NBA Lottery 2012: How a Top-3 Pick Immediately Makes the Cavaliers Contenders
The Cavaliers are only one or two players away from being a legitimate title contender. That's why it's crucial that they snag a pick in the top three of this year's lottery on May 30.
If they pick in the top three, they either get Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal or Andre Drummond. It's a win-win-win-win.
The player the Cavs really need, though, is Beal. Beal is the kind of shooting guard who can help to anchor Cleveland's backcourt for years to come. As the consensus top guard available on this year's board, he's a good enough ballhandler to fit in at the 1 and he's a good enough shooter to play the 2.
The Cavs already have reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving at point guard, and Beal will have the chance to start at shooting guard ahead of Daniel Gibson, who will be coming off surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left foot and ankle next season. Beal and Irving together have the opportunity to immediately become one of the most formidable backcourts in the NBA.
Though Beal's scoring totals—14.8 points per game in his one year at Florida—weren't quite as high as many were hoping or expecting, he has the athleticism and the build to suggest that he has plenty of room to develop and improve. On top of that, he can be counted upon in the clutch, and that's something you can't teach even the best NBA prospect.
There are concerns about Beal—primarily with his height, which is listed at 6'5" but is more like 6'3", according to senior director of NBA scouting operations Ryan Blake. Beal's height is obviously less than ideal for a shooting guard, but it's not something that should scare the Cavs. It certainly doesn't scare Blake; the scout told the News-Herald's Bob Finnand:
He's listed as 6'5", but he's 6'3". He plays bigger than that. He can play a couple positions. He can handle the ball. … If you feel he plays above that height, in terms of his athleticism and the way he releases the ball, those things offset that.
Not only does Beal have the goods to be a lights-out shooter, but his defense isn't too shabby for a guard, either: He averaged 6.7 rebounds per game last season.
Beal is the kind of guard the Cavs can rely upon for years to come. If the Cavs have him and Irving, there will be very few other teams in the league who can match that backcourt in terms of both skill and athleticism. Beal alone gives the Cavs a chance to move from the Eastern Conference's 13th-place team to a playoff contender; he's their missing piece.
There's nothing like an All Star-caliber guard to take away the lingering LeBron James sting.
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