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FREE ADVICE FOR DAN GILBERT AND THE CAVALIERS; DON’T DRAFT KYRIE IRVING
Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Jun 23 2011 @ 8:53 am In NBA | No Comments
I am not the GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers. I am actually a writer that normally focuses on the Miami Heat. With that out in the open, it should also be made clear that my advice here is absolutely free of any kind of malicious intent. After all of the painful events of the past year, now the Cavs and their fans have a golden opportunity to rebuild their franchise. The NBA Draft takes place tonight and Cleveland holds both the #1 and #4 picks.
The popular thought nationally is that the Cavaliers should take, and will take Duke PG Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick. Mr Gilbert, don’t do it. Cleveland shouldn’t take Irving in the top spot and I would go as far as saying that they shouldn’t take him if he is still there at #4.
With the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, David Stern should announce that the Cleveland Cavaliers take forward Derrick Williams from Arizona. This guy is a beast and without question the premier front court player in this years draft. He is coming out as a sophmore who averaged 19.5 PPG with just over 8 RPG, while shooting over 60% from 2pt range. Williams played in 38 games for the Wildcats really looked strong in the NCAA Tournament.
When the Cavs get to choose a player three picks later, PG Kemba Walker will almost certainly be available. Walker, who led UConn to the National Title, averaged 23.5 PPG while also dishing out 4.5 assists per game. He played in 41 games and also managed to post 5.4 rebounds and 2 steals per contest. Kemba torched his competition in the Big East Tournament and was the most explosive player in the NCAA postseason. He is coming off a spectacular junior year.
Kyrie Irving played 11 games for Duke in his only season. His averages of 17.5 PPG and 4.3 APG are good, but this draft, as well as my opinion, is based on factors other than raw numbers. Most experts consider Irving the best PG prospect out there. That’s part of the issue at play here. The NBA has seen an explosion of talent at the point guard position over the past few years. Players like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Derrick Rose have led teams to covet a premier PG. Sometimes in professional sports, we get so caught up in trends that we forget to look at all the facts. Kyrie Irving might become a great player, but right now it seems like the “experts” are looking at what could be and ignoring what is.
Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker were not merely good in college, they were great. Thinking about the two of them on the same team is just ridiculous. In the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers would have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs and they would be a team on the rise for years to come. Cleveland has an unbelievably rare chance to get their PG/PF combo in the same draft. They could grab their Stockton/Malone, or Parker/Duncan right now. Will Walker/Williams be that good? Thats a lot to ask, but I guarantee you that they give the Cavs the best chance to succeed.
All of the major pro sports have stories about players that never hit their potential. Probably less than half of the guys drafted tonight will have good NBA careers. If I am building my team, I want guys who have proven themselves on the big stage. Both Williams and Walker have done that. They have elevated their games against top-flight competition. Some would say that Kyrie is a can’t miss prospect, but I don’t think an eleven game career is a big enough sample to see what the kid has mentally, even if his physical tools are elite. Mr Gilbert, choose well sir.
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