Despite only having a 1.7 percent chance of landing the number one pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers still managed to do it, and Cleveland has won the lottery three times in the last four years. It is surprising that they still haven’t made the playoffs since LeBron James‘ departure (2010), even after all these high draft picks. No franchise in NBA history has had that much luck in the Draft Lottery.
Even with that, when it comes to the production out of their draft picks they haven’t been so lucky.
Sometimes the best strategy is to be stingy in free agency, and continue to construct a core group of young players through the draft. Especially if you’re Cleveland, who is not even close to competing in the Eastern Conference any time soon. Since LeBron made “The Decision,” to take his talents to South Beach, Cleveland has received the No. 1 pick in 2011, 2013. 2014, and the No. 4 pick(s) in 2011 and 2012.
Obviously when you have a top five pick in the draft your are expecting a franchise changing prospect, or something close to that, but so far only one of those picks for Cleveland has worked out. Here is a list of all of the Cavaliers draft picks in the “Post LeBron Era:”
Kyrie Irving (No. 1 pick, 2011)
Tristan Thompson (No. 4 pick, 2011)
Justin Harper (No. 32 pick, 2011)
Dion Waiters (No. 4 pick, 2012)
Jared Cunningham (No. 24 pick, 2012)
Bernard James (No. 33 pick, 2012)
Jae Crowder (No. 34 pick, 2012)
Anthony Bennett (No. 1 pick, 2013)
Sergey Karasev (No. 19 pick, 2013)
Allen Crabbe (No. 31 pick, 2013)
From this group of draft picks there are only two players that produce for the team — Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Tristan Thompson is nothing more than a high energy forward off of the bench. So, based on their past failures in the draft, what makes this draft any different?
Well, this year’s draft class contains prospects who are capable of being stars in the league right away. The Cavaliers have so many different routes they could take with their number one draft selection, but in reality there are three prospects who could all possibly be the number one pick. Center from Kansas University Joel Embiid looks to be the favorite to be the number one overall pick to Cleveland, based on his upside and athleticism and the Cavs’ needs. Though, he comes with a risk. Embiid is coming off his back injury that sidelined him during the latter part of last season, but scouts seem to think he will be fine.
However, if the Cavaliers aren’t at least considering Duke forward Jabari Parker, they are out of their minds. Parker has “star” written all over him and has since he was in high school. The only flaw in Parker’s game is his inconsistent jump shot, which will need be developed if he wants to be a star in the NBA. Many scouts question his defensive ability as well, but it’s not the biggest concern.
Since Cleveland already has Dion Waiters on their roster, it looks highly unlikely they are looking at former Kansas-star Andrew Wiggins at number one. It wouldn’t shock anyone if they show some interest in him though, if anyone looks to become a star at the NBA level is Wiggins. Wiggins has already drawn comparisons to Tracy McGrady and Kevin Durant; expectations are already high for the 19-year-old.
With prospects like Embiid, Wiggins, and Parker it is nearly impossible for the Cavaliers to mess up this draft. All of the talent is there, it will have to come down to what they think is more important for their franchise moving forward. It is not as simple as people think, because with big name players potentially becoming free agents, they have to look at free agency as well and then go from there. Honestly, they could go with any of those three prospects and will make their fans happy since they all project to be stars at the next level.
Cleveland, as a franchise, is hoping this is the draft that will help them return back to prominence, which is very possible. Especially in a draft that is littered with talent, such as this one.
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