Cavalier Winning: Cavs Pick 1st and 4th in 2011 Draft
With a 19-63 record this past season, there hasn't been much winning going on in Cleveland… until last night. A first-round pick acquired in a mid-season deal with the Los Angeles Clippers revealed to be the lucky lottery combination, giving the Cavaliers the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, while their own pick gives them No. 4 overall. This makes the Cavs the first team to have two of the top four picks for the first time since 1983, when the Houston Rockets selected Ralph Sampson and Rodney McCray.
Two of the top four picks mean that Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert can officially start to move on from last summer's "Decision" and fulfill a promise that he made to win an NBA championship before LeBron does.
The first overall pick will bring the Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving. When the team traded away Mo Williams to the Clippers for LA's first and Baron Davis, they were hoping to snag Irving, the Duke guard, and build towards their future. He gives the team an electrifying presence who will learn behind Baron Davis for a year until his hefty contract expires in 2012-13. In a point guard-oriented league, Irving can score the basketball from outside with good range on his jumper, or utilize his superior quickness to break down the defense and get in the lane. Or Irving has the elite court vision to run the offense and set up teammates for easy buckets.
Minnesota, regardless of need, have too many holes to fill a 56-190 record over the past three seasons (.228 winning percentage) and will have to take the top player on some teams' boards, Derrick Williams. Utah follows up by taking the best point guard on their board- Kemba Walker from UConn or Kentucky's Brandon Knight. With Al Jefferson (26 years old), Paul Millsap (26) and Derrick Favors (19) in the front court, a upgrade at point guard will settle a much larger need when they can take over for the erratic Devin Harris.
The Cavs are back on the clock at four with the two top big men in the draft available to them most likely. The frontcourt, especially the center position, could use upgrades. The aging Antawn Jamison (56 games played), J.J. Hickson (80), Anderson Varejao (31) and undrafted rookie Samardo Samuels (37) led the way last season, but none are true centers. Enes Kanter is the best option as he gives the team a tough, physical player down low, who can score around the rim and provide some excellent rebounding on either end of the floor. If Kanter isn't available, Lithuanian big Jonas Valanciunas should be the next in line. He stands 6'10" with a long wingspan who will provide a soft touch around the rim on offense and some steady rebounding defensively.