2012 NBA Draft: Who Should the Cavaliers Draft in 2012?

Ryan Bothmann@tripleCfanSenior Analyst IIApril 2, 2012

2012 NBA Draft: Who Should the Cavaliers Draft in 2012?

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    Last year, the Cavaliers began their journey to recover from the horrible season that followed the departure of LeBron James.

    With the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cavaliers brought in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson in the first round, along with some less notable players later on in the draft. As expected, Irving has been sensational this season for Cleveland and is the favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. As far as Thompson goes, many people questioned the pick of him at the time, but he also has turned out to be very good for Cleveland.

    The rebuilding process is not nearly over for Cleveland though. Those were just two of the numerous positions that the Cavaliers needed to upgrade at, to once again become a playoff caliber team.

    In the 2012 NBA Draft, the Cavaliers have two first round and two second-round picks. With so much talent at the collegiate level right now, the Cavaliers have numerous options with each pick.

    Here is my mock draft of who I think the Cavaliers should draft with each of their picks in the 2012 NBA Draft. (Note that the exact spot where Cleveland picks has not yet been determined, so each slide will have an estimate of where they are most likely to be picking.)

First Round, Pick 5: Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard, Florida Gators

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    Season Averages: 14.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.2 apg

    The absolute biggest problem the Cavaliers need to address in the draft this year is the shooting guard position. Therefore, I see no other option then to spend their first pick on Brad Beal.

    I hate to make this comparison Cleveland fans, but Beal resembles LeBron James very much. Do I think he is as good or even close to as good as LeBron, absolutely not, but he affects all aspects of the game like LeBron. He can score, rebound, get assists and play great defense. His all-around game is one of the best at the collegiate level right now.

    Right now, 36-year-old Anthony Parker is the best option for Cleveland at the shooting guard position. Beal certainly is a major upgrade over him.

    If the Cavaliers draft Beal and put him alongside Kyrie Irving, they will have one of the best guard tandems in the NBA in 2012. In about three or four years, Beal and Irving would develop into the absolute best guard tandem in the NBA.

    My biggest question: Would Beal wear the infamous No. 23 in Cleveland?

First Round, Pick 25 (via Lakers): Royce White, Forward, Iowa State Cyclones

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    Season Averages: 13.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 5.1 apg

    I struggled a lot in determining who to put here for this pick, but in the end I think it has to be Royce White.

    If Antawn Jamison leaves as a free agent this offseason, the Cavaliers will be stretched thin at the power forward position in 2012. Tristan Thompson could definitely help fill some of that role, but I expect Thompson to also be used at the center position much of next season.

    Royce White would be able to help fill the role at power forward. I think White still has a lot of work left to do before he becomes a well polished NBA player, but I think in a season or two he could become a dominant force for the Cavaliers.

    White has quickly improved this season in all aspects of the game at Iowa State, and I think he could do the same with Cleveland.

    It appears to be a fairly risky pick in my opinion, but I think the Cavaliers should take their chance because White could very well be outstanding at the NBA level.

Second Round, Pick 33 (via Hornets): Festus Ezeli, Center, Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Season Averages: 10.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.3 apg

    Regardless of whether or not Anderson Varejao can stay healthy and be the starting center for the Cavaliers, I think the Cavs should draft Festus Ezeli with their first pick in the second round.

    If Varejao is not able to be the starting center in Cleveland, then Ezeli along with Tristan Thompson would be used to fill the role at that position. If Varejao is able to be the starting center in Cleveland, then the Cavaliers can start Varejao and they can use Ezeli to bring in terrific depth off the bench for the Cavaliers.

    At 6'11'' and 255 pounds, Ezeli is a big body in the paint that the Cavaliers could use on their roster for years to come. He has shown an ability to score and rebound the ball consistently which would help out the Cavaliers on offense, and he is a great defensive player as well.

    While not as good as some of the big men in this year's draft, Ezeli certainly would be an asset to the Cavaliers and an outstanding pickup in the second round of the draft.

Second Round, Pick 38: Jae Crowder, Forward, Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Season Averages: 17.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.1 apg

    Jae Crowder is one of the most interesting players in the NBA Draft this year. The consensus is that Crowder is definitely a second-round pick, but where he will land is a mystery. Many people have him getting taken right away in the second round, others in the middle and still others say he will be taken at the end of the draft.

    I think the Cavaliers should definitely take Crowder with the 38th overall pick. In this mock draft I have addressed every position for Cleveland except point guard (obviously because of Kyrie Irving holding that spot) and small forward. Crowder could greatly help the Cavs at small forward.

    The biggest question I have about Crowder is his role. Is he a starter or a guy who comes off the bench?

    In Cleveland he could do a little of both. Right now the Cavaliers have Alonzo Gee at the small forward position. Gee has been extremely good in his role this season, and many think he will continue to develop into a great player.

    Can he be a great starter though?

    With Crowder on the team, Gee and him could split the playing time and hold down the role together. Both players would be able to provide a scoring and rebounding threat when they are on the court, and they can both provide solid defense.

    With the addition of Crowder at the small forward position, the Cavaliers would have two young stars that they could utilize there over the next few seasons, and maybe even beyond that.