The Cavs biggest needs this off season via the draft, free agency or trades are very simple, they need a center and they need multiple wing players.
When you look at their roster they’re overloaded at point guard with Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack and Matthew Dellavedova.
While their shooting guards really aren’t shooting guards, they feel they have a young pair in Waiters and Sergey Karasev. Waiters to me is a point guard, or at least what I call a “Ball Guard”. He needs the ball in his hands in order to be effective and that really doesn’t mesh well when he and Kyrie Irving are on the floor together. The Cavs may be willing to try one more season to see if Irving and Waiters can create chemistry on the floor together, but then again remember; David Griffin didn’t draft either one of them so he may be willing to pull the trigger on a trade of one or the other. But for now let’s say Waiters stays.
Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett are their power forwards, while neither one of those guys excite meet, at least they have what is considered a starter on this team, in Thompson. So again that takes us back to small forward and center positions.
Anderson Varejao could be the team’s starting center if need be, but there’s the possibility they could trade him this off season. But if they do keep him, he’s really not a true center, he’s more of a power forward. Tyler Zeller is a nice back-up center, but nothing more and Spencer Hawes is a free agent and he’s not your typical center either. Hawes is a stretch 5, who prefers to play away from the basket and gives you no defensive presence around the rim at all, as well as no toughness. So depending on what he’s asking for, the Cavs may not resign him.
After watching Luo Deng struggle to stay healthy all season and with all the NBA miles he’s put on his body, I have no desire to bring him back as the starting small forward, especially for what he’s going to be commanding in free agency dollars. Alonzo Gee is nothing more than the 8th, 9th or 10th player on this team.
So as David Griffin and Dan Gilbert prepare for the June 26th NBA Draft, they must decide where they are going to get their center and small forwards(plural) from. That’s what makes this draft so interesting and important. “G and G” have a chance to fill one of those major needs with the first overall pick and possibly another with the 33rd overall pick. If not there, then in free agency or with a major trade.
Joel Embiid would plug the hole at center and be an immediate upgrade defensively, athletically and physically. He’s a little raw on offense, but that’s because he’s only played basketball for about four years and considering his lack of experience, he has shown great improvement in his offensive game. However with Embiid it all comes down to the health of his back. If he cleared all the Cavs medical tests then I believe they should, and will take him number #1 overall. If his back did not pass the medical exams, then it comes down to Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins in the draft.
Parker is the more ready to play right now of the two both physically and mentally. His offensive game is more well-rounded and his outside shot is better at this point than Wiggins. However Wiggins in my opinion, has a higher ceiling and athletically and defensively he blows Parker out of the water. On top of that, Wiggins will still score the basketball from the wing position, just maybe not as consistently as Parker.
But luckily for the Cavs their biggest needs in the draft coincide with the best players in this draft. Meaning they really can’t wrong with whomever they pick. I would have gladly taken anyone of these three before the draft lottery, so they truly are in a win-win-win situation. Now will one of the top three picks separate himself from the others eventually, probably, but you’re still going to get what many believe is an all-star caliber player no matter who you take.
My order of preference is Embiid first, but only if 100% healthy. Wiggins second because of defense and more upside and Parker third because unlike the other two, he’s more of just an offensive player.
Is it out of the realm of possibility that the Cavs maybe use the number #1 pick and a player to make a trade for an already established all-star caliber player? No it’s not, but I believe it’s unlikely considering the talent and potential that each of the top three picks possess.
So once the Cavs do make their selection with that first overall pick, that should tell us what direction they’re headed in as far as free agency and that’s when things could get even more interesting than the draft, depending on what you know who does in Miami.