NBA Draft and Free Agency Preview: The Cavaliers Look to Make Good on Dan Gilbert’s Word
The Cavs are positioned in great shape with their future. The main issue for the Cavs has been the health of their most recent draft picks (G Kyrie Irving, F Tristan Thompson) and the lone holdover from the LeBron James era, Anderson Varejao. However, the Cavs secured the #1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, and are likely going to draft either F/C Nerlens Noel (Kentucky) or G/F Ben McLemore (Kansas); either of which would be a substantial upgrade over what the Cavs currently possess roster-wise. Noel would not replace Varejao, but rather form a twin towers situation with both capable of playing alongside the other and provide a formidable defensive presence. McLemore is a bona fide scorer who would benefit greatly off the ball with Irving (and vice versa). Additionally, Cleveland owns the Los Angeles Lakers’ 19th overall pick in the 2013 Draft.
The Cavs also hold over $27 million in cap space, which they can utilize to further augment their roster. It will be interesting to see how active the Cavs will be in free agency, although they don’t necessary need to sign a big name free agent. It appears that the team is content to build its team the old fashioned way: through the draft and a solid, but not max-level player via free agency. There is burgeoning talk about LeBron James returning to Cleveland in 2014, as he will have the ability to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat in July 2014. This is more fan rumor and not emanating from the team, which parted company with James on very sour term. With a plethora of draft picks, the ability to make deals on draft night, and a solid core in place, why would Cleveland mortgage its future – a future that they have spent four years developing – when they will have a longer shelf life with the mixture of youth and limitless potential with the players that they will have after draft night?
Nevertheless, the Cavs definitely need an additional shooter. Alonzo Gee is a fine athlete, but he is not a top level talent, nor a real difference maker. Thompson played well when he was healthy in 2012-2013. Irving was eye-popping at several junctures during the season, but he has had a number of nicks and bumps that have caused him to miss numerous games in his two seasons in the NBA. Varejao missed the entire season with a major injury. If this team can remain healthy going forward, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference, instead of a virtual laughingstock, which they have been record-wise since James’ departure.
” It Is Only A Game, Until You Bet It “