2011 NBA Draft: Cavs Receiving Passing Grades, But Did They Do Enough?

The Cavaliers made the most of the lottery process, winning the first and fourth overall picks. For more on the Cavs, please visit Fear The Sword.

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2011 NBA Draft Results: Cavaliers' Picks Were 'Defensive'

Cavaliers' head coach Byron Scott explained Cleveland's strategy in last Thursday's NBA Draft in this column on Cleveland.com via Terry Pluto

The main reason for taking Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson?

"Defense," said the Cavs coach. "We must get better on defense."

Scott sees some similarities in Irving and New Orleans' Chris Paul. In discussing Irving, Scotttalked about Irving's:

"court vision ... his change of pace dribble ... his crossover dribble ... his ability to run a team ... and he can flat-out shoot."

Changing gears to discuss Thompson, Scott said:

"He can defend the post, and he can defend the pick-and-roll out on the court," said the coach. "He wants every rebound. He blocks shots. We consider him the best running big man in the draft, meaning he can get a defensive rebound -- and then get down the court for a dunk."

Scott said that the Cavaliers would work with Thompson to improve on Thompson's 49% free-throw shooting, noting that the Cavs "must rebound better. We must defend better. We must be physical. He (Thompson) can help us get there.

I recommend the entire article for further insight into the thought-process behind the selections that simultaneously made the fanbase happy and scratching their heads.

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2011 NBA Draft: Cavs Receiving Passing Grades, But Did They Do Enough?

Ah, the day after, when Draft Grades abound, Buyer's Remorse is a way of life, and the Walk Of Shame seems to follow David Kahn wherever he goes. A time where pundits prognosticate harder than Punxsutawney Phil starting at his little groundhog shadow.

Which isn't to say getting sucked in is bad...fans are excited and want to see their shiny new toys on the hardwood. But with the season still in jeopardy, and the Cavs still owners of the same chips that they arguably were shopping around on Draft Night, no matter what grade Cleveland receives or deserves, a more appropriate score is: incomplete.

That said, others are more inclined to assign a value (rightfully so, I suppose), and for the most part, the experts are lukewarm at worst about the Cleveland Cavaliers 2011 Draft, one that wasn't full of the fireworks initially expected, but still netted the point guard of the future.

SB Nation kicks off the grades with a B, praising the Kyrie Irving pick, but echoing concerns about Tristan Thompson's future position and his "project" tag. It is good to note that Tom Ziller at least had heard of Milan Macvan, something that couldn't be said for ESPN and their Cast of Clowns.

Perhaps Thompson was the pick all along -- it just doesn't remotely seem that way, and Cleveland management wasn't convincing in their comments late Thursday. Thompson's as much a project as Valanciunas at a lesser position. It could work out famously, or Jonas could thrive in Toronto while Thompson plugs away. We'll see. I think Valanciunas is the better prospect at No. 4.

I can't say I disagree here, but there is more to it than just who is the better prospect, I suppose. Jonas wasn't going to make it over to the USA (allegedly) until the 2012-13 season, his contract is reportedly a mess and he needs a lot of seasoning. Plus, I still believe halfheartedly that the Cavs aren't done. The Bobcats were enthralled with Thompson, and this whole thing is too eerie for it to just be the end result. Something seems off. Maybe we really have seen the last of J.J. Hickson in a Cavs uniform. I'm just not sure. We'll know more in the coming days.

Matt Moore of CBS Sports doesn't assign a specific grade, but gives the Cavs a gold star and a "winners" tag.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Irving is mostly a case of winning by default, but they wouldn't have been the first team to be unable to get out of their own way with an obvious pick. Irving gives them a franchise point guard to build around and was the best player overall in this draft. Going for Derrick Williams would have been sheer hubris in order to burn LeBron by choosing a replacement forward. Then, with the fourth, they could have opted for Valanciunas, which would have been a good pick. But there's a reason so many teams were chasing Tristan Thompson. His workouts showed how he would translate on the next level, and with that kind of athleticism, he provides a good running partner for Irving. They managed to not overcomplicate the combination of two top-five picks. They got good talent both small and big. That's a win right there.

Maybe Moore himself is oversimplifying a bit. But, I do see what he's saying. Size and speed. I get it. But, the PF mess is the issue. If the Cavs go into camp with a million power forwards and no true center, while continuing to have the arguably the worst wings in the history of the NBA, that's a problem.

