Monthly Archives: June 2014

KENNY RODA 2014 NBA MOCK DRAFT 3.0 – (updated 6-26-14)


1 Cleveland – JABARI PAKER – Small Forward – Duke – 6’9 – 241                                                                                                            

Joel Embiid was the pick in my first mock draft, then he needed foot surgery.  Andrew Wiggins was my choice in Mock Draft 2.0. Now, if the Cavs  decide to keep the pick and not trade it, as there is some intel out there that they could make a deal. But if they don’t, and  after going back and listening to G.M. David Griffin’s comments from May 13th as well as with the hiring of David Blatt as head coach and LeBron James opting out early to be a free agent, I have changed my mind again and went with Parker as the Cavs pick. I personally have always wanted and still want Wiggins. However with LBJ as a free agent, Griff as an offensive G.M., the Cavs may feel the need to win right away and Parker gives you that best chance because his body is far more developed than Wiggins at this point and he’s more polished and potent offensively right now than Wiggins. He has an extremely high basketball IQ and Parker is also more of a catch and shoot guy than Wiggins, and with two ball-dominate guards in Kyrie and Dion, Parker looks to be the better fit. So by the slimmest of margins, and even though I think Wiggins has more upside in a few years, I’ll say the Cavs take Parker. The good thing here is, with either player, the Cavs are going to be a better team and fill a major need. Not bad for a team who before the lottery was scheduled to pick 9th!

