The 2014 NBA Draft is just a few short hours away, which means the Cleveland Cavaliers and new general manager David Griffin will finally make a decision on what to do with the No. 1 overall pick. As the rumors continue to swirl, Griffin and the Cavaliers front office is likely deciding between Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker—if they keep the pick.
Keeping the pick seems to be the general consensus among Cavaliers fans, but many NBA guys have gone on record over the past week or so saying the team should consider some of these multiple-pick plus a veteran offers. One that has sparked the interest of many is a rumor of the Cavaliers sending the No. 1 pick to the Orlando Magic for picks No. 4, No. 12 and veteran shooting guard, Arron Afflalo.
For a team like the Cavaliers, a deal like this would certainly give them plenty of ways to improve their roster in a big way. Afflalo instantly gives them a starting shooting guard who can fill it up from all over the court, pushing Dion Waiters—if he isn’t traded—to the sixth man role he played very well in last season. But the big question is who they would take with the two lottery selections.
There is a major drop-off of sorts after Wiggins and Parker in terms of long-term and immediate impact. Joel Embiid would be included easily in this conversation, but his most recent foot injury has cast a major shadow of doubt over whether he can stay healthy or not. Though if he fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in this scenario at No. 4, the Cavaliers could roll the dice on him knowing they still have another lottery selection to go.
Though this trade is not exactly what this writer would do, if the Cavaliers make this move the following two guys would be the best fit for the Cavaliers at No. 4 and No. 12.
No. 4 – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
If Embiid slips past the Sixers because of concern over his foot, the Cavaliers would absolutely have to roll the dice on him at this point. Giving up Wiggins or Parker by trading the No. 1 pick, Embiid gives the Cavaliers the best opportunity to actually come out of this draft with a superstar down the road. Any other guy here would be a nice contributor with a possibility of developing into an All-Star, but none could dominate their position the way Embiid can.
However, the Cavaliers would be making this move with the assumption that their top pick in the draft would likely not play until November or December if his foot injury takes a long time to heal. For a team attempting to sell LeBron James or other big free agents on joining their team, having a rookie center out until the second month of the season is not the best selling point.
Despite all of the injuries, Embiid is the only logical selection if the Cavaliers were to make this move with the Magic. For that reason, you could see the Cavaliers take Wiggins or Parker at No. 1 and then agree to the deal if Embiid is still there when the Magic are on the clock.
No. 12 – Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
After adding a shooting guard and a center, the Cavaliers still have a major hole at the small forward position. Enter Hood, a 6’8” and 208-pound small forward who has drawn comparisons to Rashard Lewis thanks to his ability to space the floor and knock down shots from all over.
Whether the team goes out and signs a small forward or not in free agency, Hood would easily find himself a spot in the Cavaliers rotation. He is an unselfish player who would fit well in David Blatt’s offense, and he can attack and get to the basket with ease when he puts his mind to it.
Neither of these moves scream “playoffs” next season—which is why this trade likely will not happen. However, if the Cavaliers are able to make a few big acquisitions in free agency and bring these two along at a slower pace, the team could be a major player in the Eastern Conference for a long time.