The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the youngest teams in the NBA, which means plenty of potential for the future of the franchise. After suffering through a third straight season of losing, the Cavs are once again headed to the draft lottery and projected to pick somewhere in the top 5 again. Many Wine and Gold fans feel that after the upcoming draft, along with the trades/free agency transactions the team makes, the Cavs should at least be ready to contend for a bottom four playoff spot. As a dedicated Cleveland sports fan, I can certainly understand the desire to watch meaningful basketball games at the Q. However, these past few weeks have really persuaded me to reconsider my desires for next season ( personal preferences, so to speak).
Before I start, let me start by saying that unless the Cavs nab a superstar next year through the trade/draft or one of the current players emerges into one, the Cavs will not have a team ready to compete for a title. Championship contention is our main goal, and until we are ready to compete for a title, we should not hope for anything in the middle. Sure, a playoff trip would be fun, but we have to think long-term "OKC-style". Do I want us to tank? Of course not. Do I want us to be exciting while losing games? You bet ya!
I follow amateur basketball as much as I watch the NBA, partly because I love the game that much. Also, I love to find out and view the top young players while they are amateurs before everyone "hops on the bandwagon". After watching the McDonalds All-American game, I was blown away with how much potential is in the 2013 freshman class of NCAA basketball. The players who caught my eye most were Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, but the class has many other players who are certain to enter the national spotlight soon. I know what you're thinking,"Is this guy really making a post about college freshman and the 2014 draft a full year before that draft?" Yes, I am making a post about college freshman because these kids are that special. Many scouting publications and NBA scouts are projecting this class as possibly the best since the 2003 draft, which is mainly based on the number of players with superstar potential. Most compared the past few drafts as "weak drafts",due to the fact that there were only one or two clear "potential stars" (the 2011 draft when we got Kyrie was considered weak, along with the previous four drafts). Although many players surprised by outperforming their initial draft stock and turning into quality picks, the drafts were not as stocked with potential picks like this draft. The following is a list of the potential 2014 draft candidate from the freshman class along with a short summary of their games:
Andrew Wiggins- 6'7 SF Best prospect since Lebron James(in terms of talent level compared to his class, not direct comparison) according to most scouting publications, extreme athleticism, can shoot from anywhere, great defender.
Jabari Parker - 6'8 SF Four straight Illinois state titles at Derrick Rose former school, has smooth game inside and out. Has tremendous wingspan that will help on defense, terrific leader and humble character, will develop a really strong frame.
Julius Randle 6'10 PF One of the new breed power forwards that can stretch the floor. Plays like a shooting guard when matched up with bigger players, bullies smaller players, mismatch against most players,even if he does not become a superstar will always provide match-up problems.
Andrew Harrison 6'5 PG Rare combination of speed and power at the point guard position, true PG, elite finishing ability around the basket, can shoot out the the 3, one of the best crossovers in the nation, great court vision to go along with scoring ability. Size will be asset in the NBA
Aaron Gordon 6'10 PF Great face-up game with decent post, tremendous leaper for big man, runs the court well, shit blocker.
The previous player listed are just the players that scouts are saying have superstar potential, and all you have to do is look up footage of their games or highlights to see the obvious. However, this is not even including the other top talent that will enter that draft, along with the players that will emerge over the course of the college season and current upperclassmen that will improve into solid draft prospects. My point is that with the Cavs current draft situation, we will have 2 picks in 2014 (barring any trades involving the 2014 picks). Even if we draw a pick in the 6-10 range, that player can turn into a valuable piece in our puzzle. However, any top 5 pick will be a game changer for the franchises that get them. Add any of the top players from this draft along with Kyrie Irving, an improved Dion Waiters, Tristian coming into his own, and whoever else is on the roster and we will be the best young upcoming team in the league for years. Now, let the ripping of my post begin but be nice guys. I am just mesmerized by the idea if this draft being a special one.