First, thank you to the dedicated writers, the passionate community members and commenters who have made this a great place to read about the Cavs. I just joined after reading for almost a year. This place is pretty awesome.
I've seen a couple other posts in this vein, but I would like to try to communicate something: it's three days after the draft. It's been a while since we've seen the Cavs play. There are strong reactions on both sides of the Anthony Bennett pick, as would be expected. Let's debate about this pick, and try to do it without simplifying either argument.
For the record, the only thing I've seen on Anthony Bennett is his Draft Express video. I'm really excited about his offensive ability, the way he runs the floor, and how he finishes around the rim. I really hope Mike Brown can get him to realize defense matters and that it takes a lot of thought and effort. If Bennett gives those things, his physical ability will help him become a contributing member on that end of the court. I have no idea how he fits next to Tristan, but I know the kid can play. It's an unknown for now, and that makes me excited for the season.
But please remember that, as Conrad wrote, "Grades for the NBA Draft are pointless." We haven't even seen a summer league game. The debate is awesome and is what makes FTS what it is, but perspective is always helpful.
For instance, I don't know about anyone else, but Tristan Thompson's potential was a mystery to me when we picked him at 4. I consider myself a very passionate fan, but I personally don't like to take time to scout college players who don't play for Ohio State. So when this year he put up 11.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg and a 16.12 per (sorry but I'm not very well versed in advanced stats, help and insight is welcome), and stepped up when Andy went down, I was pleasantly surprised.
At only two years through his career, I'm not sure how much Grant can be criticized for this pick. Jonas Valanciunas was the name I saw thrown around the most when arguing for someone else. The rest of the top 10 for that draft? Jan Vesley, Bismack Biyombo, Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, and Jimmer Fredette. Other than Knight (who plays Kyrie's position) I don't see a player I think has the potential to be on Tristan's level for the remainder of his career. Klay Thompson went 11th, and Kawhi Leonard went 15th, but at the time, they clearly weren't considered top 5 picks. If CG is to blame, then so are 7 and 11 other execs.
Same with Dion. My only experience with him at Cuse was watching the Buckeyes advance to the Final Four at his expense. For those couple of hours, I was occupied with finding stupid things to make fun of him for, because he happened to be playing against Ohio State. So when he dropped 28 against the Clippers, or won Rookie of the Month, and elevated his game in 2013, I rejoiced.
After Cleveland took Dion at 4, the rest of the top 10 rounded out like this.
Thomas Robinson, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Ross, Andre Drummond, and Austin Rivers. Ignoring Lillard (pg, Kyrie), Drummond has a great chance to be an anchor on a terrific defense in Detroit. At the time of the draft, though, he was all potential, and scared many GMs. Barnes was coming off a very unimpressive tourney. I can understand arguments for both of these players instead of Dion, but I would still take Dion. His second half this season has me very hopeful.
I'm not saying Chris Grant is perfect, or even good. I'm not sure yet. But from what I have seen (remember when taking Kyrie over Derrick Williams wasn't as obvious as it is now?), he has given me a reason to be patient for a little bit longer. Give this Bennett pick time, give this team time. Let's have fun debating about our team, and let's be realistic, but let's wait and hope.
This was longer than I meant it to be and I apologize. Go Cavs.