Chad Ford is throwing out the highest grade I've seen so far for Cleveland: A-. At the end of the day, the Cavs leveraged Mo Williams and the willingness to take on a bloated contract for the number one pick in the draft. That cannot be understated. And they used that pick to select the best player on the board. That's good for major points no matter what else happens.

On the Cavs SB Nation blog, Fear The Sword, Conrad K posed the question to the fanbase at large, and results are largely...mixed. Everyone is pretty much universally sold on the Irving pick, but some fans are upset that the team didn't do more during the draft, and the Thompson question mark has soured others. Not to mention the head-scratching selection of Harper and gut reaction trade for two future second-rounders.

When the dust settles, I think the picture will become a lot more clear. The Cavs aren't done. The TPE has another week's shelf life, the stable of PFs will sort itself out in time, and the pieces of Ramon Sessions, Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison's expiring deal are all realistic trade assets. The Cavs will get a grade in due time, but right now, let's just consider them having received an extension on their Final Exam.

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Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Picks 2011: Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson Usher In New Era

The Cleveland Cavaliers selected guard Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick, forward Tristan Thompson with the fourth overall pick and forward Milan Macvan with the 54th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. The Cavaliers also traded the draft rights of Justin Harper, the 32nd overall pick, to the Orlando Magic in exchange for two future second-round picks (2013 and 2014).

"We feel absolutely fantastic about the two guys (Irving and Thompson) we added to our team. They are both players that were at the top of our board the entire season," said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. "They are both young players that have the character, integrity and the make-up that fits what we want our young men to have on this team."

Irving, 19, played in 11 games this season with the Duke Blue Devils, averaging 17.5 points on .529 shooting, including .462 shooting from three-point range, 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 27.5 minutes per game. The 6-foot-2 point guard started the first eight games of the season, scoring 16 or more points in five of the eight games, including a 31-point, six-rebound and four-assist effort versus Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Irving suffered a right toe injury that caused him to miss 26 consecutive games before returning in the NCAA Tournament. In the Sweet 16 versus Arizona, Irving scored a team-high 28 points on 9-15 shooting (.600) while adding three assists in 31 minutes.

As a senior in high school, Irving was named a McDonald's All-American and a First Team All-American by Parade Magazine and USA Today. He also helped the U.S. under-18 (U-18) National Team earn the gold medal in the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship.

Thompson, 20, was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year after averaging 13.1 points on .546 shooting, team highs of 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game in 36 games. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward posted a season-high 26 points on 9-14 shooting (.643), 10 rebounds and three blocks in 37 minutes versus Kansas State and collected a career-best 15 rebounds and 17 points in 38 minutes versus Michigan State.

As a high school senior, he earned McDonald's All-America honors and was selected a member of the World Select Team, representing his native Canada, at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit.

Macvan, 21, split the 2010-11 season with Serbian club Hemofarm and Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel-Aviv. He has extensive experience overseas, playing professionally in Serbian and Adriatic leagues since the 2007-08 season. The 6-foot-9 forward was named the ULEB Eurocup Rising Star in 2008-09 and has competed for Serbia's senior and junior national teams. He led the World Select Team to a 97-89 victory over the U.S. Junior Select Team at the 2009 Nike Hoop Summit with a game-high 23 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and one block.

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2011 NBA Draft Update: Cleveland Cavaliers Select Milan Macvan With the 54th Pick

Well, the Cavaliers clearly don’t want a lot of rookies on their roster, and it looks like they will be sticking with the two top five picks, because in the second round, they selected Serbian forward Milan Macvan.

Macvan is a 6’9" 265 pound forward who is called “tough as nails” by NBA Euro scout Fran Fraschilla. A 21-year old who has an NBA ready body and is a solid post player. If the Cavaliers can lure him over, he might be a nice addition.

NBADraft.net compares him to Brian Cardinal, who recently won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks as a reserve.

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2011 NBA Draft Update: Cleveland Cavaliers Select Justin Harper With the 32nd Pick

**UPDATE** The Cleveland Cavaliers have traded the rights to Justin Harper to the Orlando Magic for two future second round picks

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The Cavaliers continue to add quality talent in this year’s draft, getting one of the best shooting big men in the nation near the top of the second round in Richmond forward Justin Harper.

Harper is a poor man’s Kevin Durant who can really stroke the ball and score seemingly at will and from distance. He is a better defender than he’s given credit, but the knock on him is that he lacks toughness.

