The Cavaliers left the 2011 NBA draft with renewed hope and two players that have the potential to impact the Cavaliers immediately. The man who has the most control over the realization of that potential is the one who doles out the playing time, Byron Scott.
Scott has been heralded as a turnaround expert—not exactly what the Cavs had in mind when signing him last summer, but experience that will prove beneficial in the rebuilding of the team.
The following draft picks powered those turnarounds and can give insight into Scott's strategy with the Cavaliers' newest additions.
Byron Scott was named coach of the New Jersey Nets a day before the Nets selected Kenyon Martin with the first pick in the 2000 NBA draft. Martin went on to make an immediate contribution with the Nets, starting all games he appeared in.
Scott's decision to start Martin was a necessity after Keith Van Horn suffered a broken leg during the preseason. Martin didn't relinquish his spot after Van Horn's return, scoring 12 points and 7.4 rebounds in 33.4 minutes a game.
Impact on Cavs: Both rookies need to be ready to make the most of unforeseen opportunities. The Cavs had a number of injuries last year, and Scott will stick by someone who plays well in an injured player's absence.
Byron Scott was greeted by an atrocious 2-24 start in New Orleans, leading to the trade of David Wesley to Houston. The trade cleared room for rookie J.R. Smith.
Smith was given 24.5 minutes a game for the dismal 18-win Hornets. J.R. started the remainder of the season, scoring 10.3 points per game.
Impact on Cavs: If the Cavs start poorly, look for Scott to give up on the veterans and turn towards the younger players. Antawn Jamison and Baron Davis are two players that will have their minutes reduced in favor of the rookies.
The Hornets selected Chris Paul with the fourth pick in the 2005 draft after freeing up the point guard position by trading Baron Davis.
Paul started all 78 games that season, averaging 16.1 points, 7.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 36 minutes a game. The Hornets improved their win total by 20 games, while Paul was named the 2005-2006 Rookie of the Year.
Impact on Cavs: Byron Scott's experience in developing Chris Paul can help point guard Kyrie Irving achieve a successful rookie season.
The Hornets selected two forwards with the No. 12 and 15 picks in the 2007 draft, Hilton Armstrong and Cedric Simmons. Both players came off the bench to support the playoff contenders with the following contributions:
No. 12 Hilton Armstrong: 11.3 MPG 3.1 PPG 2.7 RPG
No. 15 Cedric Simmons: 12.4 MPG 2.9 PPG 2.5 RPG
Impact on Cavs: Expect Tristan Thompson to receive between 10 and 15 minutes a game behind J.J. Hickson to start the season.
New Orleans wanted to add to its frontcourt again in the 2007 draft with the selection of Julian Wright at No. 13. Wright was given similar playing time as Armstrong and Hilton in their rookie seasons, but the more interesting actions were taken on the second-year players.
Hilton Armstrong remained with the team to contribute in a similar fashion to the previous year.
The Hornets traded Cedric Simmons to the Cavaliers for David Wesley and cash. Wesley was subsequently waived.
Impact on Cavs: Tristan Thompson will be given his shot this season, but a forward-heavy 2012 draft will make him expendable if he fails to perform.