The Cleveland Cavaliers wanted a guard to go with Kyrie Irving in their backcourt. Apparently, they even wanted one bad enough to reach for Dion Waiters with the No. 4 overall pick. That pick will go down as the biggest stretch in the 2012 NBA draft.
Many assumed that the Cavaliers would be trading up to get Florida’s Bradley Beal, but instead they settled for Waiters at the No. 4 pick. However, Waiters would have been available later on, possibly even at pick No. 8 or 10.
Cleveland should have traded back to gain some other picks and get Waiters at a cheaper price. Instead, they end up overpaying for a player who isn’t worth that high of a pick.
There were many other players that would have been better by trading down in the draft, or up. Beal is the big one. He was by far the best shooting guard in this draft, and it doesn’t make any sense not to go get him—especially considering all the picks Cleveland had to trade with.
Terrence Ross of Washington and Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut could have been gotten later in the round had Cleveland traded back. Trading back also would have netted them more picks, which would have made it even easier for them to wheel and deal moving forward.
Unlike those two players, Waiters is undersized for the shooting guard position and lacks a consistent jumper. He’s a player who needs the ball in his hands—and that seems unwise for Cleveland, who have a potential superstar in point guard Kyrie Irving.
Don’t get me wrong, Waiters is a good player. He can score the ball and is a combo guard who possibly could play either guard spot in the NBA. He’s strong, relentless and a very good ball handler. He’s even drawn some comparisons to a young Dwyane Wade—and I can’t say those are completely off base.
However, that still doesn’t mean that Waiters is a good pick at No. 4 overall. That high of a pick should mean that a player is a franchise-making star. Instead, the Cavaliers got a player who could be really good, but he could also be just another athletic guard who can’t shoot. Later in the draft, he’d be a good pick. At No. 4, he is the biggest stretch in the draft.