This was a great pick by the Cavs, and Harper can play either the three or the four position, and will give them shooting off the bench.

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2011 NBA Draft Update: Cleveland State's Norris Cole Selected by Miami HEAT

The Chicago Bulls made the 28th selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, but the picks rights were held by Minnesota who traded the rights to the pick to the Miami Heat, who selected Cleveland State point guard Norris Cole.

If your brain doesn’t hurt like mine, then a big round of applause for you. In what has been one of the most confusing drafts I have seen, especially since none of these trades have been finalized.

So, the Cleveland State product will take his talents to South Beach. Cole has been compared to New York’s Tony Douglas, and he will play the role of distributor to the big three in Miami. Congratulations to Cole and to Cleveland State.

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2011 NBA Draft: Cleveland Cavs Take Tristan Thompson With the Fourth Overall Pick

**UPDATE**

The Cavaliers are keeping Thompson, and some feel that could mean the end for J.J. Hickson. The Cavs selected a really nice young duo with their first two picks, and have begun to rebuild the core of their team that has seemingly disappeared since LeBron ditched them during "the decision." Thompson should be the Cavs' starting three next year, whenever that begins.

***

The Cleveland Cavaliers continued their rebuilding process by selecting Texas forward Tristan Thompson. The Big 12 Freshman of the year was definitely a pick out of left field, but he’s a great athlete with a long wingspan who is a great offensive rebounder.

Thompson is a 20 year old from Ontario, Canada, and the Cavs selected him over Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas, who was scheduled to play in Europe for at least one more year.

There are rumors that the Cavs could be trading this pick, but for now, Cleveland made the freshman phenom the highest drafted Canadian player of all time.

Again, there are reports that this pick could be heading to Detroit or Charlotte, but that is likely depending on who falls to them at those respective slots. It’s possible the Cavs still had eyes for Jonas Valanciunas. Stay tuned.

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2011 NBA Draft: Cleveland Cavs Take Kyrie Irving With the First Overall Pick

The Cleveland Cavaliers began their immense rebuilding project after the LeBron James era by selecting Duke point guard Kyrie Irving. A 6’3" 191 pound 19-year old, Irving committed to the Blue Devils as probably the best point guard in high school basketball.

Battling injuries, Irving only played in 11 games last year, but Jay Bilas on ESPN said that in those 11 games, he was the best point guard in the nation.

Irving is a very skilled player who is considered a “true” point guard, but he’s a fantastic shooter. He was a 46 percent shooter from beyond the arc, and he was 90 percent from the free throw line as well.

The newest member of the Cavs says he is looking forward to getting to Cleveland, and he will have a great fan base to turn to, and won’t skip a beat coming from a Duke program whose players have had success, but only two have won NBA titles. Irving hopes to buck that trend.

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2011 NBA Draft: Cavs And Others Making Final Preparations

With the 2011 NBA Draft just hours away, teams are scrambling to work the phones and complete their draft boards. Final scouting reports and information is coming out on possible lottery players, and trades are within range, but not yet completed. Needless to say, Cavs fans are scouring the interwebs for any and all news before Cleveland is on the clock. 

So what are some of the top stories to keep an eye on?

  • With the news that the Cavaliers value both Jonas Valanciunas and Tristan Thompson very highly, Chad Ford echoed what has been thought since the Draft Order came out--that the Cavs are very inclined to work their way back into the Top Ten. The best way to do it? Using the TPE that Cleveland received in the "trade" with Miami involving Lebron James a year ago.
  • Cult favorite Bismack Biyombo's meteoric rise into the Lottery hit a snag today when Andy Katz announced that he has roughly a $1.5 million buyout.

Sources said Biyombo's name was on a list sent out by the NBA Wednesday detailing players who were subject to a buyout. Teams have investigated and concluded that Biyombo would owe roughly $1.5 million, possibly equal to his NBA rookie contract, to get out of his deal with Spanish team Fuenlabrada.

Sources said the buyout figure could be negotiated, but the matter also could end up in court.

That sum is definitely not enough to keep a team sold on Biyombo from drafting the 18-year-old forward, but it may give pause. As it stands now, Biyombo is expected to go somewhere in the 7-12 range.

