They call it a “no brainer” but this year I’m not so sure. Kyrie Irving appears to be the front-runner to be the number one overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and is so according to the latest SB Nation mock. However, I’m not so sure he is a no-brainer like the author says he is.
The Cavs do have a need at the point guard position, and Irving is probably undoubtedly the best point guard available, which would lend credence to his “no-brainer” theory. Here is his reasoning for the Cavs taking Irving number one overall in the 2011 NBA Draft:
The L.A. Clippers wanted to get rid of their point guard Baron Davis, and needed to add in their first-round pick to make him disappear. Little did they know they’d be throwing away Kyrie Irving, too. Cleveland will take Irving with glee; while the point guard won’t make anyone forget about LeBron James, he fills an immediate need at a vital position and injects a dose of excitement to a bad roster.
The Cavs also struck lottery gold with the fourth overall pick in the draft. Had they only had one selection, this would be a massive disappointment, but paired with the top overall pick, it’s a very nice asset to have, even in a shallow talent pool. With their second first round selection, SB Nation has the Cavs taking Jonas Valanciunas, a big man from Lithuania. This selection doesn’t exactly make people giddy, but the Cavs have a long way to go, and they need as much talent as they can get. Valanciunas is considered one of the top Euro prospects in the entire draft. Here is the reasoning:
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
After landing a franchise point guard in Irving up top, the Cavaliers can further bolster the backcourt by choosing Kemba Walker here or go big. Given that Walker has been fashioned an NBA point guard — we’ll see — I’ll guess big man here. Valanciunas isn’t close to a finished product, but Cleveland is in full-on rebuild mode. (They’d probably prefer Kanter, should he drop.)
My reaction to these picks is simple—I don’t like them. If I am a Cavs fan, I’m not jumping for joy at the selection of Kyrie Irving. Even though Irving is a top of the line point guard prospect, Byron Scott is a top of the line point guard coach, and I think the Cavs could get much more bang for their buck if they were to take Derrick Williams with the first pick, then Brandon Knight (3rd ranked PG in the nation coming out of high school, Irving was 2nd) or Kemba Walker (If you didn’t see him in the tourney, you’ve been living under a rock) with their second selection.
If the Cavs do take Irving, which again appears to be the popular opinion as of right now, then I would not expect them to take a major developmental guy like Valanciunas and go for a swingman with upside like San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard, who I’ve heard they also really like.
Obviously, this is not my selection to make. I almost entirely disagree with the author that his is a no-brainer pick for the Cavs, because my thought process all along has been to take Williams and the best PG available with their next pick. They have a rare opportunity here, and they need too look at the board and judge what TWO players will finish with the most upside, not which player will have the most upside with the top choice and then hope the next best guy falls to them at four overall.
Even if this isn’t a heavy talent draft, there are still good ball players, and the Cavs need to come away with two of the best.