The Cleveland Cavaliers are poised to make four selections in the upcoming NBA draft, one of which will fall in the top five. They also 24th pick acquired in a trade deadline transaction that sent Ramon Session to the LA Lakers. They also have two second-rounders (33rd and 34th) to play with.
Here I have identified the top prospect along with a backup plan for each of the Cavs' four picks. Let me know what you think of my choices in the comment section when you've finished reading.
The Cavaliers have the luxury of two picks in each round, and I think that they will end up trading one of these picks along with the Lakers' pick to move up in the first round.
But until that happens I'm work on the assumption that they'll keep them. Most of these prospects are going to be reaches, but the second round is a crap shoot so I don't really see a problem taking a chance on either of these guys.
Best Pick: Orlando Johnson, 6'5" Senior SG, UC Santa Barbara
UCSB's Orlando Johnson would have been a sure-fire first-round pick last year had he declared for the draft. The main reason for his stock's decline besides better competition is a two percent field-goal percentage drop from his junior campaign.
Another red flag comes from a 10 percent drop at the free-throw line, down from 80 percent the year before.
These diminished shooting percentages are probably a result of being asked to take on a larger role for Santa Barbara this year. Johnson still managed to put up a nice state line though, posting 19.7 PPG, 2.9 APG and 5.8 RPG.
The main thing that I like about Johnson is that he has a habit of playing up to competition, averaging 23.4 points and 8.0 rebounds a game against major conference competition like Washington, San Diego State, BYU, UNLV and Cal, according to draftexpress.com.
I think Orlando Johnson would be a great value pick in the second round who has the potential to develop into a great rotation player.
Backup Pick: Jae Crowder, 6'6" Senior SF, Marquette
If Orlando Johnson isn't available, the Cavs should look at Jae Crowder next. Crowder is a bit undersized but he makes up for it with his strong frame.
He can finish around the rim despite his height deficiency, converting 61 percent of two-point field-goal attempts. My big worry is that a body type that allows him to push collegiate players around will not translate to the NBA level and he will be forced to play much further outside.
This pick was easy to project before Festus Ezeli went up the boards and after two potential rotation prospects have dropped down to this area of the draft.
Best Pick: Doron Lamb, 6'4" Sophomore SG, Kentucky
I don't like relying on luck but I'm going to do it because it is the second round.
Doron Lamb is the lowest projected Kentucky starter on my board and I think that he will end up falling just far enough to be picked here. I also think he will be regarded as one of the biggest steals in this draft.
Backup Pick: John Jenkins, 6'4" Junior SG, Vanderbilt
The main thing I like about the Commodores' scoring leader is that he does most of his work off of the ball. If he can play on a level similar to Anthony Parker in his prime (12 PPG), then he'll be considered a successful second-round pick.
Finally we're into the real meat and potatoes of the NBA draft.
This pick will be affected by the direction the Cavs go with their first selection in the draft, so here are picks for a couple of scenarios.
Best Pick (if drafting SF with first pick): Evan Fournier, 6'7" 19-year-old SG, France
Evan Fournier is the only international player set to go in the first round and with good reason, as there really aren't any intriguing foreign prospects this year.
Fournier is leading his first-division French league team with 14 points per game and has truly impressed scouts with his play thus far.
He has great size for the SG position and has been in the top five in points and steals in his league. He is shooting 43 percent from the field and although his 27.1 percent from beyond the arc leaves something to be desired, he has a good shooting motion and should be able to improve.
If the Cavs take a SF with their first pick, Fournier could step in and fill the hole at SG fairly quickly.
Best Pick (if drafting SG with first pick): Arnett Moultrie, 6'11" Junior C, Mississippi State
Moultrie is my pick if the Cavs draft a 2-guard with their first pick.
I know everyone is high on Fab Melo but the fact is that Arnett Moultrie is leaps and bounds ahead of Melo offensively, hitting 40 percent of his jump shots.
He doesn't have the Melo's NBA body but his frame will be able to handle some extra muscle as he matures. He shoots very well from the line and is a much better rebounder than Melo, pulling in 10.5 per game compared to Melo's 5.8.
Backup Pick (either way): Fab Melo, 7'0" Sophomore, Syracuse
Basically he's not as good as Moultrie but he has a much better frame and is more developed defensively. There is a premium on 7'0", 250-pound centers in this league and if the first two options aren't available, then I say pull the trigger on him—if only so the Miami Heat don't get him.
The top five. Herein lies the next Wade, Garnett or Paul Pierce. But unfortunately there is probably also a Milicic or Oden in there too. It's the Cavs' job to not pick the latter this year.
Best Pick: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 6'6" Freshman SF, Kentucky
After winning the coin toss that broke the tiebreaker with New Orleans, the Cavaliers now have a legitimate shot at getting MKG.
This is a kid whose passion is defense, something that Byron Scott will absolutely fall in love with. His motor rivals Anderson Varejao's.
But what about his flaws? He is a bit undersized, though only by about an inch and he stands 6'7" in shoes, so I'm not too worried about that.
He does do great work off the ball but also struggles creating for himself, which shouldn't be much of a problem as the Cavs have one of the better young creators in Kyrie Irving. Overall I truly fell in love with his game during the tournament and I love his attitude during interviews as well. I think he'd be a great fit for the Cavs.
Backup Pick: Bradley Beal 6'4" Freshman SG out of Florida
Having a backup pick whom some have ranked as the second-best prospect on the board isn't too bad of a consolation prize if you ask me.
Everyone's main problem with Beal is that he's only 6'4" with shoes on, but I welcome you to look up how tall the Cavs fans' top target, Eric Gordon, is.
I'd rather have a rookie in Beal than someone who just missed a whole season.
Some other notable "undersized" shooting guards? Dwyane Wade (6'4"), Monta Ellis (6'3"), Jason Terry (6'2") and the aforementioned Gordon (6'3").
This kid can rebound better than some small forwards and can shoot the lights out on any given night. He'd make a solid addition to the Cavs.