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The 2019 NBA draft is viewed mostly as a 3 player draft. I tend to disagree. In terms of star potential, it isn’t the strongest, but could be a solid draft looking back five years from now when evaluating the best role players in the league.
Players in the mid to late first round could turn out to be strong contributors at the next level. I took the liberty of listing out my top 40 prospects of this draft. A lot of players, later on, have a good amount to be excited about. With the Cavs holding a late first round pick, this list might give some clarity on the options on the table at 26.
#1 – Zion Williamson – PF Duke Comp: Uber athletic Julius Randle
Jumpshot a big question mark
Frame may be an issue (285 lbs)
#2 – Ja Morant – PG Murray State Comp: John Wall / Russell Westbrook
Dynamic Playmaker (10apg)
Improved Shooter (30%-37% Fr-Soph)
Good Finisher at the rim
Still needs to improve as a shooter
#3 – RJ Barrett – SG/SF Duke Comp: Zach Lavine / Victor Oladipo
Good Size (6’7 202)
Solid Playmaker (4.3apg)
Can find his own shot
Defensive potential with athleticism and length
Inconsistent shooter (30.8% 3pt)
Needs to Improve decision making (Led NCAA in charges)
#4 – Jarrett Culver – SG/SF Texas Tech Comp: Andrew Wiggins / Harrison Barnes
Strong finisher, doesn’t shy away from contact
Can shoot off the dribble
Solid defender already, with potential to be elite due to frame and athleticism
Not an elite ball handler
Jump shot mechanics inconsistent
Struggled against elite collegiate competition.
#5 – Cam Reddish – SF Duke Comp: Paul George
Silky, repeatable jumpshot
Smooth game, passes the eye test
Solid ball handler
Glides to the rim
Great Size (6’8 7foot wingspan) / dynamic athlete
Can pull up from anywhere
Can handle the ball on pick and roll
Showed glimpses of brilliance, but also like he didn’t belong on court
Disappeared at times
Bad finishing at the rim when met with contact
#6 – Darius Garland – PG Vanderbilt Comp: Damian Lillard
Elite Pull Up Shooter extended out to three point range(48%3pt)
Can create own shot or play off the ball, running off screens
Creative moves in the lane
Not an imposing presence, does not play above rim
Struggles at the rim against length/size
Not an elite passer (13 assists to 15 turnovers)
Small Sample Size
#7 DeAndre Hunter – SF Virginia Comp: Bojan Bogdanovic / Robert Covington
Can Defend up to 3 maybe even 4 positions
Can move to a stretch 4 when needed
3 and D ability makes him a contributor right away
Low Ceiling, what you see is what you get
Good Size but not the best athlete
Slow First step
Not a dependable isolation scorer
#8 Bol Bol – C Oregon Comp: Unicorn
Ridiculous length (7’2 with 7’8 wingspan)
Knock down shooter (52%3pt)
Great handle for size
Weakside shot blocker (2.7bpg)
Quick first step
Finishes at the rim
Pick and Pop/roll guy
Measured in at 208 lbs!!!
