The Cleveland Cavaliers must hit on the 2014 draft.
Fans, along with owner Dan Gilbert, are become increasingly impatient with the current product. Former general manager Chris Grant whiffed on forward Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, so all eyes will be on the new front office—whether that is led by David Griffin or someone else—to pair an effective player with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
The answer: Creighton forward Doug McDermott.
Despite holding four lottery selections since LeBron James left town in 2010, the Cavaliers still have several significant holes to fill. Cleveland could certainly stand to upgrade the center and shooting guard positions, but small forward should—and likely will—be the top priority.
McDermott would join Cleveland as possibly the most polished scorer in the country. His plethora of offensive space-creating selections bear a striking resemblance to Dirk Nowitzki, as McDermott has the ability to make shots from seemingly every angle on the floor.
According to Kenpom (subscription required), McDermott has the fourth-highest offensive rating in the nation this season and is third in offensive wins shared, a measurement to depict how many wins should be credited to a particular player.
Put simply, McDermott cannot be left open. And even if he is not, the 6’8” forward will still find a way to beat you.
With McDermott, you know what you are going to get.
The senior was one of college basketball’s best and most consistent players since his sophomore season began. He averaged between 22.9 and 26.7 points per game over the span, and he contributed between 7.0 and 8.2 rebounds per game. This season, the senior forward tallied 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent from the field, including 45 percent from beyond the arc.
While McDermott draws a lot of comparisons with former Creighton star Kyle Korver, McDermott will leave the school as a more well-rounded basketball player. At his best, McDermott may be able to transform his game to become a smaller version of Nowitzki, one of the most versatile scorers in the game.
But Cleveland cannot draft him with the expectation that he will evolve into a featured scoring option. It can, however, select McDermott with the expectation that he will be a shot-maker—a guy who can spread the floor, knock down jumpers and finish opportunities created by Irving.
While he may never be a player who wows fans with his incredible talent or athletic ability, McDermott would be a breath of fresh air for the Cavaliers faithful.
After years of drafting freshman and sophomore project players, it would be a welcomed change to have a player step in and be ready to contribute from day one. While his ceiling may not be as high as some prospects expected to be drafted before him, McDermott might be one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft.
Barring another lottery miracle that affords Cleveland the opportunity to select Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, Cleveland should certainly take a long look at the 22-year-old McDermott.