Grading Every Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Choice from the Past 2 Seasons
The Cleveland Cavs are in flux.
They are a young team that is trying their best to transition from the LeBron James era into a new and hopefully better time.
But they are not a good basketball team. Part of being a bad basketball team is securing high draft picks.
The Cavs are doing their best to build from the bottom up, and as a result, they are able to play their young guys quite a bit.
Luckily for the Cavs' fans, they are seemingly doing things right.
Here are all of the draft picks for the Cavs for the past two years, and what their grade has been.
Kyrie Irving, 2011: A
Kyrie Irving was drafted with the intention of being the franchise's new face, and he has really not disappointed.
He is your classic scoring point guard that can get to the hoop at will, has an underrated deep ball and is surprisingly good at setting up his teammates.
The only problem with Irving is the same issue that haunted him at Duke: durability.
He missed double-digit games as a rookie and is poised to miss at least that many this year. If he continues to miss games in bunches, he will certainly see his grade drop as well.
Tristan Thompson, 2011: B
Tristan Thompson came out of college with the reputation of being a high-energy guy that brought it all on defense. His offensive game was viewed as raw, but he made up for a lot of that with stellar athleticism.
Thompson has continued that trend in the pros. He is a fantastic rebounder and defender and while his offensive game still needs work, he shows a desire to get better.
The only real issue with Thompson thus far is his inability to block a ton of shots. This year, he is averaging less than one block per game, something that he should be flourishing at with his long arms and leaping ability.
That being said, it seems likely that this aspect of his game will improve as he gains knowledge and understanding of the league.
Justin Harper, 2011: Incomplete
Justin Harper, a stretch four, was drafted by Cleveland with a high second-round draft pick in 2011.
The Cavs subsequently traded Harper to Orlando for two future second-round picks.
Harper only played 14 games with Orlando before being waived. So far, his value seems to be pretty weak, although if the two second-round picks turn out to be good, that is where his value will be shown.
If I were giving a letter grade right now, however, it would not be good.
Milan Macvan, 2011: Incomplete
Milan Macvan was drafted by the Cavs late in the second round in 2011.
Macvan is not a bad player to draft, especially late. He is a classic European player that has a high basketball I.Q. and is fairly big and strong.
The problem right now is that he seems to be completely content with staying overseas, bouncing around a few leagues over the last couple years.
Should he come to the States and spend some time with Cleveland, he certainly would provide some solid bench help.
Dion Waiters, 2012: B
Thus far in Dion Waiters' young NBA career, he has done everything that the Cavs could have hoped for. He is a slasher that can create his own shot and take pressure off of Kyrie Irving and their offensively challenged big men.
He also has shown better than anticipated range, knocking down 41 percent of his three-pointers.
The only problem with Waiters so far has been consistency on the defensive side of the ball. He isn't overly big for a shooting guard, so his defensive prowess will always be tied to effort. Some nights he has it; other nights he doesn't.
If he wants to take the next step as a professional, this effort is going to have to be better on a consistent basis.
Tyler Zeller, 2012: C
The Cavs swung yet another trade during the draft this year, dealing late first-round pick Jared Cunningham, Jae Crowder and Bernard James for Tyler Zeller and Kelenna Azuibuike.
Thus far, the best player out of those above has been Crowder, but it is still very early.
Zeller is a willing big man, grabbing over five boards per game paired with close to seven points. He has good length and size and a high motor.
The problem with Zeller is his lower body strength. Right now, he is getting pushed around by stronger players, and that will continue unless he develops more strength.
He also has struggled to block shots at this level, something that will need to improve.