There’s rarely a whole lot of pressure for any teams in the NBA lottery on draft night. I mean, technically, yea there’s pressure for them to hit on prospects, but there’s that type of every NBA Draft pressure and then there’s the pressure that the Cleveland Cavaliers will be under during tomorrow night’s festivities.
The Pressure not to fail — again.
Which brings us to the actual draft. On top of not screwing up while leading up to the draft (you know, by not making dumb trades or second-guessing themselves on great trades), there’s the whole “picking the right guy” thing — something that they kind of failed to do in last year’s draft.
That’s why the Cavs can’t afford to get to get cute on draft night. They can’t swing for the fences. They need to play for the base hit. And such hit should come from a safe pick, not on potential. Even though that kind of goes against everything that a draft is, the Cavs aren’t in a position in which they can even put themselves in a position to fail.
Luckily for them, in this draft (as deep as it’s being projected), there won’t be anything wrong with hitting a base hit.
And that’s why there’s only two players, one really, that the Cavs should even think about drafting. It should come down to Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
This would’ve been different had Joel Embiid not gotten injured recently, however, the Cavaliers can’t afford to draft a big man who will likely miss his rookie season, followed by the concern of future foot troubles. Nevertheless, the pick should come down to Parker or Wiggins – Wiggins or Parker.
Even though it sounds like a difficult choice, for the Cavs, it really isn’t. Cleveland should be going up and down their draft board, circling the prospects that are “can’t miss” players and ones that are the most NBA-ready – not ones who “have an opportunity” to be great down the road.
Once that is done, they should simply take the first prospect that is circled. And that prospect should be Jabari Parker.
Even though Wiggins is probably rated, just slightly, higher on most people’s draft boards (probably Cleveland’s as well), can the Cavs really take a chance that he won’t develop into what many believe that he’ll develop into?
I mean, with all due respect, Wiggins is not a finished product – he’s far from that. He doesn’t have an NBA body; he didn’t show any type of silky smooth scoring abilities in college; and he wasn’t the best off-the-ball player in college. There were many times when he just looked lost and uninterested in Bill Self’s offense, even in the biggest of moments. That isn’t going to turn away many scouts, especially not after watching his athletic prowess, however, there are definitely a handful of “ifs” in his game.
On the other hand, Parker was almost the opposite during his one year at Duke. Parker looked assertive and certain with everything he did on the offensive side of the ball. He’s body is as NBA-ready as he’ll need it to be, if anything he’ll have to lose a few pounds. The one “problem” with Parker was his inabilities on the defensive side of the ball. However, in the NBA, that could easily be covered up behind a great shot blocker, or a great defensive scheme.
So, if we’re splitting hairs, it’s going to come down to one prospect whose celling is probably a little higher, one that he’s further away from than closer to, but may not be a great offensive player in the NBA VS a player whose offensive skills are already at an NBA level, but whose defensive woes could label him as the next Carmelo Anthony.
For the record, being the next Melo isn’t bad.
The thing with Wiggins is that if he does “hit,” he has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. I’m not sure if, even if he hits his ceiling, Parker will ever be able to touch Wiggins at his ceiling.
Based on potential alone, Wiggins would be the pick. If anyone else in the NBA had the No. 1 overall pick, this is a no-brainer. But because the Cavaliers are the Cavaliers, this is different.
They’re forced to win now.
This will be the third time in four years that the Cavaliers will have the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. This is kind of an important one. Third time’s the charm. I highly doubt that this team will win the lottery again in the near future. They kind of have to hit the “lottery” this time, even if that comes by playing it safe.
Parker is the safe pick. He’s the right pick. He should be the pick.
But because it’s the Cavaliers, we’ll never know.
Hey, at least they can’t pick Anthony Bennett again.