  • Although it's been long assumed Kyrie Irving will hear his name called at number one, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, nothing's done yet:

It is 3:45 p.m., on draft day, and Kyrie Irving still hasn't been told by the Cavaliers that they plan to choose him with the No. 1 pick.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

 

  • Wojnarowski also explored the possibility of a deal with the Bobcats netting the Cavs the ninth and Bobcats' 19th pick. The Cavs want Jonas, but with Detroit and the Kings in the mix for the Lithuanian, the deal would be a gamble at this point.
  • Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio thinks that the Cavs and Wizards could make a deal--if Enes Kanter is still on the board at pick four.

The talks with Washington seem to be very real. The supposed deal? The Cavs trade the fourth pick to the Wizards for the sixth and 18th. It may not happen until both teams see if Turkish center Enes Kanter is still on the board at No. 4. That is who the Wizards want.

I'd love this deal for the Cavs, as it would give them more flexibility to draft Jonas if they think he'll slip past five...or Tristan Thompson, who assuredly should still be on the board at that point as well.

  • Oh, yeah, and it seems the trades have begun:

 

Milwaukee has a three-way deal with Charlotte and Sacramento, sources say.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Details are still rolling in, but according to Chad Ford, the deal looks like this:

Milwaukee Bucks receive Beno Udrih, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the 19th pick.

Charlotte Bobcats receive the seventh pick and Corey Maggette.

Sacramento Kings receive the 10th pick and John Salmons.

 

Hold on tight. Here we go.

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2011 NBA Draft Live: Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Party, TV Schedule, Draft Order

Tonight's the night for hungry Cleveland Cavaliers' fans wanting to forget the LeBron James-era. The Cavaliers have two of the first four picks and need to hit a grand slam with both. Here's all the information you need to get your Draft fix this year.

OFFICIAL CAVALIERS NBA DRAFT PARTY: The Cavaliers Official 2011 NBA Draft Party on Thursday, June 23rd tips off at 6:00 p.m. for a night of fun and festivities with the Cavaliers Game Entertainment Team and draft night coverage with Cavaliers Legends Austin Carr and Campy Russell and play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod LIVE from the FOX Sports Ohio Stage at Quicken Loans Arena.

Starting at 6:45 p.m. and throughout the night, the insightful trio of Carr, Russell and McLeod will provide exclusive in-depth analysis on the 2011 Draft prospects. There will be live updates on Q Tube (the arena's four-sided center-hung video board) from Cleveland Clinic Courts where General Manager Chris Grant will be coordinating the draft. 

Concession stands will be open with a variety of food and refreshment options, including $1 dogs and $1 sodas! Entertainment, interactive games and contests for the whole family will take place on The Q's concourse and arena floor - AND all fans who come out to the Draft Party will receive a numbered "lottery ball" for the opportunity to win prizes!

TV VIEWING:  Can't make it down to The Q?  No problem!  ESPN will be handling TV duties for the 2011 NBA Draft and will get their coverage underway at 7:00PM.  The first pick is schedule to be made at or around 7:30PM et, so be sure you have your eyes on who the Cavaliers believe can help carry them into the next era of Cavaliers basketball.

DRAFT ORDER:  This is subject to change, of course, with all the talk of trades leading up to the Draft.  When it all starts, however, this is the way the first round will look:

1 Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers)[a]
2 Minnesota Timberwolves
3 Utah Jazz (from New Jersey)[b]
4 Cleveland Cavaliers
5 Toronto Raptors
6 Washington Wizards
7 Sacramento Kings
8 Detroit Pistons
9 Charlotte Bobcats
10 Milwaukee Bucks
11 Golden State Warriors
12 Utah Jazz
13 Phoenix Suns
14 Houston Rockets
15 Indiana Pacers
16 Philadelphia 76ers
17 New York Knicks
18 Washington Wizards (from Atlanta)[c]
19 Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans via Portland)[d]
20 Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Utah)[e]
21 Portland Trail Blazers
22 Denver Nuggets
23 Houston Rockets (from Orlando via Phoenix)[f]
24 Oklahoma City Thunder
25 Boston Celtics
26 Dallas Mavericks
27 New Jersey Nets (from L.A. Lakers)[g]
28 Chicago Bulls (from Miami via Toronto)[h]
29 San Antonio Spurs
30 Chicago Bulls

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2011 NBA Draft Order: Cleveland Cavaliers Have Four Picks In 2011 NBA Draft

Who knows what might happen between now and the end of the 2011 NBA Draft tonight.  When it begins, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have a total of four picks in the Draft, though there has been plenty of talk as of late that the Cavaliers could be looking to move up, move down, and even buy a pick later in the first round.

