This article will break down the team needs and offseason strategy I think the Cleveland Cavaliers should employ. It will include a draft theory explanation followed by 12 scenarios that the Cavs should consider to turn around the franchise.
A position-by-position analysis of the team will start off the article.
Baron Davis is penciled in as the starter. He is no longer an All-Star caliber player, but he averaged a respectable 13.1 ppg and 6.7 apg last season.
Ramon Sessions is the primary backup. He put up fairly similar numbers to Baron Davis, averaging 13.3 ppg and 5.2 apg last season.
Boobie Gibson is the third-string PG and is really more of a shooter than a PG. His handle is good enough for third string, though. He averaged 11.6 ppg, 3 apg and is almost a career 42-percent 3-point shooter.
Overall there isn't anything to be extremely excited about at PG, but it is certainly solid from top to bottom on the depth chart. Each player is signed for two more years.
Christian Eyenga would probably be the starting SG at this point. He is an athletic specimen, but about as raw as raw can get. His ceiling is truly as a defensive stopper off the bench.
Manny Harris would be the primary backup. He is an erratic player that can occasionally get a few buckets when on a roll. He is not the athletic freak that Eyenga is, and therefore his potential is very limited.
Overall the SG position offers nothing than a possible backup down the road on a good team. A major area of weakness for this team.
Alonzo Gee would probably be the starting SF at this point. He is a roster filler player at best.
Joey Graham would be the primary backup. He makes Gee look like an enticing option. Enough said.
Overall the SF position is a veritable black hole. Easily the biggest area of need on the team.
J.J. Hickson is penciled in as the starter. Hickson is easily the best young player on the team. Last season, he averaged 13.8 ppg and 8.7 rpg. As he develops, those numbers should continue to rise.
Anderson Varejao is the primary backup. He is a very talented defensive specialist and a fringe Sixth Man of the Year award candidate. His energy off the bench is crucial to the team. He can slide over to C against smaller backups.
Antawn Jamison may be the best third-string PF in the league. He likes to shoot the three ball more than play on the low block, but his offense is huge for the team.
He put up 18 ppg last year. His true value is his expiring contract, which could really come into play near the 2012 February Trade Deadline.
Samardo Samuels is simply a young roster filler with very little upside.
Luke Harangody is a young roster filler who is more polished than Samuels, but has even less upside.
Overall, the PF position is easily the deepest and most talented position on the team. Not an area of need at all.
Ryan Hollins would probably be penciled in as the starting C at this point. He is tall and mobile but doesn't bring much of anything to the table. He would be subpar even for a backup.
Semih Erden is the primary backup. He is a little intriguing in terms of upside. He could be a solid backup down the road.
Overall the C position is very weak. This needs to be addressed for the team to improve.
SG, SF and C are all woefully thin on talent. PG isn't spectacular but is certainly solid while PF is the strength of the team.
There is an age old debate over whether to draft for need or for best available player. Neither strategy is a wise means of selection if the other is ignored entirely.
To properly evaluate a draft plan, players need to be placed into tiers. There are five tiers in total and in general, all players on the same tier should be considered equal.
Also, players from the tier above should almost always be drafted ahead of a player from a lower tier.
These players come around just a few times a generation. I have been following the draft in depth for the last 21 years. In all that time I have only seen three players that fit this description.
These are the sort of players that every team should take if they win the lottery regardless of who is currently on the roster. A lock Hall of Famer instantly makes the team that drafts him a title contender.
Shaq and Duncan both won four rings and are mortal locks to make the Hall of Fame. LeBron hasn't won a ring yet, but at this point looks like a lock to make the Hall of Fame.
These players come around once every few years. These are the sort of players that most teams should take first overall if they win the lottery.
However, exceptions need to be made if there is already young talent at the position or if the position isn't a glaring area of need while another tier two or tier three player sits on the board at an area of dire need.
You find these players in every draft class, even in weak ones like this year. These are the sort of players that predominantly make up the top part of the lottery.
