Wednesday, June 26, 2013

COURTSIDE VIEW: 2013 NBA DRAFT--Cavs/Knicks Edition

Johnny J

This will be my last NBA story for the 2012-13 campaign. I will continue my writing on stories and my opinions about different NFL topics. You can look forward to more of my opinions and jabs on the NFL. Ask about me at Fourth & Forever (coming soon!).

The 2013 NBA Draft is just days away and if you are excited like I am, you are wondering who your favorite team is going to draft. I will be be dissecting a couple of the high projected prospects and if they're a good fit for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In other words, if you were a General Manager of an NBA team, do you draft for need or do you just grab the best available player, regardless if they fill that void in your line-up? Lottery picks can sometimes be hard to predict. Just because a player was awesome in college, doesn't mean he has what it takes to succeed in the pros. For a team like the New York Knicks (late 1st round pick), they might be better off taking the "best available" player.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have two picks in the first round, including the number one pick overall. They also have the 19th pick as well. They won the NBA Lottery for the second time in three years. In 2011, the Cavaliers gambled on a young point guard named Kyrie Irving, who only played eight games at Duke due to an injury. He came back in the NCAA Tournament and scored 28 points in a Sweet Sixteen loss to Arizona. Two years later, at age 21, he is now an All-Star. So where do the Cavaliers go on building a team around Irving? There's been talk that the Cavs may trade the first pick, but I doubt that will happen. They've also been flirting with the Dallas Mavericks about acquiring forward veteran Shawn Marion to move up six spots to #13th (from 19th) and they would be taking $9.3 million off the books for the Mavs in return. The Mavs are hoping to have as much money as possible, for when July 1st rolls around, they hope of landing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (Can't have one without the other, apparently--Ed)

In my opinion, the Cavs only need to fill a few spots, such as both starting forward positions and a shooting guard. They are good at center with Anderson Varejao and North Carolina product Tyler Zeller. I know a lot of mock drafts have the Cavs taking a center since Varejao only has one year left on his contract, but I don't know about taking one early.  They have a center now in Zeller.  I like him; he deserves a chance to start.  He put up great numbers at UNC. Let him be the man in the middle. With the number one pick, the Cavs should draft for need, so I would pass on a center and take shooting guard Victor Oladipo out of Indiana. He would be a great complement to Irving. This guy has a great all-around game and upside. He can shoot, drive, and finish. Plus he has great athletic ability. A young backcourt that will make the Cavs more dangerous sounds tempting to me. Then at pick #19 or (#13 if they make that trade I was talking about earlier), I think the Cavs should draft center Gorgui Dieng from Louisville. He can play the four as well as center as he is equipped with a short-range jumper. He is a rim protector. Imagine him and Varejao on the floor at the same time. That just gets my mouth watery for what they can do with two second round picks. I would prefer to see them trade one of the two second round picks and grab Paul Pierce. They made a pitch to the Celtics for Pierce already. I think that would be a great pick-up. Talk about making the playoffs!  He is someone who can give the Cavs leadership presence. Make a package built around Paul Pierce for a second round pick. Plus he only has one year left. It's worth a try.

The New York Knicks on the other hand, needs to draft for best available player. A lot of the good players who can fill their need at point guard and center will be gone at pick #24. With that said, I like the Knicks to draft center Kelly Olynyk. A center that can score. A Knicks' fans dream. Simply because Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby can't score on their own. Bleacher Report has him going at #23 to the Indiana Pacers, but if he falls, the Knicks should grab him. Bleacher has the Knicks grabbing another shooter. Another shooter!!! They don't need another shooter, unless Olynyk is gone. He is the only center I would bite on.  He is a need and best available player rolled into a nice gift bag for New York. Olynyk can back-up Chandler and help spread the floor and clear the paint because of his shooting ability. He would be a great addition to New York who got killed on the boards against the Pacers in the playoffs. Draft for need here!

If Olynk is gone at 24. Then you grab the best available player. Such as Allen Crabbe, a shooter out of California. I still like this pick, but all the shooters the Knicks have can't be on the floor at the same time. That did no good in the playoffs. Because, realistically, people have bad games (J.R. Smith) and slumps can occur. I'm expecting all of the Knicks free-agent shooters to re-sign. Guys like J.R. Smith, Chris Copeland, and Pablo Prigioni. If they don't, then you have to replace them.  The only way the Knicks will move pass top-notch teams in the Eastern Conference is if they have a low-post scorer. You can't trust Amar'e Stoudemire's grandfather knees. He hits the floor hard, he goes out and stays out for a long period of time. Also he has a restriction on his minutes. He can't play more than 30 minutes a game. Next they will be saying he can't play all 82 games in the season. Olynyk is the answer!

The Cavs and the Knicks are headed in different directions. The Cavs are getting young talent and the Knicks are just getting older. If the Cavs make the right moves to build a team around Irving, they will be an elite team in a couple of years. Yes, an elite team, I didn't stutter and you're hearing it first from me. The Cavaliers will be an Eastern Conference contender. The Knicks are built to win now. Now as in, "re-sign your shooters" and draft the guy who led the Gonzaga Bulldogs to a 33-2 record. Drafting for best available player is the only option and he is projected right around that magic number of 24.

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