The Cleveland Cavaliers boast some solid talent in their frontcourt, with Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and last year's No. 17 overall pick from the Dallas Mavericks, Tyler Zeller. But Varejao carries injury concerns along with a non-guaranteed contract for 2014-15, while Thompson and Zeller are short on experience.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported that Cleveland was trying to trade the first overall pick, targeting Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves to no avail. Through rampant speculation on a murky draft class, the most popular projections for Cleveland's No. 1 pick were two big men, Kentucky's Nerlens Noel and, surprisingly, Maryland's Alex Len.
Name: Anthony Bennett
Pick: No. 1 overall, First Round
Analysis: In the end, Cleveland shocked everyone by taking UNLV's Anthony Bennett first overall. Though a sizable stretch-4, very few foresaw Bennett's ascent to No. 1, especially considering that he's coming off surgery on his left rotator cuff.
Did that really just happen?! Even Anthony Bennett and his camp didn't think he was going No. 1.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 27, 2013
Standing at 6'8", Bennett boasts a 7'1" wingspan and tips the scales near 240 pounds. Draft Express projected him as the eighth overall pick, but different rankings varied wildly for Nos. 1 through 10. Despite speculation that he's a tweener, his beefy size puts him more in the mold of a true power forward. He can stretch the defense with his shooting from the perimeter however.
Last year's No. 4 overall pick Dion Waiters and potential superstar point man Kyrie Irving have Cleveland's guard spots on lockdown for a while to come, so it makes sense to stack their frontcourt with talent to boot.
Getting To Know Anthony Bennett
Name: Sergey Karasev
Pick: No. 19 overall, First Round
Analysis: According to ESPN's broadcast of the draft, Sergey Karasev was in attendance but planned to hop a flight soon after for Belgrade, Serbia to play for the Russian national team. Nevertheless, ESPN reported Karasev's agent as saying he plans to head to the U.S. next year instead of staying in Russia.
With the #19 pick, Cleveland picks Sergey Karasev. Cavs get the high basketball IQ shooter they coveted. Very fortunate turn of events.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 28, 2013
Karasev plays like a slick-shooting swingman and continues the trend of international players trumping college kids in the middle of the first round.
Along with Bennett, the Cavs have now landed two picks who can supplement starting small forward Alonzo Gee. Karasev brings the added benefit of dangerous perimeter shooting and constitutes a good value pick at No. 19.
Getting To Know Sergey Karasev
Name: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Pick: No. 31 overall, Second Round (traded to the Portland Trail Blazers)
Name: Carrick Felix
Pick: No. 33 overall, Second Round
School: Arizona State
Analysis: The Cavs selected a player at No. 33 very much in the mold of the player they picked and then traded at No. 31. Felix gives them an athletic wing, but scouting reports on him vary widely in their assessment of his talent.
Felix is another 6'6" shooting guard out of the Pac-12. He can score his share of buckets, averaging 14.6 points per game last season for the Sun Devils. He can also rebound well for a small forward, pulling down 8.1 a night most recently. That will provide even more versatility at the 3 for Cleveland.
Allen Crabbe is heading to Portland. Pick traded by Cleveland.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 28, 2013
But Felix did not place this highly on any draft boards outside Cleveland's. DraftExpress ranked him 69th among all prospects, so this may have been a reach early in the second round with better players available.
Getting To Know Carrick Felix