They have the potential to make several All Star teams, but it isn't a given that they do so. At the very least they are expected to be very good starters. These type of players can make you a fringe playoff team and are typically the type of player that gets teams in trouble the most.
You will see a lot of high potential guys here that never pan out. Too many times guys are viewed as Tier 2 players when they are truly Tier 3 at best. Some examples over the last 21 years include Kenyon Martin and Andrew Bogut.
These players make up the bulk of the late lottery to middle first round of the draft. It is a safe bet that they will be a very solid starter in the league, but they lack the ceiling to ever become an All-Star.
You find these players late in the first round and throughout the entire second round. At best teams hope they can become a really solid role player in a nine- or 10-man rotation.
At worst, these guys ride the pine to fill out the roster as a cheap player.
As covered in the positional analysis, the Cavaliers have three big holes on the team; SG, SF and C.
As luck would have it, the Cavaliers possess three big assets this offseason; the 1st overall pick, the fourth overall pick and the $14+ million trade exception from the sign and trade involving LeBron James.
Logic would dictate that you use your three assets to improve on your three areas of weakness. Now onto the scenarios from least to most desirable.
With the first pick, draft SF Derrick Williams from Arizona. With the fourth pick, draft SG Alec Burks from Colorado.
With the first pick, draft C Enes Kanter. With the fourth pick, draft SG Alec Burks. With the 10th pick, draft the best SF left on the board.
This trade has already been widely speculated as part of a three-team trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With the first pick, draft SF Derrick Williams. With the fourth pick, draft C Enes Kanter. With the eighth pick, draft Alec Burks if he is still on the board.
The Cavs could use Monta's scoring punch. With the first pick, draft SF Derrick Williams. With the fourth pick, draft C Enes Kanter.
Use the trade exception to acquire SF Danny Granger from the Indiana Pacers.
If the Pacers trade Granger, they don't have big money tied up in any player past this next season. In a more restrictive salary cap structure that could be a windfall.
With the first pick, draft C Enes Kanter. With the fourth pick, draft SG Alec Burks.
Use the trade exception to acquire SG Andre Iguodala from the 76ers">Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers have been rumored for years to be looking to shed the money owed to Iguodala.
With the first pick, draft SF Derrick Williams. With the fourth pick, draft C Enes Kanter.
Use the trade exception to acquire SF Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Between the postseason run made without Gay, the necessity to resign Gasol, and the possible hard cap on the horizon, the Grizzlies trade Gay for the trade exception and a future protected first-round pick.
With the first pick, draft C Enes Kanter. With the fourth pick, draft SG Alec Burks.
Use the trade exception to acquire C Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers.
After getting swept many people are speculating the Lakers need a shake up. Bynum has been prone to injury, but if healthy is one of the best C in the league.
With the first pick, draft SF Derrick Williams. With the fourth pick draft SG Alec Burks.
Use the trade exception to acquire C Greg Oden after he signs a three-year, $25 million extension from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Oden needs a fresh start somewhere new and this may be the Blazers' last chance to get something of value for Oden if he gets injured again.
This will probably require the Cavs to part with either PG Ramon Sessions or a future protected first-round pick in addition to the trade exception. If Oden stays healthy, he could be the second best C in the league.
With the first pick, draft SF Derrick Williams. With the fourth pick, draft SG Alec Burks.
As you can see each scenario resulted in the Cavs picking up a SG, SF and C in various combinations. What you probably also noted is that in no scenario did I suggest the Cavs should draft PG Kyrie Irving.
I could write an entire article on why the Cavs should not draft Irving. However, Cavaliers Featured Columnist Bob Evans recently wrote an article which you can read here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/707999-cleveland-cavs-what-has-kyrie-irving-done-to-be-a-lock-at-no-1-in-the-2 in which he knocked the article out of the ballpark.
His article and follow up comments below were probably the best Cavs related article I have ever read.
I know the Cavs will more than likely draft Irving. I also think that five years from now Bob Evans, myself, and every other rational Cavs fan will be telling the masses "I told you so."
Let me know what you think in the comments section.