The Cleveland Cavaliers surprised many critics early in their 2011-12 campaign. One year removed from setting an NBA record with 26 consecutive losses, this year's squad had a whole new swagger about them.
The movement was led by big man Anderson Varejão—who was in the midst of having a career year—and sensational rookie point guard Kyrie Irving. The two connected on a countless number of perfectly executed pick-and-rolls and got the Cavs off to a 10-15 start. It seemed as though the two had been playing together for years rather than just several months, and the team was in the hunt for their first playoff berth in the post-LeBron James era.
But, of course, it wouldn't be Cleveland without some bad luck.
The injury bug hit the Cavs hard, bringing down Varejão for the rest of the season and causing veterans Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker to sporadically miss action. The Cavs won just eight of their remaining 35 games after the All-Star break and finished tied for the third-worst record in the league.
Regardless, Irving proved himself as the franchise cornerstone that the Cavs hoped he could become when they selected him first overall in the 2011 draft. Fellow rookie Tristan Thompson and young swingman Alonzo Gee also impressed and established themselves as building blocks for the future.
And now, with the 2012 draft quickly approaching, the Cavs will have another opportunity to further advance their rebuilding project. The team has four picks total—the fourth, 24th (from the Lakers), 33rd, and 34th (from the Hornets)—and plenty of glaring holes in their roster that need to be filled.
Let's take a look at the four most immediate needs that general manager Chris Grant and crew should aim to address in this draft.