So What Have We Learned?
Cavs fans went into this draft expecting an exciting trade or two and some big name to come to cleveland. Or at least we all hoped for that. However, instead of bringing in Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, or Paul Pierce, the Cavs stayed put. And by staying put it was that we learned more than a bit about Chris Grant and the Cavs' front office. I have a lot of thoughts going through my head and this post is mainly just so I can write it all down. These observations will be in no particular order. Let's get to it shall we.
1. Anthony Bennett may very well be a pick that leaves Kokoskov jumping up and down with joy. His offense is pick and roll heavy and we can all expect to see a plethora of picks, rolls, and pops between Kyrie and Anthony. This is most likely going to be how we get most of our buckets. In addition, we have Dion and Karasev that can create and spread the floor. I also look forward to seeing Tristan's post game as well, but there is a chance we will not see it as often as we did under Scott.
2. The Cavs may not have added Noel, my favorite prospect, but they did succeed in adding a new dimension to his team on offense. Now with Karasev, Felix, and Bennett, we have the ability to spread the floor and knock down some shots.
3. The Cavs did not hire Potapenko because he speaks the same language as Len. I am assuming they had the crazy idea of hiring him because they thought he was qualified for the job. Please don't say we actually hired him to coach Karasev because that is not the case. Thank God we can put that one to bed.
4. The Cavs think that Mike Brown will get the team to play defense despite not taking Kidd-Gilchrist in the 2012 draft, Noel, or Oladipo. They clearly believe that team defense is more important than having a dominant shot blocker or lockdown individual defender. This does not mean they will not trade for one or draft one in the future because they undeniably help. It does however indicate that they are confident the D will be fine without it.
5. The Cavs do believe that Bennett can become a good defender. While I am somewhat skeptical, I do agree it is a possibility. Height and length do not matter as much for a power forward as the media would like us to think. Although bennett is short, he does have a long wingspan. He is very strong and can certainly burn some of his baby fat and put on some muscle, but his main drawback is his level of interest. I do believe Brown can at least somewhat fix this because Bennett is still young and impressionable. As he is only in his first season, and Mike Brown is his first NBA coach, we can get him to play defense while he is still developing. Considering he was a freshman and is still young, he probably didn't have too much time to pick up bad habits.
6. The Cavs do not want a rookie to back up Kyrie. They much prefer a point guard who can be a steady presence while Kyrie rests. Conrad had the best analysis regarding this topic in his podcast with Jonathan Tjarks, who is probably extremely proud of the Cavs considering Bennett is his favorite prospect.
7. Neither trade nor free agency rumors are nearly finished. Everybody on this site will have to endure many more. To prove this, look at the number of players that the Cavs may give minutes to this season, assuming they resign some guys.
Kyrie, Dion, Alonso, Tristan, Andy, Tyler Zeller, Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev, Alonzo Gee, CJ Miles, Wayne Ellington, Mo Speights, Kevin Jones, Carrick Felix, Daniel Gibson, Luke Walton, Omri Casspi. Those are 18 players that either got minutes for us last year or are likely to get minutes next year. Of this group, I expect Gibson, Casspi, and Walton will not be re-signed. Speights probably will decline his option and get overpaid by some other team. I doubt the Cavs will even pursue him very much. That leaves 14 players. Of these, I don't think Jones will be able to carve out a role in the rotation. Gee may lose the starting spot to either Karasev or Bennett. Expect some minor or maybe even not-so-minor trades that kind of clear up who will be getting minutes and who will not. I think we will end up just re-signing Livingston to back up Kyrie, as he plays good D, brings solid size, and is a steadying veteran presence who distributes the ball and runs the offense well. It is hard to know if we can afford Livingston however because frankly nobody has any clue what kind of market there is for him.
In addition, the Cavs are looking to add a vet in free agency or via trade, so simple math and logic kinda says we will be bombarded by more rumors. Crap.
8. The Cavs expect Carrick felix to get minutes. Maybe even significant minutes. Considering we were all sure that the Cavs would only take one or two rookies and that it is not too difficult to trade second rounders, the fact that the Cavs spent the 33rd pick on a player ranked as worse than 60th on most big boards and passed on falling talent tells me the Cavs really like this guy.
9. One of the aforementioned trade rumors: the Mavericks used their pick and still need to shed salary, especially considering Dallas has emerged as Dwight's favorite because of Broussard's report that he wishes to leave the Lakers and doesn't fit in Houston's perimeter-oriented offense. I would expect the Mavericks to either trade one of their higher paid vets or a lot of their younger players. Whoever they do end up trading will likely be for peanuts on the dollar.
10. The Cavs are higher on Tyler Zeller than most of us thought and see him as a center, considering we added another power forward and as Andy ages and his contract expires, Zeller becomes our only center. Unless we trade a bunch of our pieces for Horford, (Please!) expect Zeller to get many minutes at center.
11. With that being said, the Cavs also believe Tristan Thompson can play center. I agree with this, considering his standing reach is only 1.5 inches shorter than Noel (and TT reportedly grew since the combine), whom nobody so much as doubted was long enough to play center. In addition, Thompson is quite stronger than Noel and played quite well at center in his rookie season. Considering his improvement since then, I think Thompson can be a very good center. People say he really came into his own at the 4 last season but that is likely more correlation than causation. The real reason we saw such improvement was because he bulked up, worked on his game over a full offseason in which he was actually allowed to be coached by the Cavs (damn lockout), and got a bigger role with Varejao's injury. He was able to step into that role because of his maturity after having had a full season under his belt.
12. The Cavs believe they can make the playoffs and I truly believe they can as well. The Heat, Pacers, Bulls, Nets, and Knicks will make the playoffs. The Hawks may or may not depending on whether or not they get anybody in free agency. Let's assume that they do. The Celtics are done. They just traded their best players and left a promising backcourt with unproven sophomores and rookies in the front court. They have some good pieces, but Garnett and Pierce were the heart and soul of that team, moreso even than Rondo who often had chemistry problems in the locker room and with Doc, who also happens to be missing. Milwaukee lost its backcourt and was pretty bad before the fact anyways. The sixers traded their star point guard for a project at center. Good if you want to start rebuild, but fortuitous for us. That means we are competing with Toronto, Detroit, and Washington for the last playoff spots. Washington will likely make one of those, which leaves Toronto and Detroit competing with us for the 8th seed. Let the fun begin.
13. Nobody has any idea what the Cavs are doing. Their sources are apparently double agents.
14. The Cavs are swinging for the fences in the draft. In my opinion that is better than the safer approach because I would rather be a contender or in a rebuild than in Milwaukee limbo.
15. Don't trust Chris Sheridan.