One of the things I was most excited about this season for the Cleveland Cavaliers was the prospect of not worrying very much about the upcoming draft. The days of jockeying for more ping pong balls was to be a thing of the past.
And it sort of is. The Cavaliers spent a bunch of money on the roster in the offseason to improve the team, and it has mostly failed miserably. Undeterred, the team invested short term money and long term assets in a trade for Luol Deng. The Cavs are trying to win now. The results just aren't there quite yet.
Which brings us to Chad Ford's latest mock draft (Insider only), where the Cavaliers are currently slated to pick 6th. Cleveland, at the moment, has a 5.4% chance of winning the lottery and bringing in Joel Embiid or Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. That percentage is likely to go down as the addition of Luol Deng and the absence of Andrew Bynum continues; the Cavaliers still have 41 more games to play.
Still, it is interesting to see that Ford thinks the Cavaliers would be tempted by Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart. Smart is a sophomore that many thought would have been taken 2nd overall by the Orlando Magic had he determined to take his game to the pro level. Should he be selected 6th overall by the Cavs or another team, Smart will be compensated fairly, but there will definitely be some guaranteed money he misses out on.
But you don't really care about that. What would he bring to the Cavs? Why would they select another point guard with Kyrie Irving presumably a part of the Wine & Gold's foreseeable future? Ford offers some thoughts:
The Cavs have several offensive-minded players on a team that's coached by a guy who craves defense. Smart is an absolute terror on the defensive end and would be a lethal companion in the backcourt with Kyrie Irving. You can play two point guards when one of them, Smart, is built like a tank. Plus, he brings all the leadership qualities to the table that the Cavs desperately want and need. In short, after pulling his hair out with the likes of Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett, Mike Brown should establish at least a semblance of the defensive identity he craves with Smart's help.
Ford's reasoning here is pretty sound. Smart is strong and athletic and plays hard. The Cavaliers would benefit from his presence. There are obvious and immediate issues about what it would mean for Dion Waiters and his future with the team. And there are concerns about Smart's game as well. I am certainly not an expert on him, but scouts have serious questions about his shooting.
What do you guys think? I still think if Dion Waiters were so inclined he could be a defensive bulldog and provide better spot up shooting than Smart ever could. These things don't happen overnight, of course.