2  Milwaukee – ANDREW WIGGINS – Small Forward – Kansas – 6’8 – 200

3  Philadelphia – DANTE EXUM – Point Guard – Australia – 6’6 – 195

4  Orlando – NOAH VONLEH – Power Forward – Indiana – 6’10 – 245

5  Utah – AARON GORDON – Power Forward – Arizona – 6’9 – 225

6  Boston – JOEL EMBIID – Center – Kansas – 7’1 – 260

7  LA Lakers – JULIUS RANDLE – Power Forward – Kentucky – 6’9 -240

8  Sacramento – MARCUS SMART – Point Guard – Oklahoma St. – 6’4 – 220

9  Charlotte – DOUG McDERMOTT – Small Forward – Creighton – 6’8 – 220

10 Philadelphia – NIK STAUSKAS – Shooting Guard – Michigan – 6’6 – 205

11 Denver – JAMES YOUNG – Shooting Guard – Kentucky – 6’6 – 215

12 Orlando – ELFRID PAYTON – Point Guard – Louisiana Lafayette – 6’4 – 185

13 Minnesota – GARY HARRIS – Shooting Guard – Michigan St. – 6’4 – 210

14 Phoenix – RODNEY HOOD – Small Forward – Duke – 6’8 – 210

15 Atlanta – ZACH LaVINE – Shooting Guard – UCLA – 6’5 – 181

16 Chicago – SHABAZZ NAPIER – Point Guard – U-CONN – 6’1 – 175

17 Boston – P.J. HAIRSTON – Shooting Guard – UNC/ NBA D-League – 6’4 – 228

18 Phoenix – DARIO SARIC – Small Forward – Croatia – 6’10 -235

19 Chicago – CLEANTHONY EARLY – Power Forward – Wichita St. – 6’7 – 210

20 Toronto – ADREIAN PAYNE – Power Forward – Michigan St. – 6’10 – 240

21 Oklahoma City – KYLE ANDERSON – Small Forward – UCLA – 6’9 – 230

22 Memphis – T.J. WARREN – Small Forward – North Carolina St. – 6’8 – 220

23 Utah – TYLER ENNIS – Point Guard – Syracuse – 6’2 – 181

24 Charlotte – GLEN ROBINSON III – Small Forward – Michigan – 6’7 – 212

25 Houston –  CLINT CAPELA – Power Forward – Switzerland – 6’10 – 210

26 Miami –   JORDAN CLARKSON – Point Guard – Missouri – 6’5  – 186

27 Phoenix –  K.J. McDANIELS – Small Forward – Clemson – 6’6 – 200

28 LA Clippers – JERAMI GRANT – Small Forward – Syracuse – 6’8 – 215

29 Oklahoma City –  JARNELL STOKES – Power Forward – Tennessee – 6’8 – 260

30 San Antonio – JUSUF NURKIC – Center – Bosnia – 6’11 – 280



33 Cleveland – WALTER TAVAREZ – Center  – Spain – 7’3 – 265

After taking Parker with the first pick to provide offense from day one, the Cavs need to add defense to David Blatt’s team. So they take a 22-year old true center who is all about defense at this point in his career from what I’ve read and seen on youtube. He’ll give the Cavaliers a low post defender who will protect the rim and rebound. He’s very raw offensively, but the Cavs won’t care and need some depth at center with Anderson Varejao in the final year of his contract. Also in play here could be Russian center Artem Klimenko.  A  7’1 – 228 center with a 7’4 wing span and a 9’4 standing reach. I’ve got to believe that David Blatt knows of him and may have some say in taking Klimenko.

SAM AMICO JOINS ME TO PREVIEW THE NBA DRAFT AND TALK DAVID BLATT AND LEBRON NBA writer Sam Amico and I chewing the fat over what the Cavaliers are going to do in the NBA Draft as well as our thoughts on new coach David Blatt and where LeBron might end up.

Sam Amico Photo


What type of a coach is he?

“I’m not an offensive coach or a defensive coach. I’m a basketball coach, someone who through teaching and working with people and getting the most out of my players and staff has always seen the success of the team as paramount. We will be committed to playing as a team and being good on both sides of the ball.”

David Blatt Solo Photo 6-25-14

Is he a confident coach?

“Make no mistake; I have won everywhere I’ve been, from Maccabi through Benetton through the Russian national team and back to Maccabi, and I plan on doing the same here.”

Will this be a big challenge for him?

“Absolutely it’s a challenge. But I’ve got to tell you, the game is not so different as people think it is. It’s a little bit longer here. Perhaps the level of athleticism and speed all around the court is different. But it’s not like playing baseball and soccer. It’s still the same game. I’ve coached in enough international games, participated in enough events that include NBA players and NBA teams to know that when you play the game right, it doesn’t really make any difference where you play it.”

How will he deal with the egos of NBA players?

I don’t buy that. I’ve had wonderful discussions with the players with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I find a group of guys that want to be coached, that want to learn, that care about winning. Those are things I have to emphasize with them, that I have to strengthen and help them understand the right way to do it. I’ve coached enough great players in my life to know when guys are happy playing together and are seeing that doing it the right way brings and fosters the spirit you need to win, it doesn’t make a difference where you coach.”

What is his coaching philosophy?

“It’s always been the same: play hard, play together, play to win and have fun. There’s not a lot more I can tell you tactically right now until I sit down with the players and get inside their heads that I see what the final roster is going to be. There’s two kinds of coaching. There’s systematic and there’s learning from what you have. I’m more of the second. I won’t come in and run the Princeton offense just because I played for the great Pete Carill at Princeton. I’m going to see what I have, I’m going to decide together with the coaching staff what the best way for us to play is. Most importantly, figure out how we’re going to win the most games. The ball has energy, teams that are playing together have the ball moving, hopefully moving fast, everybody is involved and happy. Then the game is easier to play. That’s the kind of philosophy I want to instill here.

David Blatt and David Griffin 6-25-14


How would he help sell a free agent on playing for David Blatt and the Cavs?

“Honestly, I really think developing relationships is more about the person you are than the reputation you have. I look forward to the opportunity to any of the guys Griff feels are right to come to this organization. Am I the most convincing guy in the world? Probably top four.(laughs) I have no problem talking to anybody. I’ve always had the kind of relationships with my players where they know that I’m going to be tough with them and fair with them and treat them like human beings, just like I want to be treated.”

How does he deal with pressure?

“I’m fully aware of both the expectation and the desire of the club to be a winning organization. Pressure for me is something that’s second nature after so many years of coaching at the highest level in competitions where you’re expected to be one of the top clubs. I also think the best way to deal with pressure is through good preparation and hard work I think it makes it a lot easier to go about that.”


David Blatt was officially introduced to the Cleveland media today and he and general manager David Griffin answered questions about the coaching hire, Blatt’s philosophy and more. Listen to the entire press conference here.

David Blatt and David Griffin 6-25-14


It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Lebron James opted out of the final two years of his contract in Miami, but maybe that fact that he did it six days before his opt out deadline date and two days before the NBA Draft is somewhat surprising.

