If there’s any dominant theme to the 2011 NBA Draft, it’s that it could be retitled “The Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2011 NBA Draft.” This is a one team show at the top of the draft with two picks in the top four for the NBA’s second worst franchise last season with 19 wins. With a major chance to address their weaknesses, apparently they’re willing to wait Ricky Rubio style for a player who won’t even be eligible to come over: Jonas Valanciunas.
The top of the draft has been set with the Cavs zeroing in on Kyrie Irving with the first overall selection. The Duke University point guard is generally considered the safest selection in the draft, so that’s not a major shock. As the Cavs move to some size in the middle with their second choice — the No. 4 overall selection — there have been several rumors from Tristan Thompson to Enes Kanter. But apparently it’s the one they must wait for who has Dan Gilbert and company so smitten.
Chad Ford updated his mock to reflect the same information and he writes:
The Cavs love Valanciunas, but do they love him enough to draft him even if he won’t be coming to the NBA right away? There are growing signals that they do. Valanciunas was in Cleveland on Tuesday meeting with Cavs brass. They conducted a physical and a workout as well which has seemingly calmed their fears.
Some compare Valanciunas to the Lakers’ Pau Gasol, and if that holds true, then the buyout is worth waiting for. The timeline on Valanciunas’ availability is apparently January at the earliest, so losing half a season really isn’t a big deal in the long run. Getting the best player is always worth it, and if the Cavs believe that’s their guy, then they need to go with their gut. Certainly getting a star point guard and an athletic scorer in the frontcourt. are major additions for a team in need. Just ask the champion Lakers and Mavericks how they feel about a scoring European big man.