Let's take a look at when - and where - the Cavaliers will make their selections in tonight's NBA Draft.

FIRST ROUND

#1 Overall - By now everyone knows the Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery and will have the #1-overall pick.  We also are pretty sure - as sure as you can be in the high-stakes poker game that is the NBA Draft - that the Cavaliers will use the selection on Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.  Irving has the biggest upside of any player in the Draft, and the Cavaliers have had a glaring weakness at the point since the days of Mark Price - at least it seems that way.

#4 Overall - The Cavaliers also have the #4-overall pick, though the talent pool seems to shrink immensely by the time the fourth pick comes along.  The Cavaliers need to add size to the front court, but the talent that could be available will be young and raw or international.  In both cases, the Cavaliers would likely NOT see any return on their investment until 2012-13 at the earliest.    That's the reason we have heard rumblings that the Cavaliers would like to trade this pick for a young, NBA-ready player.  Easier said than done.

SECOND ROUND

#2(#32-Overall) - The Cavaliers also own a couple of picks in the 2nd Round and as we've seen in the past, you can get some solid value early in the 2nd Round.  The Cavaliers could have their pick of players like JaJuan Johnson from Purdue, Chandler Parsons from Florida or even Norris Cole from Cleveland State.  This would be a good time to pick up an athletic wing player.

#24(#54 Overall) - The scouting department really earns their money here.  By this point in the Draft, the Cavaliers will likely find a athletic player that has little else to their game.  Their best best would be to find someone who can play defense at a NBA-level, even if the rest of their game isn't up to par. A home-grown kid, like David Lighty from Ohio State, would be a nice pickup here as well.

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2011 NBA Mock Draft: SB Nation's Latest Has Cavs Selecting Irving, Kanter

Tom Ziller is back mocking the NBA Draft for SB Nation, and his latest projection has the Cleveland Cavaliers taking two pretty familiar faces in Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter.

There had been some recent talk that the Cavs weren’t so sure on who they would be selecting with their top overall pick, and Arizona’s Derrick Williams was brought in for a second workout. According to Williams, he has only had three workouts, and the Cavs were two of them.

Still, Ziller thinks the Cavs are set on Irving, and the day before the draft, here is his analysis:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, G, Duke

Surprise surprise! All that smoke about picking another dude at No. 1 was a ploy to boost the value of No. 4! I’m shocked!

The Cavs have recently been talked about in trade rumors for the fourth overall pick, and if Enes Kanter is on the board, that pick becomes more attractive. Certainly, the Cavs can choose to keep the pick for themselves if Kanter is available, and in this mock draft, that’s where he lands:

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey

This is the one spot on the board where Jonas Valanciunas’ NBA delay actually clarifies matters … assuming that the Jazz don’t take Kanter.

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NBA Trade Rumors and Rumblings: Steve Nash and Tony Parker on the Move?

With only one day until the annual NBA Draft, you can really expect the trade rumors and rumblings to heat up. Teams are calling others about their respective picks and players, and some big names are being floated about. Here is the latest from around the NBA:

Tony Parker is reportedly being offered in exchange for a lottery draft pick this year. The first team I immediately thought of that both needs a point guard and loves European players is the Toronto Raptors, who pick at five overall. Not to my surprise, the Raptors were among the teams reportedly interested, as well as the Sacramento Kings, who pick seventh.

It’s unclear who the Spurs would be targeting, though Doug Gottleib on ESPN opined that they could be looking to jump up for Jonas Valanciunas, the Lithuanian big man who is rumored to be falling because of his buyout situation in Europe.

The Phoenix Suns are apparently doing their very best to land Arizona forward Derrick Williams. They have reportedly offered Minnesota Marcin Gortat and the 13th pick for the rights to draft Williams, and now a rumor has floated through that they offered point guard Steve Nash. Nash wants to be on a title contender, and Minnesota certainly is not that, and the report on ESPN reads that both teams came to a “mutual conclusion” that such a deal could not work. So, in essence, this is non-news.

Glen Davis of the Boston Celtics apparently wants a bigger role or he wants a trade:

“If it’s not what I think I can be, and somebody else sees me as a person who can be what I think I can be, then you’ve got to go somewhere else. Doc is Doc. He has his ways and that’s it. If he sees me as something, that’s how he sees me. If I’m still here with the Celtics, then I will play that role.”