LeBron James photo small 11-27-13

Per reports, James agent Rich Paul notified the Miami Heat that the 4-time NBA MVP would indeed be testing the free agent waters, just like he did when he had the same opt out clause in Cleveland back in 2010.

While James could still end up resigning with the Heat for more years and more money (about $30 million more over 1 year), this at least gives other teams around the league who thought they had a chance to sign James a legitimate shot to convince him that his best chance to win more titles is to sign with them and not back with Pat Riley in South Beach.

LeBron and Kyrie shake hands at Z jersey Ceremony 3-8-14

The Cavaliers have been rumored to be one of the teams that will go hard after James to try and bring him back to Cleveland where he spent the first seven years of his NBA career before leaving in free agency in July of 2010.

In his time as a Cavalier he led Cleveland to their only appearance in the NBA Finals, but came up short of a championship, losing to the Spurs in four games in 2007. For the Cavs to have any shot at bringing James back to Northeast Ohio two things have to happen.

One, team owner Dan Gilbert and James will have to patch up their differences after what happened because of the “The Decision” in 2010 and Gilbert’s letter that followed.

Two, new G.M. David Griffin must convince James that his new coaching staff made up so far of head coach David Blatt and associate head coach Tyronn Lue along with the Cavs roster he will have come opening day 2014-15 will give LeBron the best chance to win a title in 2015 and for years to come.

During his four years in Miami, James led the Heat to the NBA Finals each year, winning titles in 2012 and 2013. Miami failed to “Three-Peat” though this year, as LeBron and the Heat were knocked off by the San Antonio Spurs in five games.  It is believed that James will end up where he thinks he has the best chance to play for more championships.

So let the recruiting and the “Summer of LeBron 2” begin.


Cavs G.M. David Griffin told us he didn’t want to follow the trend in a copycat league. That he wanted to zig when everyone else zags in the NBA as he was searching for his next head coach. Griff did just that, surprising a lot of people and making NBA history in hiring David Blatt from Europe’s Maccabi Tel Aviv championship team. So trying to figure out which direction Griffin will go with the number #1 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft could be just as tricky.

David Griffin Photo 5-13-14

With Joel Embiid out now at least 4 to 6 months after having surgery, where he had two screws inserted into his fractured right foot, I think it’s safe to say that the Cavs, if they keep the number #1 pick, will choose between Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. But which one is the big question?

Either player would be a welcomed addition at small forward for the Cavs, as they have yet to fill that position since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach in the summer of 2010.

So here’s my approach as I try and figure out the Cavs new general manager and whether he’ll pick Parker or Wiggins. If I learned anything from the hiring of David Blatt, it was to go back and listen to the answers that David Griffin shared with us at his first press conference when he was officially named the team’s full-time G.M. Griff said they wanted to be different and weren’t going to follow what a lot of other teams were doing as they looked for their next head coach. He also mentioned that he was an offensive minded guy.  Looking back on those responses now, it should have signaled to us all that the European version of Phil Jackson was going to be Griff’s choice, and soon the Cavaliers would be playing “BLATTsketball”.

With that in mind I went back and listened to that May 13th press conference again to see if there were any signs or clues given by Griff as to which way he would lean if he was picking between Parker or Wiggins. Here’s what I came up with.

Griffin, came right out and said “I believe in offense” and “I’ve had a primarily offensive based focus with the people that I was raised by”. Also, he said he wants the Cavaliers to be a better shooting team, a bigger team, a team that has a high basketball IQ and he’s looking for the right “Fit”.  I’ve also added in what I’ve heard about David Blatt’s coaching style and how his offense is all about spreading the floor. Then I factored in that the Cavs already have two ball dominate guards in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. So they’re probably looking for someone who doesn’t always need the ball in his hands to be effective.

With all that information and based on the my scouting report of Wiggins and Parker, as well as other scouting reports I’ve read on the net, and people that I’ve talked to, it’s a very close call. But it sounds like to me that Jabari Parker would be the right “Fit Guy” for Griff and this Cavaliers roster.


Jabari Parker Photo 1

Parker is more skilled offensively. He shoots the ball better than Wiggins. Has a better handle than Wiggins.  Parker is said to have a very high basketball IQ and he’s ready to play right now. He’s a “Plug and Play” guy at small forward from day one. The right “Fit”!