Questions about consistent effort and commitment to the game
Won’t be strong enough to handle legit centers at next level
Foot injury not a good sign
Super talented, but too risky to be taken in the lottery
#9 Coby White – PG North Carolina Comp: Collin Sexton / Eric Bledsoe
Great finisher around the rim
Solid shooter, off catch and off dribble (35%3pt)
Broke Jordans freshman scoring record
Elite height, Great athlete
At his best in open space
Furthest thing from a reliable playmaker
Not consistent scorer (42% FG)
19% turnover rate in fast break scenarios
Still learning how to contribute in half court
Lack of length and interest will limit his defensive ability
Negative Wingspan, small hands
#10 Sekou Doumbouya – PF France Comp: Jerami Grant / Al Farouq-Aminu
Great Athlete / Size (6’9)
Great in transition, can handle the ball or run on wings
Glides around the court, can possibly defend 1-4
Can stretch the floor with 3 pt range
Solid Shotblocker, plays passing lanes very well
Youngest player in the draft (18 years old)
Wildly inconsistent with effort
Although jumpshot has improved, still needs work
Not a good passer. Finished with more turnovers than assists
Not the best feel for the game, should improve with time
#11 Jaxson Hayes – C Texas Comp: Jarrett Allen / JaVale McGee
Long (nearly 7 foot with 7’3 wingspan)
Crazy athlete, easily beats other bigs down court
Bouncy, fast first jump and more importantly second jump
Super accurate down low, shot 73 % from the field, good hands+soft touch
Has size, length, and instinct to be a dominant defensive presence. Second best shot blocker among prospects(2.2 bpg)
Had issues with foul trouble (6 fouls per 40 minutes)
Needs to develop as a prolific rebounder
Needs to add Muscle, slender frame (around 225)
#12 Nassir Little – SF North Carolina Comp: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist / OG Annunoby
The Cavs are coming off a disappointing NBA finals loss to the Golden State Warriors. It was a series that showed the true weaknesses of the Cavs. Cavs had major problems with the bench, rebounding, defense, and the reality of not having enough firepower on the floor to match with Golden State.
The Cavs offseason has been very entertaining. But took a turn for the worse just before the draft. The Cavs and General Manager David Griffin have decided to part ways due to different visions of the future with the team. Koby Altman, Assistant General Manager, has been fielding the calls and the draft for the time being.
What is next for the Cavs as we head into free agency? First order of business is the finding a new General Manager. The Cavs have been pursuing ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups aka “Mr. Bigshot”. You may have heard of him. Billups is regarded as one best all-around point guards the NBA has seen. Billups was a part of the Detroit Pistons when they were making big in the postseason year after year. Billups has met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert for 2 days. It has been reported he is currently mulling an offer. His position would be President of Basketball Operations. He will then add a General Manager under him.
Now, let’s talk about the current state of the roster. Is it a championship caliber roster? Yes. Is a roster that can beat Golden State? No. Are there moves that the Cavs can make that would make them better, or at least feasible against the Warriors? Yes but not much.
The problem with the Cavaliers appear to be the lack of trade assets they have this offseason. No one is willing to take on the contract of Iman Shumpert. Kevin Love’s trade value is no where near what it was in 2014.
But that isn’t the only problems the Cavs face. They now face a roster that is depleted by age, lack of athleticism off the bench, the lack of defense. The Golden State Warriors were able to exploit that every time LeBron James left the court.
Rumors have been flying about the Cavaliers. Especially ones involving some guy by the name of Paul George. You may have heard of him. George has been linked to the Cavs since the end of the NBA Finals. Paul George recently told the Pacers that he will leave them in 2018. George has insist he prefers to play for the Lakers. But can a trade the Cavs change his mind? Paul George is currently sitting on a 1-year deal and is basically a one year rental for any team that trades for him.
With the NBA free agency upon us, here are some names I believe the Cavs should consider:
Small Forward, Rudy Gay (Sacramento)
Small Forward, Tyreke Evans (Sacramento)
Guard, Tony Allen (Memphis)
Forward, Michael Beasley (Milwaukee)
Small Forward, Vince Carter (Memphis)
Point Guard, Darren Collison (Sacramento)
Center, Dwayne Dedmon (San Antonio)
Forward, Taj Gibson (Oklahoma City)
Point Guard, George Hill (Utah)
Guard, Jrue Holiday (New Orleans)
Of course, there are several other players available to the Cavs. The problem is the Cavs don’t have money to spend. Any free agent they spend money on will put them in a deeper hole in the luxury tax. Making trades, moving contracts in order to add a free agent would most likely be the route for the Cavs. The Cavs will still be in a bad spot heading into next season. But every decision they make will be with the question does this free agent or trade improve our chances against Golden State? It will be a very interesting offseason for the Cavs. One that could change the look of the Cavs future for a very long time.
