Apr 10, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Lester Hudson (14) is congratulated by power forward Antawn Jamison (back right) and injured point guard Kyrie Irving after a 103-90 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NBA Offseason Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers


2012 Free Agents: Semih Erden (R), Alonzo Gee (R), Luke Harangody (R), Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker

2013 Free Agents: Omri Casspi (R), Manny Harris (R), D.J. Kennedy (R), Samardo Samuels (R), Donald Sloan (R), Daniel Gibson, Luke Walton

2011-12 Record: 21-45 (Last in Central Division)

Positional Needs: backup point guard, starting center, starting small forward

Potential Draft Picks: Bradley Beal (Florida), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), Andre Drummond (UConn)

3 BIG QUESTIONS

1) If the Cavaliers land their projected #3 pick in this summers draft, which available player gives them the best chance to improve right away?

If all goes according to plan, the Cavaliers will land the #3 pick while Charlotte and Washington go #1 and #2.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, the Bobcats will be taking Anthony Davis with the first overall pick (again, if the draft lottery doesn’t fool us). After that, all players are up for grabs. Anyone from Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal or Thomas Robinson could go as high as #2.

Many online mock drafts believe that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of the University of Kentucky will be selected second overall by the Washington Wizards. That would leave Beal, Drummond and Robinson available at the #3 spot.

I don’t believe the Cavaliers would take on Robinson just because they used their #4 selection last year to pick a power forward in Tristan Thompson. Picking another player to go at the 4 spot wouldn’t make sense considering the needs of the Cavs. Andre Drummond could also be the pick, but he’s a big question mark, especially with the #3 pick. Cleveland should go with a player who is a little more proven and less likely to be a project.

That leaves us with Bradley Beal out of Florida. In his one season with the Gators, Beal averaged 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He reminds me of Eric Gordon of the New Orleans Hornets, only with a lesser offensive game mind you.

Beal would be a tremendous backcourt addition alongside reigning NBA rookie of the year Kyrie Irving. Not only can Beal jump right into the starting shooting guard spot, but he can also backup Irving as a bigger, tempo changing point guard as well as holster some of the scoring load off the bench. He’s a tremendous spot up shooter who is also more than capable of creating shots off the bounce for himself. The Cavaliers could certainly use more offense. They ranked fifth-last in the league in scoring at 93.0 points per game.

Unless Michael Kidd-Gilchrist falls (he would fill the Cavs void at small forward), I would expect Bradley Beal to wind up in the city of Cleveland.

2) Is Alonzo Gee the starting shooting guard of the future?

That all depends on what the Cavaliers do in this summers draft. If the Cavaliers select Bradley Beal, it will leave Alonzo between a rock and a hard place.

He certainly did enough during the regular season to warrant long-term consideration for the franchise. Gee averaged 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Cavs in 63 games.

He’s a young, athletic hybrid guard/forward who has a tremendous leaping ability. He’s not much of a shooter (41% from the field, 32% from 3-point range), so Gee will get you baskets mainly on fast breaks and second chance points.

I believe Gee has the potential to grow into a more well-rounded player, but considering the fact that he’s a restricted free-agent and some team out there will more than likely overpay for his services, it’s probably best for the Cavaliers to start planning for his departure. Selecting a guard in the first round like a Bradley Beal would certainly compensate for losing Gee on the market. The Cavs have a lot of cap space and shouldn’t waste it on a guy like Gee when there are more valuable commodities waiting in free-agency over the next 2 seasons.

3) Is it time to cut ties with Anderson Varejao?

Yes.

Anderson missed a majority of the season after fracturing his right wrist in a game back in February. In the 25 games he played, Varejao averaged a double-double of 10.8 points and 11.5 rebounds.

I love Varejao as a player. He’s an amazing defender, rebounder and low post scorer. He gives 110% of himself every night out on the court and is a huge fan favourite in Cleveland.

A lot of teams around the league could use a guy like that.

His trade value is at its highest point. I don’t believe the organization sees him in the long-term plans for this team. Its time to make him available and see what kind of offers are presented. Anderson could fetch valuable draft picks and role players that the Cavs could use for the future. Trading Varejao would also free up playing time for rookie Tristan Thompson in the starting line-up.

It’s smarter to try to trade Anderson now while his value is at its highest. It will be a lot harder to get rid of him 2-3 years from now when his numbers eventually fall off.

Other Previews: Atlanta HawksBoston Celtics, Brooklyn NetsCharlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls

 

Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports 

Tags: Anderson Varejao Bradley Beal Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving NBA Draft NBA Offseason Tristan Thompson