NBA Draft 2012: Cavs Continue to Rebuild with Additions of Waiters and Zeller

Douglas WrightContributor IIIJune 29, 2012

The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Dion Waiters with the fourth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Dion Waiters with the fourth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.Elsa/Getty Images

Head coach Byron Scott commented in April that he did not expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to make the playoffs in 2013. This odd remark was not a degradation of the team, but a look into the collective conscience of the entire organization.

Patience is the key for fans during this era of rebuilding, and that patience was tested on draft night when the Cavs shocked the NBA for the second year in a row by reaching on the No.4 pick in the draft and selecting Syracuse guard Dion Waiters

An hour later, the Cavs traded away the rights to the No.24, No.33 and No.34 picks to the Dallas Mavericks for North Carolina center Tyler Zeller and NBA veteran small forward Kelenna Azubuike.

The evening was an emotional roller coaster for fans who initially booed the Waiters pick at the Cavs' draft party in Quicken Loans Arena. Jeers turned to cheers when the trade for Zeller was announced, but the overall tone of the evening was confusion.

Just a week removed from watching the Miami Heat win their first NBA Championship, Cavs fans are struggling with the desire to win immediately or build for the future.

Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller are not as glamorous as the thought of Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist running the floors at The Q, but the truth is that both Waiters and Zeller are already the best players at their respective Cavalier positions.

An influx of young talent, however, will not be able to hide the gaping hole at small forward and lack of depth. Omri Casspi was a disappointment in 2011-12, and fan favorite Alonzo Gee would be an able sixth man at best on most NBA teams.

The key moment will come next year during the 2013 draft. This will be the third draft in a row with at least two first-round picks; and if Sacramento can avoid being a lottery-bound team next season, the Cavs could acquire a third.

Having already drafted four of the five positions in Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller during the rebuild, the Cavs have the luxury of going all-in on the best small forward in the draft.

It is still doubtful that the Cavs will be aggressive in free agency until the young core team has had an opportunity to play a full season together. As long as GM Chris Grant can keep their spending at a minimum, the team will be in a position to grab some players in the 2014 free-agent class (that topic is for another article).

Until then, go Cavs!