The Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled all year with an up and down season, with mostly downs. Whether it was the drafting of Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev to the signing of Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark the team’s decision making has been questionable. Even previous year’s selections of Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Dion Waiters have been questioned locally and nationally. ESPN’s David Thorpe often ranks young players, specifically rookies and 2nd year players. He just put out his list of disappointing sophomores (Insider, $).
The good news is that the Cavs’ Waiters does not appear on the list. Instead a few players that many have said that Cavs should have drafted, or should have traded up for, do appear on the list.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bobcats
The concern about MKG going into his rookie year was that, though he was the youngest player in the draft in terms of his birthdate, his body was already fully formed. That meant he was probably beating up inferior and weaker athletes for most of his career, which wasn’t going to happen often in the NBA. Still, coming out of college, he projected to be an excellent cutter and transition player with athleticism and feel. But, thus far, he hasn’t made an impact in those areas.
The Bobcats expected more from the No. 2 overall pick, naturally, and their front office is surely imagining what the team would look like with Andre Drummond instead. Like it or not, MKG has to live with those comparisons.
MKG was seen as a great running mate for his friend Kyrie Irving. His athleticism and defense would of been a perfect fit. Instead his lack of offensive game has been glaring. His impact has been minimal and Cavs fans should be glad he was selected before they had a shot at him, at least at this point. Waiters has the offensive game and some defensive skills that makes him a better player then MKG with just as high of an upside.
Harrison Barnes, Warriors
Ask any member of the Denver Nuggets last season about Barnes and they’ll tell you the Warriors suddenly gained a huge advantage when he replaced an injured David Lee in that series. Based on that performance, it was fair to expect a big jump in Year 2 for the supremely talented wing. Instead, it looks as if his move to the bench with the arrival of Andre Iguodala has hampered his confidence. He is a huge step down from Iguodala on offense and defense and knows he is not helping his team.
This is a man who should be dynamic on the wing in transition and, as a second-unit player, abusing wings in the post (he has the potential to have a strong post game). But it’s just not happening. Barnes is only 21, and still growing into his body, so there is hope for him. Perhaps we’ll see another postseason surge from him.
Barnes was another player that many thought was a great fit next Irving with his shooting, size and defense. The narrative during and after his playoff run last year was that he was a star on the rise. Yet watching the games and looking at his stats has seen a player who could be a solid contributor but not to be a star level player. Waiters on the other hand has the ability to do so but is a little more up and down.
Looking back are you glad the Cavs took Waiters or should they have gone for Drummond? Did you want the Cavs to select MKG or Bradley Beal instead of Waiters? What about Barnes?