NBA Draft 2012: Why the Cavaliers Should Stockpile Picks for Next Year
"Wait till next year" is constantly in a Cleveland sports fans' lexicon, but this Cavaliers franchise is driven to build a championship-contender as quickly as possible.
When it comes to the night of the 2011 NBA draft, it might be more beneficial for the Cavaliers' decision makers to follow this normally negative outlook.
Going into Thursday night's draft, the Cavaliers own nine first-round picks and seven second-round picks within the next five years. Add a roster of players whom the Cavaliers' front office and fans aren't necessarily in love with, and GM Chris Grant has the potential to recreate the Cavs' favorable lottery positions in the 2012 draft.
Here are eight 2012 NBA draft prospects that could make excellent additions to the Cavs.
Anthony Davis: 6'10" Power Forward, Kentucky, Freshman
If the Cavaliers find themselves with the No. 1 pick in 2012, Anthony Davis will make his way up Interstate 71 to Cleveland. Davis averaged 32 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocks a game as a high school senior, receiving McDonald's and Jordan Brand All-American honors. Davis should benefit from a year of development under John Calipari while leading a stacked Kentucky team back to the Final Four.
If he's available, the Cavs will take him and clear his position in the lineup afterwards. Davis is the first of many forwards who will be available next year, which needs to be considered when selecting the Cavs' fourth pick.
Austin Rivers: 6'4" Shooting Guard, Duke, Freshman
If your dad is Doc Rivers and you play for Mike Kryzewski, you're going to have a pretty good basketball education prior to the NBA.
Austin Rivers is an excellent scorer, averaging 28.8 PPG in his high school senior season. He racked up awards in the past year, including the Naismith Player of the Year, Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida, McDonald's All-American and Jordan Brand All-American.
The pairing of Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers would make Cavs fans' ecstatic to have an all-Duke backcourt.
Harrison Barnes: 6'8" Small Forward, North Carolina, Sophomore
Harrison Barnes returned to North Carolina in order to win a National Championship following his ACC Rookie of the Year performance in 2010-2011. Expect the "Black Falcon" to be available in the 2012 draft, with or without a championship.
Small forward is the weakest position on the court for the Cavaliers, and the 2011 draft doesn't offer much for this deficiency. Barnes could make an immediate impact following his second year in the college game.
Jared Sullinger: 6'9" Power Forward, Ohio State, Sophomore
The Columbus native could help eliminate the bad taste left by the last Ohioan. Sullinger finished the 2010-2011 season with an impressive 17.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG. Look for those numbers to increase after the departure of Jon Diebler (12.6 PPG) and David Lighty (12.1 PPG).
Sullinger's inside game would be an improvement at power forward and increase attendance for a team without a fan favorite.
Michael Gilchrist: 6'7" Small Forward, Kentucky, Freshman
Should the Cavaliers just trade teams with Kentucky?
Michael Gilchrist's strengths favor defense and rebounding, but he still went on to score 19.4 PPG in his high school senior season. He'll compete for shots at Kentucky, where he'll look to improve his shooting range in order to be considered for selection at the top of the lottery.
Quincy Miller: 6'9" Small Forward, Baylor, Freshman
This brash young Chicagoan could provide some fire to the Cavaliers, along with perimeter play that promises to provide matchup problems with other small forwards in the NBA. Miller will team up with Perry Jones at Baylor to form a powerful duo within college basketball.
James McAdoo: 6'9" Small Forward, North Carolina, Freshman
The nephew of former NBA player Bob McAdoo, James will bring strong fundamentals and his share of exciting above the rim play to North Carolina next season. McAdoo scored 23 points a game as the 2011 Player of the Year in Virginia.
Perry Jones: 6'11" Power Forward, Baylor, Sophomore
Perry Jones would have been a lottery pick this year, but his return to Baylor should only strengthen his NBA-readiness for the 2012 draft. After averaging 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds a game in the 2010-2011 season, Jones will form a mighty frontcourt with incoming freshman Quincy Miller.
Forwards Will Be Available in 2012
J.J. Hickson might be the future of the Cavaliers in 2011, but the formidable crop of small and power forwards could make a strong impact on the Cavaliers' starting frontcourt.
The Cavs should utilize the 2011 NBA draft for what it is best at: point guards. It appears that is the plan and Kyrie Irving will be the Cavs No. 1 pick.
When it comes to the fourth pick and any trades the Cavs might be considering, the class of 2012 must be kept in mind. Any pick in next year's lottery could greater benefit the Cavs in comparison with the fourth selection this year.