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.