By: Kenny Roda
I come away from NBA Draft night 2012 disappointed based on what the Cavs did and didn’t do.
They didn’t get Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Chris Grant reportedly tried to trade up and get Beal, but failed to pull the trigger on a deal with Charlotte. I said it before the draft and I’ll say it again now, I would have given up my entire draft for either Beal or MKG. That’s how good I think both of those players will be.
Instead, the Cavs selected Syracuse SG-Dion Waiters at pick #4, and then traded the rest of their draft to the Mavs for the 17th pick and selected North Carolina C-Tyler Zeller.
Waiters meteoric rise into the top 5 of the lottery is an amazing story, when you consider just a month ago he was considered a mid to late 1st rounder. What did he do to rise up the draft boards? Pretty much nothing on the advice of his agent Rob Pelinka and it worked! I believe he worked out once in Las Vegas, spent one day at the NBA combine to show his face, and that’s it. No interviews. No 1 on 1 match ups. No shooting drills.
On top of that he didn’t even start for Syracuse and was only 3rd team All Big East this past season averaging just over 12 points per game and yet Cavs G.M. Chris Grant felt that was good enough to be selected 4th overall in the 2012 draft. Yes he’s the best shooting guard in this draft at attacking the rim, but he’s also near the middle to bottom of the pack when it comes to actually shooting the ball from the outside, which is supposed to be the specialty of a shooting guard. I don’t see it and I don’t get it. I keep hearing the comparisons to D-Wade and I’m baffled by it. I hope I’m wrong on Waiters, and he becomes an all-star, but I don’t see it.
I would have selected any one of these three players over Waiters: Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Ross or Harrison Barnes. Dion, please prove me wrong!
As far as Tyler Zeller goes, he was a projected lottery player who went in the opposite direction that Waiters did. Zeller fell out of the lottery and because he did, the Cavs, in desperate need of a center called the Mavs and made a trade for the 17th pick in the draft to get the ACC’s Player of the Year. Chris Grant gave up the rest of his picks, #24 in the 1st round and #33 and #34 in the 2nd round to land Zeller. He fills a major need, and it’s not a bad move for a player who can step in and play right away and maybe even start. Will Zeller ever be an all-star? I don’t think so, but he’s a major upgrade over what was there at the center position last year.
But if you were willing to give up the rest of your draft for Zeller, why not just give up the entire draft for a special player like Beal or Kidd-Gilchrist , who in my opinion will be all-star caliber players and can help turn a franchise around, as opposed to two decent players who may or may not make a major difference.
This draft, along with the surprise selection of Tristan Thompson last year, ironically at #4 overall as well, will help define the legacy of G.M. Chris Grant. He will either be looked at as a genius, who did know more than everyone else and he’s got the Cavaliers headed back into title contention in the NBA, or he’ll just flat out be looking for work.
Good luck Chris. Please prove me wrong!
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