I shouldn’t have to say this, but let’s give a warm and sarcastic congratulations to Cleveland. The Cavaliers have now won the number one overall pick two years in a row and in three out of the last four years. On top of that, they had the fourth pick in both 2011 and 2012. To put it simply, if the Cavs start the player that they get in this year’s draft, their entire first unit would be made up of top-five athletes.
So, besides the rest of the NBA being bent over from this lottery outcome, what does this pick mean? It means the Cavs have another chance to either grab a good player like Kyrie Irving, or completely embarrass themselves again.
I’m sure we all remember the players they passed up in recent years such as Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson, just to name a few. Instead, the team lucked out and drafted the incredible Tristan Thompson and amazing Anthony Bennett. Along with those great moves, they signed/dropped Andrew Bynum and traded big for Luol Deng, who is now a free agent. All while failing to make theplayoffs since King James left.
Lucky enough for the Cavs, this draft is possibly more stacked than the 2003 draft which consisted of Miami’s big three and Carmelo Anthony. What this means is that if Cleveland decides to keep its pick, it will be pretty hard to take another bust with all these promising young players to choose from.
Everyone from random enthusiasts to big time analysts are saying that the number one overall pick in this draft will be Kansas’s Andrew Wiggins, but in my opinion, that’s their third best option.
Wiggins is a good player without a doubt, but his subpar college performance showed his youth and inexperience at the next level. In addition to that, he isn’t the greatest fit into the system of the Cavaliers, especially if Deng were to stay.
The team’s second best option would be to take Joel Embiid or Jabari Parker. The Cavs struggle at both the SF and C positions on both sides of the ball. Parker would help offensively, which the team needs as it was 22nd in scoring last year, but he could be a burden on defense.
Embiid could prove to be a huge help on defense as long as the seven-footer works on his speed a bit. He averaged 2.6 blocks last year and played excellent post defense to go with it. Joel is the best pick for the Cavs if they decide to draft, but trading this pick would truly be the most effective.
Minnesota knows Kevin Love is leaving next year and they’re looking for a deal. The Cavs could consider bundling the pick and possibly Dion Waiters to bring in K-Love, which would surely draw Deng back in as well. Kyrie, Deng, Love, and two top picks sound good to me. Maybe that will break the King James curse.
Now, it is annoying that Cleveland received the top pick again, but with the talent in this draft, other teams shouldn’t hang their heads by any means. In fact, the team that should be the most excited is the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the third pick.
With the two Jayhawks probably going first, Philly will likely have the option of Coach K’s Jabari Parker, who can easily complement the team. He would join reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams (another player whom Cleveland passed up) and Nerlens Noel, who will make his real debut this year. This young combination will ensure they never have another terrible slide like they did in the second half of last season.
Another pair of teams that can strive if they play their cards right are the Lakers and Celtics. These two rivals can work together to make a blockbuster trade with their 6th and 7th picks. The Celtics could help build their franchise by adding a veteran in like Kevin Love in exchange for their pick as well as dish Rajon Rondo to the Lakers for their pick.
The Celtics would receive an all-star and likely draft Marcus Smart and the Lakers would receive Rondo who helps them in their “win now” situation. With Kobe being re-signed, it’s clear they aren’t trying to build with an incoming rookie. If neither team were to trade, they could still be looking at drafting Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Smart, who would best fit both teams.
The team that undoubtedly got burned the most was the Detroit Pistons. In a trade with the Bobcats a few years ago, Detroit received a minimally protected first round pick in this year’s draft. This meant that if the Pistons got a top-eight pick, they could keep it for themselves, and if they didn’t, it would belong to Charlotte. The Pistons received the 9th pick on Tuesday night.
This draft will definitely be one for the league to remember and although things may seem bad for your team now, don’t worry yourself in the slightest. This is the NBA Draft — we never know what insanity is going to unfold.
A version of this article appeared on page 7 of May 22, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo courtesy of www.sportslogos.net.