The Atlanta Hawks have reportedly put power forward Josh Smith on the trading block, and it appears as though they might get some feelers. While no teams have come out and expressed interest, a natural fit would be in Orlando, where Smith could play with his buddy Dwight Howard (at least for a year).

ESPN analyst Tom Haberststroh doesn’t see Orlando in the mix right now, but he thinks there will be teams ready to make offers for the big man:

“Josh Smith could be a defensive player of the year under the right coach and program. Teams that could be looking to add a power forward are the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and New Orleans Hornets.”

The 76ers continue to dangle guard/forward Andre Iguodala, who has likely played his final game in a Sixers uniform. Philadelphia has been rumored to be talking about a deal with the LA Clippers for Chris Kaman, which works in terms of salary, but seems like more of a salary dump for Philly than they probably want to do.

The Washington Wizards really like Turkish center Enes Kanter, and they are willing to pay up for him. Reportedly, they are interested in a potential trade with Cleveland, provided Kanter is on the board. The proposed trade would send the sixth and 18th picks to the Cavs, and the 4th pick to the Wizards. Washington would then select Kanter, and the Cavs could look to a guy like Kawhi Leonard with the 6th pick, and possibly a shooting guard or big man with the 18th pick.

The Grizzlies are not expected to make any trades on draft day, particularly as it pertains to shooting guard OJ Mayo, a player that has drawn interest. The Grizzlies nearly dealt Mayo to Indiana at the trade deadline for Josh McRoberts and picks, but the trade was not filed in time and it never went through. Now that the bar has been set, Memphis can’t get a satisfactory offer for Mayo and likely will keep him.

Continue to check back to SB Nation Cleveland for updates on the Cavs and the NBA Draft.

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2011 NBA Mock Draft: Chad Ford's Mock Draft 6.0 Nets Cavs Irving, Kanter

Chad Ford put up his sixth mock draft of the season for those of you who have ESPN Insider, and he has two pretty familiar faces heading to the Cavaliers as far as mock drafts go. Right now, it seems like everyone is questioning the Kyrie Irving to Cleveland selection, as they should be. I don’t think Irving is worthy of the top pick, and the Cavs recently had Derrick Williams in for a visit, as they should to cover all bases.

Ford is sticking to his guns and putting Irving to the Cavaliers with the top overall pick, but he doesn’t seem quite as sure as he has in the past. Here is his analysis:

Analysis: Two days before the draft, the Cavs are still claiming they haven’t made up their mind. ESPN’s Ric Bucher reported the Cavs had settled on Irving on Monday, but while the report was running on the ticker, owner Dan Gilbert was meeting with Derrick Williams in Cleveland.

While sources continue to point toward Irving’s being the No. 1 pick, Williams’ camp is holding out hope that it has a chance. Could the Cavs still have concerns about Irving’s toe? Or are they worried that at No. 4 they can’t get a solid big man?

With the Cavs’ second first round pick, Ford acknowledges that Cleveland is in a precarious position with the fourth pick. They like Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas in that slot, but his buyout makes it almost imossible for them to use that pick on him when he won’t even be in the NBA next year. Ford says the Cavs are looking to possibly trade the pick, but that if they end up making the selection with the players available, the pick will be Turkish big man Enes Kanter, a risky but high upside pick. Here is Ford’s analysis:

Analysis: We had Jonas Valanciunas in this position last week. But on Monday, we reported Valanciunas’ buyout with his team in Lithuania would prohibit him from coming to the NBA next season.

The Cavs love Valanciunas, but do they love him enough to draft him even if he won’t be coming to the NBA next season? I doubt it at No. 4. The Cavs have been exploring a number of trade possibilities to move down a few spots in the draft. If they stay here, I think Kanter is their guy.

The NBA Draft is merely two days away. Will the Cavs make the right decisions?

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NBA Draft 2011: Cavaliers To Select Kyrie Irving With First Pick, According To Report

The Cleveland Cavaliers will select Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, according to ESPN's Ric Bucher, citing "league sources." The Cavs looked around the league to see if Irving might still be available when they pick again at no. 4, but when it became clear the Minnesota Timberwolves (no. 2) or Utah Jazz (no. 3) wouldn't let the Duke point guard slip past them, they committed to taking Irving first.

Irving, 19, averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.5 steals in his lone season at Duke, shooting an impressive 52.9 percent from the floor, 46.2 percent on threes, and 90.1 percent at the foul line. His apparently imminent arrival would seem to make either of incumbent Cleveland point guards Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions expendable.

