The Cavs being a mystery is nothing new. For years now, they have held high draft choices and no one has had any idea what they're doing with them. Heck even AFTER the drafts most people have been confused.
This year is no different. The draft has three stand out prospects in Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, and Duke's Jabari Parker.
Chad Ford of ESPN, who is probably as connected as anybody to the drafts comings and goings and the deals surrounding it, gave us some info earlier today.
There kind of a lot there, so lets start at the top:
-The Cavs will have the only workout with Joel Embiid, and if they commit to him, he will not do anything for any other teams. That makes sense, why work out for anyone else if the top team says you're their guy?
HOLD ON THOUGH, you didn't think it would be that easy did you? Ford continues:But don't expect that to happen. A team source in Cleveland said it's unlikely the Cavs will commit to any player leading up to the draft.
"We have to keep our options open," the source said. "Once you commit, your hands are tied. The good thing about the No. 1 pick is that you have lots of options. Embiid is a great prospect and he might very well be the choice at No. 1. But until you see all three and, more importantly, until we understand the trade market, it just makes no sense to make any promises."
Not committing is sound, but here at The Sword (yeah we're gonna call it "The Sword" in short hand now. Fear The Sword is nice but among the 6-13 demographic the marketing gurus say that fear doesn't play well. Who knew?) anyway... here at The Sword, we like concise news because it makes things easy. This does not sound easy.
First, team doctors are going to have to get comfortable with his back. If there is any hint that it may require more treatment or need long-term correction, the chances of Embiid going No. 1 dwindle. The Cavs need a player who can play now, and the feeling is that Embiid, who already is the least experienced of the top prospects, can't afford to miss summer league and training camp. You saw what happened to Bennett last season -- they don't want to repeat that again this season.
Normal, medical stuff. Makes perfect sense. Not sure I agree with them needing a player who can play now. I mean, they can pretty much ALL play now. Rookies don't usually lead to wins, as even the most talented players struggle to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA game. Then they have to figure out the focus needed to win as well. It just isn't really realistic to think that anyone is coming in and leading you to victories. We got spoiled with LeBron, and as good as he was as a rookie, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was REALLY good on that team as well.
Second, owner Dan Gilbert is pushing new Cavs GM David Griffin to make the playoffs this season. The Cavs' ability to do that will, in part, be connected to how much help they get from their pick this season. Embiid is going to have to make the case that he can help them now. I don't think that's out of the question, by the way. Most experts thought Embiid would take more than a year to be an impact player in Kansas. Instead, by February, he was oftentimes the best player on the floor for the Jayhawks.
I like Dan Gilbert. I like him a lot. I am loathe to think of him as a meddler because I like him quite a bit, BUT MAN if I could go like 3 weeks without some national writer saying that he is pushing X agenda or demanding Y it would be awesome. As an aside, Dan, if you're reading this please unblock me on twitter. We're destined to be friends and you need to get on board.
Meanwhile, here we are at the "expecting a rookie to help win games" thing again. That is how disappointments happen folks -- please don't do it.
Expanding on the thought above:
We've already gone over the cases for Parker and Wiggins and won't do so here. Parker is the obvious choice if the team wants immediate impact and would definitely fit a need if the team is convinced Luol Deng won't be returning. Wiggins is a compromise. He's talented enough, especially on the defensive end, to make an immediate impact. But he still has as much upside as anyone in the draft.
Chad Ford probably has forgotten more about the NBA than I will ever know, but man, drawing any similarities between Parker and Luol Deng is just tough for me. Or as my soon to be former boss man put it:
Jabari Parker can do lots of things. Roughly zero of them are the things that Luol Deng brings to a team.— Conrad Kaczmarek (@ConradKazNBA) June 3, 2014
Now though, now we get to the real meat of this discussion:
But I think the Cavs' preferred route would to be a trade that thins out their roster and adds a young veteran who could immediately lift the Cavs' long-term chances. The Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love has been the most often mentioned pickup. But the Cavs also have their eye on several other bigs, including the Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah, the Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge and the Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford.
Oh ok trading the #1 for Love or Aldridge is an overpay considering their contract situations but I can see how it might be wort -- AL HORFORD AND JOAKIM NOAH?! WHAT?!
I can talk myself into pretty much anything but the thought of trading the number one pick for Al Horford or Joakim Noah makes me gag. They're very talented players, but they just are not worth the talent the Cavs are looking at with this top pick. Rushing the process for any of the four seems short sighted, but hopefully potential trade deals for Noah and Horford involve secondary assets.
Naturally, I am sticking with my original choice of Andrew Wiggins. I love long wing players that can jump through the roof. If they pick Embiid, I'll love that too, assuming his back checks out. If they trade the pick I'll be grouchy. If they trade the pick and hire Vinny Del Negro as coach? I'll catch y'all at the 480.