting guard better, as he does get bullied sometimes by the stronger two guards.
Offensively Burks would be the third guard in our guard rotation with Dion and Kyire, being a solid complement to the both of them. Burks is an elite cutter, which would aid Kyrie/Andy pick and rolls in particular greatly. Burks cutting along the baseline to receive a pass from Andy after the opposition trap Kyrie would be pretty much unstoppable, and his improving three point game would only add more value to his offensive game.
Ultimately, were the Lakers to miss the playoffs (which seems unlikely at the time of writing) I would be happy to trade the Miami pick for Burks, although I am unsure this alone would get the trade done.
I do understand that most of these guys are third year guys that are meant to break out (excuse me for including Harkless) but I think that if the guys haven't shown all that much before they have broken out then they can be had pretty cheap. Realistically the 30th pick in this years draft will not even be as good as Alec Burks currently is, let alone what he could become with a more refined jumper and a few more pounds on the frame.
P.S. Sorry if this comes out terribly, this is the first Fanpost I have written so please don't rip on me too hard if the layout ends up looking a mess.
On court/ off court splits taken from 82games, measurements taken from draft express and stats taken from basketball-reference