Throughout the off-season of rumors we have looked at how each of the rumors impacted the way the Cavaliers team would be built and constructed. We also have been gone to evaluate some of the league’s rosters in preparation for 2014 Free Agency. Any of the rumored draft prospectives had concerns for how they fit with the team and how they would work with the current roster. We identified the need for a defensive rim protector, 3 point shooting, a small forward and a backup point guard as primary needs this off-season. Youth, size and athleticism and 3 point shooting have also been identified as factors that may influence 2014 free agents, like Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony, in their decision making. We will finalize that series soon. Here we will look at how each of the Cavs draft picks fit with the identified needs and with other players on the roster.
#1 Overall Pick Anthony Bennett – SF/PF
Rim Protector: Bennett is undersized in height as a Power Forward but has the needed girth to bang down low. Bennett is far from a rim protector and showed minimal effort on the defensive end of the floor in his year at UNLV.
Shooting: For a Power Forward Bennett has excellent range. Bennett possesses a powerful form on his jump shot that shows the ability to shoot the NBA 3 pointer. His form is solid and repeats throughout the game. Bennett projects as a stretch 4 in the NBA and should have little trouble shooting a high percentage.
Small Forward: Bennett may be able to spend some time at the 3 position but should not be spending significant time at this position.
Fit with Team: The addition of Bennett does not seem to fit from the simple fact that the Cavs invested the #4 pick of the 2011 draft on starting 4 man Tristan Thompson. Bennett and Thompson, the Canadian 4s, compliment each other in skill set. Thompson specializes in lost post and pick and roll situations and has learned to be a dynamic on the ball defender. Bennett on the other hand, as stated above, is fit as a pick and pop player with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Bennett is more explosive in roll situations as well. That explosiveness does not yet expand to the defensive end. This is where his fit with the team extends to the hire of Mike Brown. Brown will be challenged to develop Bennett on the defensive end. Brown and the Cavs are a perfect fit in this way. During the introductory press conference Brown explained that the rookies will learn defense or stay sitting (on the bench). Brown will prioritize that end of the floor as he did with Lebron James, turning him into a dynamic defender.
#19 Overall Sergey Karasev – SF
Rim Protector: Karasev has some length for his position but is not in anyway a rim protector. Karasev is noted for his high basketball IQ and with experience could become a crafty defender but with be limited by his athleticism.
Shooting: Karasev’s 3 point shooting is the primary reason he was drafted. Karasev’s role for the first year or two will be to float around the 3 point line and help with spacing for Irving and Waiters. This is Karasev’s biggest value.
Small Forward: Karasev will be the offensive small forward for the foreseeable future. Karasev’s IQ and shooting can be a great fit with the young core of Irving, Waiters, Thompson, Zeller and Bennett.
Fit with Team: Karasev’s shooting provides a different skill set then the athletic Irving, Waiters, Thompson and Bennett. His IQ fits with Brown’s style of smart players who know their roles and can execute, in this way he is the anti-Drew Gooden. Brown’s defensive magic will be needed with Karasev as well but unlike Bennett has limited athletic upside for that end of the floor.
#33 Overall Carrick Felix – SG/SF
Rim Protector: At 6’6″ Felix is not a rim protector but his drive on the defensive end of the floor makes him an ideal on the ball defender and one that plays the passing lanes well.
Shooting: Felix’s shooting improved dramatically improved his senior year. His jump shot form is appropriate and needs to be developed into a consistent shot to at the 3 to make him a 3 and D guy.
Small Forward: Felix’s length will allow him to spend time as the defensive small forward for the team in the future. Felix has some similarities to Alonzo Gee in this way.
Fit with Team: Felix’s defensive intensity provides a wing version of Anderson Varejao. With offensive focused players Irving, Waiters and Bennett a player of Felix’s qualities can provide the glue the team. As a second round pick these qualities are more then often can be expected.
The Cavs had 3 draft picks that were added to their team in 2013. Those players all fit with the team in a variety of ways. The team filled their shooting needs with Karasev and Bennett and their need at small forward with all 3 of the picks in different ways. The Cavs failed to fill their need for a Rim Protector or a backup point guard for injury prone Irving. The good news is the team still has cap space and other assets to acquire more players to build this team into the playoffs in 2013-2014.