Jan 18, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) dunks the ball against Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Markel Brown (22) in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won 80-78. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
After the defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans we pontificated whether the Cleveland Cavaliers are one player away from winning? So far we had a number of responses, 2 of which were funny but telling:
"yes, 80’s Michael Jordan RT @JaredKMueller Are The Cleveland Cavaliers 1 Player Away From Winning? https://factoryofsadness.co/?p=2103 They are a REAL coach away from contending. One who can develop talent and motivate! It’s not all about x’s and o’s."
So besides MJ from the 80s or a real coach, hope does not seem highly likely by the Cavaliers faithful. Today we take a look at the same question but focus on the NBA draft. If the Cavs decide to tank, and somehow pull off a top 3 pick, could 1 player from this draft change the Cavs fortunes, could it make them a winner?
Wiggins is the big name in the draft. This is based on the hype entering the season and the upside Wiggins presents in the NBA. Wiggins is an athletic small forward who has been compared to Lebron James, based on his ability to change the future of a NBA team. Wiggins would fit in with Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson as the young core for the future. Wiggins lack of aggression has been noted in college and could be a concern moving forward. With Irving’s leadership questioned and aggression not consistent Wiggins’ fit would be interesting.
Embiid may not be the consensus #1 overall pick as of now. Embiid has the size to dominate on both offense and defense. Pairing a dominate 2 way player with Irving’s ball handling, Waiters shooting and Thompson’s all around game and hustle the team’s identity could be set. Embiid is a very young player, only reportedly starting playing the sport in 2011. The Cavaliers have invested resources heavily in their front court including high picks of Thompson and Anthony Bennett as well as 2nd year player Tyler Zeller. Does Embiid have the personality to change the culture of the team?
Parker has shown a all around game. Whether he will end up as a small forward or power forward is still a bit up in the air. Parker has shown 3 point range, an inside post game and rebounding propensity. Parker has led his Duke squad to a 16-4 record and shown dominance. Parker would be another tweener for the Cavaliers, pairing with Bennett and Thompson in the front court.
Exum, the Australian superstar, has declared for the draft. Exum a 6’6″ combo guard with a quick first step is a developing player. His shot is reportedly flat and with a slight frame struggles with physical contact. Paired next to Irving, with Waiters still coming off the bench, Exum could run the point with Irving off the ball could be a great combination but would there be enough on ball time to go around with those 3 back court members, as well as Jarrett Jack?
Are the Cleveland Cavaliers One Drafted Player Away From Winning?
Based on the information available the answer seems to be no. Will Embiid seems to be the most likely to turn the course of this team’s fortunes, his youth and lack of experience will take a few years to develop. Big men also tend to struggle early in their careers. Wiggins skill set would be great but his lack of aggression means he couldn’t make up for some of the limitations that the team currently has with its current core. Parker’s skills are interesting but with Thompson and Bennett on the team already he would be a duplication. Exum is probably the 2nd best fit for the Cavs. Exum and Irving’s back court dynamic would be interesting and could be fun but the ball dominance of both players would cause trouble for the team.
What do you think? Would the #1 overall pick in this “loaded” draft change the trajectory of the team? Did we analyze any of the players different then you might of? Who would you want on this team?