With the fourth pick, the Cavaliers could select Enes Kanter, if still available. Cleveland had the Turkish center in for another workout on Monday, though it's possible Minnesota or Utah could snap him up first, given their own needs on the front line.

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Cavaliers Reported To Be Trying To Land No. 2 Pick To Go With Top Choice

According to this story from ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Cavaliers are in negotiations to try to acquire the second pick in the NBA draft to complement the first pick that Cleveland already owns.

League sources are saying that the Cavs are talking to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Pistons about a three-team deal that would make the daily-double of draft picks a reality.

The centerpiece of the deal would be the Cavaliers absorbing Richard Hamilton of the Pistons into the trade exception received last year in the LeBron James sign-and-trade, and Cleveland getting Detroit's number eight pick, and then completing the deal by sending that eighth pick and the Cavs' number four selection to the Timberwolves for Minnesota's current second pick.

Cleveland, according to the report, would then buy out the remaining two years of Hamilton's contract, making him a free agent.

A potential stumbling block would be if the Pistons nixed the deal, Detroit is said to be possibly looking for players in return for the deal to be done.

The sources said that -- if the deal gets done and Cleveland indeed gets both of the first two picks -- the Cavaliers would take Duke point guard Kyle Irving first, and Arizona forward Derrick Williams second.

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2011 NBA Draft Lottery: Where Drama Happens

If you think the story of a 14-year old with a health condition representing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery when the team improves their draft prospects by winning the rights to the #1 overall pick has the makings of a Hollywood movie, you're not the only one.  For Cavaliers fans, the outcome of tonight's Lottery is a summer blockbuster.  For the Minnesota Timberwolves, however, it's a movie with an all to familiar ending.

Wolves general manager David Kahn said he knew Minnesota was 'toast' when it came down to a final three of the Wolves, Utah Jazz and the Cavaliers.

"This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines," Kahn said. "Last year it was Abe Pollin's widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: 'We're toast.' This is not happening for us and I was right."

Sounds like a bit of sour grapes, and besides, how many point guards does one team need anyway?

As for the Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert feels the Wine and Gold are now headed in the right direction.

"We have some very good, young talent and we got a couple of great players hurt early or in the middle of the year and they are coming back," Gilbert said. "We have some great talent and hopefully who we pick up at 1 and 4 and I just can't believe this is really happening."

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2011 NBA Draft Lottery: Cleveland Cavs Hold First, Fourth Overall Picks

The Cavs took a little bit of a risk trading some valuable pieces to the Los Angeles Clippers and getting a lottery pick in return, but at least as far as the lottery process, it has paid big dividends.

Cleveland traded mid-season with Los Angeles, who finished with the 8th worst record in the NBA, and that resulted in lottery night victory for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will select first in the NBA Draft thanks to the Clippers.

Cleveland is now in the ideal situation I have talked about all offseason, and they are in great position to get two very good players. The Cavs will have their choice between Derrick Williams or Kyrie Irving, the consensus top two players available this year.

This is a big night for Cavs fans, who have not had the top overall selection since 2003 when they took LeBron James.

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2011 NBA Draft Lottery Preview: Cavs Hold Second Best Odds, And a Little More Than Luck

The Cleveland Cavaliers have two lottery picks heading into the prime time NBA draft selection event on ESPN Tuesday night, and they have more than a fighting chance of landing the top overall pick in the draft.

Only a handful of times in the history of this process has the team with the best odds come away with the top overall pick in the draft, giving the Cavs more than a fighting chance to take the top slot in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Not only do the Cavs have the second best odds of winning the NBA Draft lottery, they also have the 8th best odds at 2.8 percent thanks to a mid-season trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. While that may seem like a long-shot to happen, don’t forget that just a couple of years ago, the Chicago Bulls held only a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery, and by some stroke of luck landed the top pick, and selected the youngest MVP in league history, Derrick Rose.

This is not a deep draft by any means, but there are definitely some talented players, and the Cavs must capitalize on both selections. I have said over and again that I feel the best two picks for the organization (unless they are selecting 1st and 2nd in the draft) would be Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker. Those guys really helped their respective teams turn it around in 2011 at the NCAA tournament, and they were two of the best players if not undoubtedly the two best players in the tournament overall.

