***Originally Published on Buckeye State Sports***
There’s less than a week until the 2013 NBA Draft, and rumors are still vastly circulating about what the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to do with their No. 1 overall pick. The most recent being that the Cavs have decided to draft Maryland center Alex Len first overall.
While Len possesses a very polished offensive game and is solid on the defensive end as well, it would be shocking to see the Cavs use the first overall pick on him. If they’re going to take a chance on an injured big (Len is recovering from a stress fracture in his left ankle), then they should choose the one with the most upside who can change the defensive dynamic of the team – Nerlens Noel.
As we inch closer to the draft, there seem to be reports coming out daily about the top seven prospects (Noel, Len, Otto Porter Jr., Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett and Trey Burke). McLemore is reportedly slipping in several mock drafts due to the Suns organization reporting that he was out of shape in workouts. Porter, McLemore and Oladipo reportedly looked about even in their Cavs’ workout, with none outshining the others. Noel’s “entourage” and management have reportedly given off bad vibes according to other media outlets as well.
It seems certain that these kinds of reports will continue to surface daily leading up to the draft, but the Cavs’ organization has remained silent on what they plan to do come June 27th. There are obviously a number of options that the Cavs can pursue throughout this draft, but this writer has a feeling it should go like this:
The Cavs should retain the No. 1 overall pick and draft Noel, the center from Kentucky.
Then, they should explore making a trade with the Dallas Mavericks, who currently own the No. 13 pick in the draft. Pro Basketball Draft reported on Thursday that the Mavs are looking to move out of the No. 13 spot and the Cavs are very interested in obtaining two lottery picks. To this writer, the best-case scenario for the Cavs would be obtaining the No. 13 pick and Shawn Marion for the No. 19 and possibly No. 31 pick. The Mavs want to get Marion’s $9-plus million dollars off their books in order to have a better chance at signing stars in free agency starting July 1st, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a ton of cap space to work with.
If Cavs’ general manager Chris Grant is able to pull off this trade, then the Cavs will be able to fill their gaping hole at the small forward spot. This trade would bring in a veteran small forward in Marion to start and 19-year-old Russian, Sergey Karasev (who this writer feels would be perfect with their other pick), to strengthen the bench.
Karasev was one of my top projections for the Cavs to take with the No. 19 pick, but apparently they are so impressed with him that they want to move up to ensure they are able to draft him. Personally, this seems like a great way to acquire Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or my dream prospect, Giannis Adetokunbo. Karasev is still a fantastic prospect, though. He fits what the Cavs need and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him starting some games next season.
As far as acquiring Marion, don’t freak out just yet. Many of you are probably wondering why the Cavs would want to pay a 35-year-old veteran over nine million dollars next season. In short, it will help them win in the short-term while not hurting them in the long-term. Marion will be a free agent after next season, so the Cavs can choose whether to re-sign him or let him go. The latter being the logical choice, which then frees up that money for 2014 free agency. Marion also showed this season that he could still play at a high level, even if he’s not as explosive as he once was. He has championship experience and will be able to positively affect the Cavs’ young core on and off the court. He would be a great fit at the starting small forward position, with Alonzo Gee and possibly Karasev coming off the bench.
Lastly, the Cavs should use their remaining pick to draft a backup point guard. This is assuming that Dallas accepts the above trade and doesn’t require this pick as well. If so, the Cavs should look at taking Virginia Tech senior guard Erick Green with the No. 33 pick in the draft.
Green is exceptionally quick with the ball, especially in transition, and led the NCAA in scoring this season with 25.4 points per game. He’s able to create his own shot, score off the dribble and is very tough to block as well. He is a good distributor, and would bring some much-needed energy and scoring off the bench for the Cavs. If Green is already off the board, the Cavs should consider the following point guards: South Dakota St. senior Nate Wolters, N.C. State junior Lorenzo Brown or Louisville senior Peyton Siva.
The Cavs are in the driver’s seat for the 2013 NBA draft and whichever route they take will affect the franchise’s future for quite some time. With less than a week to go, my trust is that Grant will make the right decisions again come draft day.
Follow Wade Foley on Twitter @WFoley22