What If? – The Cavs didn’t waste two draft picks by trading for Jiri Welsch?
Do you know who Jiri Welsch is? No? Join the club.
Welsch was the 16th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, going to the 76ers before getting traded immediately to the Golden State Warriors. After going to Dallas and then eventually Boston, the Cavaliers made a deal with the Celtics to bring him to Cleveland.
All it cost was two first-round draft picks. Sure, if Welsch came in like Peja Stoikovich, shot his way to the NBA finals and was LeBron James’ best friend for 15 years? Worth it. He wasn’t, and not only was not worth it. He was not worth it for only 16 games.
Two first-round picks for 16 games and 46 total points. What a steal. Did we mention Jim Paxson as bad at his job?
The first of the two picks, the now non-lottery protected 2005 pick, would’ve been at No. 13. At that pick, they could’ve had Danny Granger or even David Lee still. Hell, you could’ve traded with Denver, got their two first-round picks, and gotten both Lee and Monta Ellis.
That would’ve been a great haul.
What’s even sillier about that 2005 pick, had the team made the playoffs, it was originally traded in 1997 to the Phoneix Suns for Wesley Person. Because the Cavs removed the lottery-protection, the pick was able to then be traded again. Since Charlotte owned the pick, they got to keep it regardless.
Then 2007 happened. That was the Greg Oden and Kevin Durant draft. Now, the Cavs would’ve never have gotten either man or even Al Horford, due to how good they were as prospects, yet had they not wasted a draft pick on the awful Welsch, the Cavs could’ve drafted Rudy Fernandez, Carl Landry, or Marc Gasol instead.
Instead, the team wasted a potential asset, someone who could’ve helped right away in their playoff run against the Spurs, for a player that would last a year with the team before being shipped away to Milwaukee for pennies on the dollar.
The ’07 Draft isn’t filled with a great crop of talent. Not like in other years. It did however have enough talent in it to justify holding on to the pick.
The Cavs, if they were smart could’ve had Lee, Ellis, and Fernandez to add to the James-gang. No outlaw would’ve survived running into that rowdy group of cowboys. Lee was a double-double machine, Ellis could score from anywhere on the court (inside of the three-point line) and Fernandez was one of the best players out of that draft and just got tired fo the NBA lifestyle and went back to Spain.
Just another reason why Jim Paxson was truly awful.