The buzz surrounding the 2011 NBA Draft was never really about what the Cleveland Cavaliers should do rather than what they shouldn’t do. The hype leading up to the top 2 prospects Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams made me wonder whether Cleveland was clearly looking for one these guys to be their future or if they were being bullied to take someone because of the hype that comes with having the #1 pick. Either way you look at it, the Cavs PR Department is gonna have a heck of a time selling their fans on the idea that this year’s #1 PICK is the key to a resurrecting this franchise to be a Central Division powerhouse again.
KYRIE IRVING -DUKE
Cleveland’s pick of Kyrie Irving was predictable, yet senseless. Yes , Irving is versatile prospect. He’s a 6’2 combo guard whom many have considered him to have a smooth rhythmic flow to his game. He has underrated quickness, and does possess a high basketball IQ to help manage the game, but he is not a true-scoring point guard. I don’t believe he has the ability to just take over a game when-needed and unless he has that dynamic scorer to play along side with , he will be asked to create shots rather than direct and facilitate. He only has 11 games under his belt on the collegiate level, and so some would wonder if whether his 190 lb frame can carry the burden of uplifting this struggling franchise who just watched their ” Chosen One” take his “talents” to South Beach a season ago. The critics say this may be too daunting a task for an 18 year old kid. The question isn’t whether he is capable of handling that burden, but rather is he the “guy” to handle this burden, and quite frankly I do not see it in him to command the respect and will of a team when faced with these adversities that Cleveland faces. If nothing else, Kyrie may have been spoiled playing for coach Mike Krzyzewski. Playing under a successful college program does not guarantee that the star athlete will know to win in the NBA. I’m not sold that Kyrie will be ready to handle the type of losses this team will sustain in 2011. The Cavs have gone through a bevy of guards in the last 3 years and its clear that the PG position will not be the position that will sustain success for that organization. There has only been one guard during the Cleveland Franchises who has sparkled and made a name for that team, and his name was Mark Price. You will not see Mark Price in Kyrie Irving. Under the Byron Scott regime, you will not see Chris Paul come out of Kyrie Irving, and even at best Kyrie Irving will not be the dynamic face of this Cavalier organization in years to come. He can be a dynamic guard who can lead a team with steady play. He will not be a 20 pt , 10 ast kind of player. At best he may give you 15 pts and 5 ast per game, and if this is going to make Clevelanders jump up and down in emphatic galore over having this #1 pick, expect to see the moving trucks in 5 years time. The Cavs probably should’ve traded down to pick up some quality players with future draft picks where the talent pool is less murky unlike this year’s. Get a couple of veteran players whom can come in and help this team win relevant games to keep Cleveland fans coming to the arena. Lets face it, this franchise will be on a downward trend for the next few years and unless they turn this around; if they are basically saying to the Cleveland Cavalier community that this is a rebuilding process, drafting Kyrie Irving as your #1 is basically telling the city of Cleveland, “BUNKER DOWN” this is gonna be a long one.
One questionable pick by Cleveland is bad, but to then take Tristan Thompson as your #4 had me absolutely baffled. Tristan Thompson is completely “raw”. At 6′ 8″ 233 he’s a younger JJ Hickson. He will not make an immediate impact on a struggling Cavalier’s team who only won 19 games last year, when previous to that amassed over 120 wins in the 2 seasons before. Picking up Thompson this early in the draft basically is saying that they are willing to listen to offers to move Hickson. Last season, however, Hickson’s inconsistency really put up red flags to other organizations to be completely sold on whether he will pan out as solid NBA player which severely lessens likelihood that a straight up trade can be made favoring the Cavs. Any deal involving Hickson could wind up having the Cavs give up more than they’d like thus really scrutinizing the logic in the drafting of Thompson. If Cleveland couldn’t get it right with Hickson, what makes them think think they’ll figure it out with Thompson?
Choosing Thompson is putting an insurmountable amount of pressure on the development coaches, to help this kid find his game. He can be defensive juggernaut if guided correctly, with a moderate offensive game, which is a complete downgrade when you had a versatile three-four guy in Lebron James. The benchmark of Tristan’s development will be truly tested in the Eastern Conference, preferably in the Central Division. If the Cavs go to a smaller line-up, he may flourish in the 4-5 spot, however he’ll need to improve his rebounding skills, and post presence because Jamison will be the primary wing player in the offensive scheme. Thompson will be an offensive liability on the floor when fouled. He shoots an abysmal 48% from the free throw line. The quickness of the 3-4 position maybe too much for him to grasp over the next 3-4 years and will primarily be another body Byron can use for 6 fouls unless he finds a way to put it all together. With the eventual lockout looming, expect Thompson’s development to take an extreme bump in the road as well. For a top #5 pick in an NBA Draft, this was too risky a move to have been made.
It was only 2 months ago Cleveland was jumping up and down in emphatic glee that they had the #1 pick, but when you look at the talent in this year’s draft, there are so many players with too many question marks to their game and how they will translate to being a successful NBA star or player for that matter. This draft didn’t really show the potential future of the NBA, but rather has properly exposed struggling franchises like the Cleveland Cavaliers, that changes need to be made to make more sound and proper decisions across the board, to build a successful organization and sustain it.
About the Author
Written by Cal Lee
An Avid follower of all sports. Played Athletics in High School and College. Baseball is my favorite sport, but am very much in tune with Football, Basketball. Currently covering major sporting events, and aspiring to be involved in Sports Entertainment through a Media Capacity. Currently Media Correspondent/Contributor for CBS Interactive GameCore