Their Risky Draft Choices Could Set the Franchise Back
Perhaps no team had a more talked about draft than the Cleveland Cavaliers. After seeing Bradley Beal go to Washington, the Cavs opted to go with another two-guard in Syracuse's Dion Waiters, which was considered a serious reach. Waiters was considered a mid-lottery prospect, but pulled out of pre-draft workouts because he had received "a promise from a lottery team" that turned out to be Cleveland, much to many fans' and pundits' surprise.
The team then packaged the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for former North Carolina star center Tyler Zeller. The squad needed to add size and Zeller, who graduated this spring, is a mature and skilled seven-footer that can make an impact around the basket.
However, both picks represent considerable risk. Waiters does not have a ton of experience and has never started a game for the Orange, which he should be asked to do for Cleveland next season from the jump.
He plays best with the ball in his hands, but so does their franchise point guard, a young buck named Kyrie Irving. He is good at reading passing lanes, but played little man-to-man defense in college and will need significant work in that department.
In an era where athleticism is valued above all else, Zeller is more of a traditional, back to the basket center. He can run the floor decently, but is not a high flyer or an athletic freak by any means. He is not particularly strong and will have to put on some muscle to guard the post and not be bullied inside by NBA competition.
There is obviously a chance that both moves pay off and Waiters becomes an ideal scoring backcourt compliment to Irving, while Zeller's know-how and soft touch earn him a spot in the Cavs' big man rotation, but both players still have a ways to go before they can make a major impact.
If either move turns out to be a failure, it could set back the franchise that is trying to build a winner through the draft, in the vein of Oklahoma City.