There was one bit of somewhat breaking news that could definitely alter the way this draft goes. Hoopsworld reported over the weekend that the Minnesota Timberwolves were close to signing point guard Ricky Rubio. Nothing was set in stone or official, but it seemed like it was bound to happen. There is no doubt the Wolves need to move on from Jonny Flynn, who has been a massive disappointment, but if they lock up Ricky Rubio, I doubt that they would select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, who has got to be one of the top candidates to be picked by the Cavs with whatever pick they wind up with.

One thing I continue to see in mock drafts across the web is the Cavs taking players from overseas. Now, I have no problems with overseas players, but are the Cavs looking for that type of player? Chad Ford’s first mock draft has the Cavs taking Derrick Williams and Jonas Valanciunas, a big man from Lithuania. For me, looking at this all from a distance, I would say the last thing the Cavs need with one of these two picks is a risky player. Those guys from Europe and beyond can be extremely talented, but you rarely see them work out as legitimate top ten talents, at least that is the way it seems in recent drafts.

The best thing for the Cavs to hope for is to find a stroke of luck with their later lottery pick, and hope both end up in the top five. That way, they can get two players who can come in and help them right away, two young players that can potentially turn around the franchise.

The Cavs’ future could be decided tonight via the NBA Draft lottery. They need to make sure they hit on both of these picks, and give the large fan base reason to be excited once again.

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NBA Draft Lottery 2011: Cavs Will Send Owner Dan Gilbert's Son, Nick, For Good Luck

The Cleveland Cavaliers today announced that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's son, Nick, will represent the team at the upcoming NBA draft lottery in Secaucus, New Jersey, next Tuesday.

Nick, the 2011 National Children’s Tumor Foundation Ambassador, is 14 and suffers from Neurofibromatosis, a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body at any time.

"We talk a lot about heroes in sports but sometimes we overlook the heroes that are in front of us every day. Nick Gilbert was born with NF more than 14 years ago. Despite enduring brain surgery, the loss of vision in one of his eyes, four long rounds of chemotherapy and countless visits and time in doctors' offices and hospitals, he has emerged as the happiest and most optimistic person I know. Nick has never complained a single time about the bad card he was dealt, and instead, chooses to focus on all that is good and exciting around him. He is an example of perseverance, determination and life the way it should be lived. Nick is my personal hero. BTW….The kid is also quite lucky, which Cavs fans should take solace in, since he is representing us in the lottery on Tuesday evening!" Dan Gilbert said in the press release.

They key to Cavs fan in that quote might be the fact that Nick is lucky, considering Cleveland can use every bit of a luck it can get in landing the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. The release also suggests fans follow Nick on Twitter as he's already giving away different prizes while promoting Neurofibromatosis awareness.

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2011 NBA Draft Update: Two Players Could Boost Cavs

The 2011 NBA Draft is being widely regarded as one of the worst drafts in NBA history, yet another reason for Cleveland Cavaliers fans to hate LeBron James.

When James left this team, little did this city and fan base know that it would make the team the absolute worst in the NBA, but all is not lost in Cleveland. Despite the fact that this draft lacks the star power of most drafts, there are two players that I firmly believe can turn a franchise around, and the Cavs are in place to possibly get both of them—with a little bit of luck.

First things first—the Cavs have to be hoping and praying that they win the number one pick in the lottery.

Second, they have to hope Arizona swingman Derrick Williams decides to leave school and enter the draft. I have been saying for a long time that Williams is the best player in the draft, regardless of what other player would enter the draft. Williams is a guy who has a similar skill-set to LeBron James. Is he the same type of polarizing athlete? No.

However, Williams is a big man at 6’9" who can play in the post, he can create his own shot, he can hit threes, and he is a great athlete. He is a guy who will get rebounds for you, and he is only developing in terms of his vision. He has the intangibles it takes to be the star for a team, and I think he could be a breath of fresh air for the Cavs franchise.

The third factor here is, the Cavs need to hope they score big with the pick they obtained from the Los Angeles Clippers, possibly moving that choice into the top five. Why do they need to be in the top five?

The Cavs need to be in the top five—and preferably ahead of the Sacramento Kings—so they can take UConn point guard Kemba Walker. Walker took the Connecticut Huskies on an 11 game winning streak at the end of the season, and showed that he has ice running through is veins.

I don’t think there was a more clutch player in college basketball all year, and this guy is simply a playmaker. Walker seems like he could be an Allen Iverson type of scorer at the NBA level, and would be the leader of this Cavs team from the moment he steps into camp.

I think Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker could turn this franchise around. What do you think, Cavs fans?

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