The Cleveland Cavaliers surprised observers for the second year in a row in the fourth slot of the draft and then followed up with a trade up to land a big man that the team badly needed and fell farther than expected.
Syracuse guard Dion Waiters had supposedly been charging up the Cleveland charts,but most thought that the fourth pick was a bit high and the Cavaliers interest in Waiters might be a smokescreen or at least a trade down possibility.
Chris Grant and the rest of the Cavalier braintrust thought differently and tabbed Waiters anyway.
Cleveland surprised the league last season with Tristan Thompson over Jonas Valanciunas and that worked with a promising rookie year by Thompson,although the long term decision is still out on the pick.
Waiters is regarded as a scorer that can put the ball on the floor,but can hit a jumper,which puts him ahead of many Cavaliers already.
Waiters is also rated as an above average defender and his coach Jim Boeheim says that Waiters is the most NBA ready guard that he has ever coached.
I disregard the worry of why Waiters never started at Syracuse,that is a coaches choice.
Waiters was among the leaders in minutes per game,so I am not concerned about that at all.
The scoring is not the worry or even the talent,I believe that is there,the bigger question is this-Do the Cavaliers know what they are getting?
Waiters did not make himself available for teams to work out or visit with him as he was reported to have a "promise" to be a lottery pick by one team if he did not do the workout circuit.
I am open minded on Waiters as I think the skills are there to make the Cleveland backcourt one of the better ones in the league,but I do think that there is risk here and Cleveland might have made a huge step back,if Waiters does not pan out.
But I do have hope-there are few pundits that I respect more than ESPN"S John Hollinger (not Don Hollinger from THAT Girl) and Hollinger's draft rater that uses statistical data project Waiters as "the best small wing prospect since Dwyane Wade".
If that comes true,look out league!
I do like the move up to get the 17th pick from Dallas,who had selected North Carolina center Tyler Zeller there.
Cleveland sent their other three picks 24,32,and 33 to Dallas for the Wladimir Klitschko look alike and I think that when you can gain a lottery level talent for those picks,you made a good deal.
The seven foot Zeller runs the floor well and hits the boards strongly and was no worse than the second best available center in the draft.
Zeller will never be a huge scorer,but I do think he will be a useful player for a long time.
A superstar? No,but a 12 and 8/10 type player and those guys are always a part of good teams and considering the cost of the trade,I am totally on board with this one.
Zeller has a nice touch from the outside,but will need to fill out more to complement
his interior game,but I still think that this was a nice move....