The reality facing every team with an official selection is that the 2011 NBA Draft is a weak draft, and that’s especially bad news for those teams choosing at the top. Even armed with two of the top four selections overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers will not — according to writers like ESPN’s Chad Ford — walk away with a guaranteed impact prospect. And that is a good reason to change their draft strategy.
Of course, that’s not to say that none of this year’s draftees will become All-Stars or even MVPs. The history of every major sport is littered with certainties that bombed and underdogs who triumphed. Perhaps the next Dirk Nowitzki is hidden among the European bigs in this year’s draft lottery. It’s possible that Derrick Williams is the next elite scoring forward. Who knows, Kyrie Irving might turn out to be a franchise-changing point guard for the Cavs. But at this stage, no one is buying such talk.
The reality is that there are very good players to be had. Ford notes in his latest column that Irving and Williams sit at the Second Tier of his prospect tier list. Last year, only John Wall was a First Tier prospect. That’s the elite nature of the top tier. But when you’re a franchise in need of an impact player selecting two slots in a draft without one, then that changes things a bit.
The reality is that this draft class is strongest in one primary area: legitimate point guard options. The Cavs already have Ramon Sessions and Baron Davis in house. Of course, neither one is going to make an All-NBA team anytime soon, but a 19-win team has many holes and point guard isn’t the biggest need to address. The reality is that they’re stuck with at least Davis (given his contract) and Sessions could become a trade commodity depending on who they select.
The Cavs absolutely should select a point guard in this draft, but it should only come with their second selection. Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight and Kyrie Irving are all strong leaders at the point position and the Cavs are guaranteed one of them at the No 4 slot since Derrick Williams will also be chosen. It’s likely that both Knight and Walker will fall to No. 4 at least. But Williams is by far the best forward on draft boards and he’s there for the taking. And a scoring forward like Williams with a well-rounded game would be a great target for whoever their next point guard is.
If the Cavs can’t get the guaranteed impact player they desire, then the smartest move is to flow with the intersection of value and need. And that means a draft haul is Williams and Knight is more valuable in the long run than Enes Kanter and Irving.