The Cleveland Cavaliers Need to Move on Without LeBron James
It is no doubt that within this offseason full of big name free agents, LeBron James is the biggest name on the market.
All are in the realm of possibility. Many fans want him to stay and hope he can win a championship for Cleveland. The thing is, though, if he couldn't win it this season, then how will he ever win it in Cleveland.
He had Mo Williams! He had Shaquille O'Neal! He had Antawn Jamison!
It is time to face the facts that LeBron James will never win a championship in Cleveland.
If anything, the Cavaliers shouldn't mind LeBron leaving as much as the fans do. Ever since LeBron was drafted by the Cavaliers, they have not built through the draft.
Milwaukee is on the rise, with players such as Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings.
Oklahoma City has a MVP contender in Kevin Durant as well as Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Jeff Green.
The Clippers have rising stars such as Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin.
All of these teams are concentrating on drafting young talent making it easier to mold the team they want to.
Acquiring players such as Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Ben Wallace, Delonte West, Shaquille O'Neal, Mo Williams, and Antawn Jamison have cost them drafting young talent.
The Cavaliers have traded away many draft picks. They would have had opportunities to draft players such as Danny Granger of the Pacers (2005), and Aaron Brooks of the Rockets (2007) if they didn't trade away their picks.
Let's just say the Cavaliers built through the draft since drafting Zydrunas Ilgauskas way back in 1996.
1996- C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 1st round 20th overall
1998- PG Andre Miller, 1st round 8th overall
2000- SG Jamal Crawford, 1st round 8th overall
2001- C Dasagana Diop, 1st round 8th overall
C Brendan Haywood, 1st round 20th overall
2002- PF Carlos Boozer, 2nd round 34th overall
2003- SF LeBron James, 1st round 1st overall
SF Jason Kapono, 2nd round 31st overall
2004- C/PF Anderson Varejao, 2nd round 30th overall (Orlando)
2006- SG Shannon Brown, 1st round 25th overall
PG Daniel Gibson, 2nd round 42nd overall
2008- PF JJ Hickson, 1st round 19th overall
2009- SG Danny Green, 2nd round 46th overall
So the Cavaliers have drafted a lot of talent. Let's just say they also happened to land Danny Granger and Aaron Brooks with the picks they should have had.
Cleveland Cavalier's depth chart:
PG- Andre Miller, Aaron Brookes, Daniel Gibson
SG- Jamal Crawford, Shannon Brown, Danny Granger
SF- LeBron James, Danny Granger
PF- Carlos Boozer, JJ Hickson, Anderson Varejao
C- Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao, Brendan Haywood
Reserves- SG Danny Green, SF Jason Kapono, C Dasagana Diop
This team is a great mix of youth and experience. They starting rotation has a least three All-Stars in it, and has solid contributors coming off the bench. Aaron Brooks, Danny Grander, and Anderson Varejao would all be competing for 6th man of the year.
LeBron James would always be able to take a breather with Danny Granger behind him and the versatility between the two of them at SG, SF, and PF could destroy teams.
If the Cavaliers built through the draft, they would be the best team in the NBA right now.
So what does this tell you? That the Cavaliers should build through the draft!
LeBron is gone and it's not as bad as it seems. We have two remaining contracts worth trading on the team. Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. Both have trade value and neither belong on a rebuilding team especially when the team has no draft picks in the upcoming draft.
Dish Mo and Antawn out to team needing that missing piece for draft picks and expiring contracts. Then the Cavaliers can head into the draft with work to do.
After the Mo and Antawn trades, the nucleus of the Cavalier's roster would be West, Gibson, Parker, Green, Moon, Hickson, Powe, and Varejao.
The players the Cavaliers need to build around are Gibson, Hickson, Green, and Varejao. Gibson has yet to develope but has so much potential. Hickson showed flashes of greatness this season. Green is just over his rookie campaign. Varejao can be a leader.
In the draft the Cavaliers should focus on drafting a small forward and a center. I would love to see them land Donatas Motiejunas, the center out of Lithuania. Perfect player to replace the retired Ilgauskas.
Cleveland faithful, I wanted it so bad this year but we choked yet again. There are so many teams on the rise, and we just can contend or keep up. It is time to start fresh. LeBron deserves the best team there is and that is not the Cavaliers.
Imagine a few years down the road. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the next Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that came out of nowhere to contend. The Cavaliers will be that team if they build through the draft.
Whether Mike Browns is around or not, it doesn't matter. Start Over!
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