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NBA Draft: A Franchise Changer, Part I

Don't confuse what's popular with what's right.

I want the Cavaliers to lose every game for the rest of the season because I care so much about them winning a championship as soon as possible. Do those things sound like conflicting interests? Well, they really aren't.

And don't bother calling me negative for a second and a bad fan because I want the Cavaliers to lose every game from here on out. I think horrible fans are the ones who are ones who still buy tickets when the team is rolling through mediocrity/going absolutely nowhere and also anybody who jumps on a bandwagon.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have no alternative but to draft a superstar this summer or the Kyrie Irving days are likely to be as fruitful as Chris Paul's in New Orleans.

And that is something I'm hardly rooting for.

As a franchise, the Cavaliers have quite a dilemma on their hands. They got the #1 pick when a franchise changing player was the top selection. That is the first part of the championship equation that can be checked off. The next thing is surrounding the kid with another young superstar to take the Cavaliers to June.

With a player such as Irving, the Cavaliers are a lock to be too good too fast to be in position to draft another franchise changer any other summer than this one.

So why aren't you as hell bent as I to be in a better position to do so?

A couple of the regime's in the past who faced this situation were the Chris Paul led Hornets, Derrick Rose led Bulls, LeBron James led Cavaliers, Dwight Howard led Magic and Kevin Durant led Super Sonics/Thunder.

Of those franchises, why do you think the one with the brightest future (in my opinion) the Thunder was the one who did it right by being awful enough during Durant's early years to set themselves up so well for his best days?

Let's take a quick glance at how the draft went for these teams in the four years right after they drafted their superstar.

Chicago Bulls:

2009: James Johnson, 16th

2010: Kevin Seraphin (can't do the accents), 17th

2011: Norris Cole, 28th

Chicago has risen to the top of the Eastern Conference due to there already being some good player around Rose in Luol Deng and Joakim Noah but also because they did lure a quality free agent to Chicago in Carlos Boozer. Think how good they could have been if they didn't get so good right away and drafted some young stars to play with Rose.

New Orleans Hornets:

2006: Hilton Armstrong, 12th

2007: Julian Wright, 13th

2008: Darrell Arthur, 27th

2009: Nick Collison, 21st

What a disaster of a group this became. Chris Paul was never able to develop with a young, talented supporting cast and I blame his ability to make them better so fast as one of the main culprits. It's very difficult to get a group of stars around a player such as Paul when you have the picks they did.

Orlando Magic:

2005: Fran Vasquez (ditto, accents), 11th

2006: J.J. Redick, 11th

2007: No first round pick

2008: Courtney Lee, 22nd

Sensing a them here? Dwight Howard made the team better so quickly that they didn't acquire another player in his stratosphere quick enough and thus never made use of a great potential asset to build around him. Sure, they made the Finals in 2009 but they ended up making so many panic moves because they didn't have another good young player.

Cleveland Cavaliers:

2004: Luke Jackson, 10th

2005: No first round pick

2006: Shannon Brown, 25th

2007: No first round pick

You know the story here.

Oklahoma City Thunder:

2008: Russell Westbrook, 4th

2009: James Harden, 3rd

2010: Cole Aldrich (they ended up with him), 11th

2011: Reggie Jackson, 24th

Wow. Not only did they secure Durant and Westbrook, they were smart enough to surround them with absolutely nothing and were able to absolutely steal another pick in the top five and select James Harden. Of all the nice things Sam Presti has done, his recognition of how to get superstars and worry about the rest later was by far the most brilliant little scheme he has been behind.

Let's look at the roster of the 2007-2008 Seattle Super Sonics during Durant's rookie year. This was the team they had just before they were able to get Westbrook by having such a great pick.

Here are the top ten players in terms of total minutes:

Durant, Earl Watson, Jeff Green, Nick Collison, Damien Wilkins, Chris Wilcox, Johan Petro, Luke Ridnour, Wally Sczcerbiak, and Kurt Thomas.

Smart move to keep the team bad, Sam.

Fast forward to 2008-2009 and let's take a look at the first Durant and Westbrook squad under the same terms. This is the group they had just before securing the pick which delivered them Harden.

Here are the top ten players in terms of total minutes:

Durant, Green, Westbrook, Collison, Watson, Kyle Weaver, Nenad Krstic, Desmond Mason, Wilcox, and Thabo Sefolosha.

The Thunder certainly are a team I'm envious of all the time. They realized that essentially nobody really matters other than the star players. Well, at least nobody matters until you get the stars.

They had solid players in Green, Ridnour, Collison and Krstic (at the time) to keep around if they really wanted. But the thing is while those guys are nice rotation players and definitely solid pieces they're not worth too much unless you've got a great core to put them with. Look how much more valuable Collison is to them than someone like the Cavs.

The trick for the Cavaliers current regime simply isn't to find random role players like Tristan Thompson and try to make him into a star. I'm a very positive guy and want to just have wishful thinking and hope that he'll be a ten-time All-Star and everything will be just dandy. But, I've watched the guy enough now to know he's just another player.

Trust me, he's not going to become even close to what we need next to Kyrie. Guys like Thompson and Alonzo Gee just to name two are great to have on our team. I absolutely hope and pray that they are on the next championship contending Cavaliers team because they can contribute to that. But what do they really matter to us if they just become starters and top four players on Kyrie Irving's mediocre teams if the Cavs don't acquire another All-Star potential young player?

While it's great that the Cavaliers have made some progress in the win column for those of you who care about that thing at this point, it's not really in the best interests of the franchise (yet).

Anyways, I've outlined a blueprint for you of what some other teams have done strategically when they had a talent on Irving's level in their grasps. Is it clear yet which model worked best?

It's certainly not popular to lose a bunch of games but it's pretty obvious that those tough seasons the Thunder fans endured set them up very, very well for the next 3-10 years.

Pretty soon I will be taking a deep look at what I think the Cavaliers need to do and what they failed to do in the first (and most crucial) year of having Kyrie Irving in town.

You're going to be fairly frustrated with what you hear.

Winning a bunch of games this year may be popular, but that hardly makes it right. Here's to 17-49.