I hope I’m wrong in my assessment based on David Griffin’s comments because I think Andrew Wiggins has the potential to be the better player based on his ability to play both ends of the floor as well as he freakish athleticism. Wiggins would be my choice as the number #1 pick. But something tells me the player Griff is looking for in the draft. The player he was describing in that press conference, is Jabari Parker.

We’ll find out Thursday night if I read David Griffin right, or if he did one hell of a job zigging again, when I thought he was going to zag.


After being told he was not their choice to be their head coach in a tight race with David Blatt, Tyronn Lue was offered the Cleveland Cavaliers associate head coaching job. Early reports indicated Lue was going to turn down the offer and remain Doc Rivers’ assistant in L.A. with the Clippers.

tyronn-lue-nba-los-angeles-clippers-phoenix-sunsHowever after talking it over with his family and Doc Rivers, Lue decided to accept the Cavs offer to be Blatt’s right hand man.  The Cavs contract offer is reportedly worth $4.5 million over 3 years with a club option for a 4th year at $2 million. This contract will reportedly make Lue the highest paid assistant coach in the NBA. The title of associate head coach also moves Lue a step closer to his ultimate goal of becoming a NBA head coach in the future.

While the Cavs have yet to officially confirm this story, numerous media outlets including Yahoo! Sports, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and ESPN are reporting it as a done deal.

More to follow soon on Lue’s hiring from


With Power Forward Dario Saric from Croatia reportedly about to sign a contract that will keep him in Turkey for at least the next two years, he drops in the rankings big time.


1 Andrew Wiggins            SF    6’8 – 200 – FR – Kansas

2 Jabari Parker                  SF    6’8 – 241 – FR –  Duke

3 Noah Vonleh                  PF    6’10 – 240 – FR – Indiana

4 Dante Exum                   SG    6’6 – 188 – 18 years old – Australia

5 Joel Embiid                      C     7’0 – 250 – FR – Kansas

6 Julius Randle                  PF    6’9 – 225 – FR – Kentucky

7 Aaron Gordon                PF    6’8 – 210 – FR – Arizona

8 Marcus Smart                PG   6’4 – 225 – SPH – Oklahoma St.

9 James Young            SG/SF   6’6 – 215 – FR – Kentucky

10 Doug McDermott       PF    6’10 – 210 – SR – Creighton

11 Rodney Hood              SG   6’8 – 180 – SPH – Duke

12 P.J. Hairston                SG    6’5 – 220 – SPH – North Carolina

13 Cleanthony Early        PF    6’8 – 220 – SR – Wichita St.

14 Nik Stauskas                SG    6’6 – 200 – SPH – Michigan

15 Gary Harris                  SG    6’5 – 210- SPH – Michigan St.

16 Jusuf Nurkic                  C     6’11 – 280  – 19 years old – Bosnia

17 Elfrid Payton               PG     6’4 – 185 – JR – Louisiana Lafayette

18 T.J. Warren             SF/SG     6‘8 – 230 – SPH – North Carolina St.

19 Zach LaVine                SG     6’5 – 181 – FR – UCLA

20 Adreian Payne            PF     6’10 – 240 – SR – Michigan St.

21 Kyle Anderson            SF     6’9 – 233- SPH – UCLA

22 Clint Capela                PF     6’11 – 222 – 19 – Switzerland

23 Shabazz Napier         PG    6’1 – 175 – SR – UCONN

24 Tyler Ennis                 PG    6’2 – 181 – FR – Syracuse

T-25 K.J. McDaniels        SF     6’6 – 195 – JR – Clemson

Dario Saric                      PF   6’10 – 223 – 20 – Croatia


Columbus Crew play-by-play man Neil Sika joins me to look back at team USA’s 2-2 tie with Portugal and a look ahead to their match up with Germany on Thursday in the 2014 World Cup.

Neil Sika - Columbus Crew Photo


Listen to the “RR60” – The Roda Report in 60 seconds to find out why I believe that today’s game against Portugal in the 2014 World Cup is indeed the most important game ever for U.S. Men’s Soccer!

©Kenny Roda

©Kenny Roda