This is the summer where it's imperative for GM Chris Grant to grab one thing and it's not a big guy. It's absolutely 100% critical that the Cleveland Cavaliers come away from the 2012 NBA Draft with a dominant wing player to put the franchise into the stages of becoming one of the best young groups in the league.
The shooting guards we've employed this season, Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson, have PER's of 9.1 and 9.5 to date. They're horrific and we have as giant of a hole there as any team has at a spot in the league.
With budding star Kyrie Irving handling the point and the still underrated Anderson Varejao in the middle it is comical to think the team should pick anything but a wing.
Find out the rest of my theory after the jump.
The Cavaliers have made quite the leap this year because of Varejao and Irving. With Andy out last year the team sunk to a terrible low because there simply wasn't talent on the roster. I'm firmly in the camp that if he played all season we would have finished 8 games higher than we did.
Andy's deal isn't bad at all and we've got him under control for a couple years. It's pretty ludicrous to consider dumping off your second best player for low impact picks or drafting over him under such circumstances. It's easier to appreciate Andy more and more each night as he overachieves basically every game and puts up monster numbers.
His impact on the team is phenomenal and his career best play this season has backed that up. Tristan Thompson, who I'm highly skeptical of, is supposedly the future at the power forward position and likely will be given a great shot at starting next year even though he probably won't be deserving of it. Look, he's a massive project and drafting another 19 year-old who is years away is far from the answer.
The talent on the wings is a crucial element of any NBA team who is going anywhere. Guards do control the NBA game and it's imperative to develop someone who can be a high volume, efficient scorer on the wing.
Trust me, when we win again, Andy is going to be the one piece that brings everything together and makes it happen. It looks like he's not that valuable when we struggle but he's the guy we'd all be begging to have back in a couple years if we're in contention because of all the intangibles and effort he brings.
The dimension Kyrie has brought to the team this year from the point cannot be understated as he's changed the fortune of the franchise very quickly. But, his value isn't going to come close to being maximized playing with people like Omri Casspi and the aforementioned two guards.
By bringing in a wing player who can potentially develop into a player like Irving is the best move the franchise can make this summer. With Alonzo Gee emerging into someone I believe is going to be around for awhile we've got one wing spot locked down. The other spot is going to scream at us until there's someone in there who has a shot at the job.
The more Grant waits to fill the hole the more we're going to struggle. Gee and Thompson are the front runners to be the forwards next year but they're not good enough to really carry a load. They, and Varejao, are your dirty work and defense guys who can get you some points every so often but only average 10-12.In fact I'm ecstatic about the fact that we could pair a couple of superstar potential players with them. They fit into any style, don't need tons of touches and importantly can be highly productive with or without scoring. I love them (well, not Tigger yet) as complementary pieces.
As long as there are no great SG/SF prospects on this team that have potential to be as good as Kyrie Irving the longer we will toil in mediocrity at best.
Whether it's Jeremy Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal or someone else, I'm all for bringing in someone of that nature to help change the direction of this team.
Even if Andy's not the center of the team in six years, the value of a snagging a hot wing player this summer very much dwarfs that of snatching up a young big man.
Down the road it will be much easier to simply plug the center position with some long, unskilled defensive player who can do a job for us in the middle when we need reinforcements compared to finding a guy who can carry the load on the wing.
It's really clear in my eyes the things we need to do to get this thing going. Say we draft one of these guys and he turns into another Kyrie. I'd be tickled to have Irving, Random Wing X, Gee and Andy as the next wave of Cavalier playoff squads.
Project big men are some of the most overrated things in the league. Let's go find a star on the wings this summer.