Pre-Draft Cavalier Thoughts
June 28, 2012 By Mark Leonard
This corner is among those thinking the best the team can do is manage to land Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, for a multitude of sound reasons. Two of them are point guard Kyrie Irving and Head Coach Byron Scott, both of whom would appreciate assistance from his spot in the lineup.
Irving's penetration should enable all teammates open looks, the likes of which Beal should optimize. Irving could also use the assistance of another's creative abilities, as well as someone able to absorb some of the scoring burden. Simply put, a player of Beal's skill sets would better bring out the best in his courtmates than any other available talent in this year's draft and is, therefore, worth moving up from 4 to 2 if necessary.
Were he able to feature such a tandem in his backcourt, Scott would not only have the foundational elements for long-standing team success, but he'd find it easier to round-out his lineup than if he reinforced another lineup spot reliant on those likely within the team's realistic reach. Though the club could use upgrades at small forward and center, as well as shooting guard, Cleveland stands a better chance to acquire serviceable commodities using later picks in the draft than to prioritize something other than 2-guard with their first number-one opportunity.
Scott himself was an outstanding shooting guard in the sport, both collegiately at Arizona State and professionally with LA's Lakers. Known for accelerating the maturation of his young players, Scott figures to do particularly well mentoring a similar talent like Beal. A solid all-around performer, Scott should do wonders with Beal, who fancies himself as precisely that sort of baller.
To be sure, the Cavaliers are nowhere near ready to compete with the best in the league, regardless of what transpires Thursday. If you don't believe me, simply scratch-out for yourself a depth chart. Clubs are allowed to carry 15 players. Such an exercise would reveal more gaps than satisfactory candidates, with too many one might remember to slot belonging on a decent squad's third-string.
In fact, it is safe to say the team presently has maybe five of such a team's top ten: Irving, Anderson Varejao, Tristen Thompson (whom the club nabbed at four overall last June) restricted free-agent Alonzo Gee and maybe swing guard Boobie Gibson. It is easier to argue the latter two are more meritorious of slots 8 and 9 than that any other returnee belongs among a top ten. This is not a roster rich in skill, speed or athleticism.
So, it would be marvelous (but impossible) if the team came out of Thursday's proceedings with five solid contributors. That isn't even likely factoring whatever the front office might do in free agency, though surely we can all hope. It's what we do, after all, especially whenever a pro sports draft is approaching.
Nonetheless, it would be quite fine were Cleveland to pair Irving with a backcourt scoring partner like Beal, providing the Cavs with a duo of young guards developing and maturing simultaneously, making it easier for whichever players join them in the lineup. The rest of the roster would seem to be role-playing hustlers---assets very much worth having---with invitations outstanding for gifted athletes to shine beside them, should any accept the challenge and opportunities.