Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Needs By Position

The fine people over at Bleacher Report have asked for my input on Cleveland's needs in the upcoming NBA draft. I have to admit that I'm stepping a little out of my comfort zone, as I didn't get much of a chance to follow college basketball or even the NBA much this year. I'd also love to have access to a basketball version of Cot's Baseball Contracts, but to my knowledge none exists. I do know the current Cavs roster however, and I do know Cleveland has only one pick: the 19th selection in the first round. With that said, here is my take on the Cavs' needs by position, in increasing order of need.

Small Forward: LeBron James has the position locked up, obviously. There's also Sasha Pavolvic and Wally Szczerbiak, borderline starters who are more than capable as backups.

Point Guard: Would it be great to add Gilbert Arenas, as rumors suggest? Of course. But at the same time, point guard is not a draft need. Delonte West is an adequate starter. Plus, the team already has two undersized shooting guards with borderline ball-handling skills in Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones. Undersized shooting guards are not in high demand in the NBA, so the last thing the Cavs need is to draft another short man only to find out he can't handle the point in the pros.

Center/Power Forward: Many analysts are looking towards the Cavs taking a center in the draft. But Cleveland already carries six post players on their roster. Yes, three of them (Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace, and Joe Smith) are in their mid-30s. Anderson Varejao's contract won't last forever. And Dwayne Jones and Lance Allred probably won't be stars. Sure, the Cavs need another scoring option in the post. But they only have one pick. If they had multiple picks, I'd be all for using one on depth and potential. The Cavs don't really have that luxury this year, though.

Shooting Guard: Cleveland has good talent. They made the NBA Finals last year, and were close to the conference finals this year. So an NBA Championship is a reasonable outcome. But history suggests that teams need at least two stars to make them a sure thing in the playoffs. Even team-first champions like Detroit and San Antonio had multiple stars. LeBron needs his second star, and the most reasonable place seems to be at shooting guard. The Cavs originally tried to make Larry Hughes that star, but it didn't work out. Is that start in the draft this year, and will he still be available at number 19? Or should the Cavs go in another direction with their pick?