This NBA postseason has been unlike any other I have experienced in my 34 years. Not just because the Cavs dominated the number one seed Celtics, but they dominated in a historic manner. A 50 point lead at half time in the Eastern Conference finals is bad enough, but now the defending champion Cavs are on the verge of being swept by a Warriors team that is 15-0 so far in the playoffs this year.
Parody has been an issue in the NBA for quite a few years. The West has been seen as quite a bit better than the East, really since the Michael Jordan Bulls run came to an end. Now I am not going to get into the ridiculous game of comparing teams from different eras like the mainstream sports media loves to do, but history is important to keep in mind.
Lets take a look at a list of NBA Champions since the Bulls run of six championships in 1998…
2009- Lakers (West)
2017-Warriors lead 3-0 (West)
Lets be honest, without LeBron James’ Miami teams, the East may have 3 of the last 12. LeBron James has been in the last seven finals representing the East, with the Cavs and Warriors playing in the last three.
This is the first time two teams are meeting three years in a row, and normally this wouldn’t be a bad thing with no team winning in consecutive years, but the Warriors addition of Kevin Durant changes things.
The Cavs and Warriors was a fairly evenly matched contest the first two years. The Warriors won in 2015 with the Cavs missing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, and the Cavs won in 2016 coming back from a 3-1 deficit, the first team to ever do so.
Enter Kevin Durant…
The 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player (Giving the Warriors the last 3 between Durant and Steph Curry) in the middle of his prime gets added to a team that won a record 73 games in 2016.
In 2011 commissioner David Stern blocked a three team trade that would have sent Chris Paul from the then New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers. Granted the league had control of the Hornets at that time, so Stern used that as the reason as to why he blocked the trade, but in the interest of parody, the commissioner could have done something…anything to stop Durant from joining the Warriors. Durant was a free agent, not getting traded, but I can’t see any of the leagues other owners objecting to something being done.
So where does all of this leave us now? The Warriors will likely sweep through the playoffs being the first team to go 16-0, and will in all likelihood dominate the NBA for the foreseeable future. We could see the Warriors in six or seven consecutive finals, potentially winning the next three or four easily. The Warriors are making the team that dominated the East look like a D-League team.
The only way I see the Warriors being stopped is by the Cavs doing something drastic. I am a Cleveland fan so obviously I want to see the Cavs do well, but they are already paying more luxury tax than anyone ever, so what can they really do?
Dan Gilbert has some very tough questions to ask himself this offseason. He can’t continue to pay all this luxury tax on a team that got swept out of the playoffs, so he can either break up the team, or get better. Much better.
LeBron gave Cleveland a second chance, so lets hope Gilbert doesn’t decide to break up this team and rebuild. He will have to make some tough roster decisions, like possibly parting with Love or maybe even Irving, but for all of Cleveland’s sake he cant give up. Dan Gilbert isn’t a quitter, and Cleveland doesn’t quit, so I think this will be an exciting offseason.
Having two teams dominate isn’t great, but it is better then just having one team run all over the rest of the league.
Check out more posts from Jay Alan at JayAlan.Wordpress.com.
We are now under a week from the trilogy battle. Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors. The Cavs are coming off it’s first season in franchise history as the defending champions. While Golden State is coming off another fantastic regular/postseason campaign.
HOW DID WE GET HERE? Let’s begin with the Cavaliers journey. The Cavs went through a roller coaster of a season. Starting off red hot to start, only to leave questions heading the postseason. But the Cavs answered all of them. Finishing their postseason with a record of 11-1. Topping off the Eastern Conference with a 4-1 series win over the Boston Celtics.
The Golden State Warriors are coming into the finals with a 12-0 record. After Kevin Durant, the Warriors went 67-15. Once again the best record in the NBA. Golden State will be without Head Coach Steve Kerr as of now to start the finals.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? We can expect this series to be offensively driven. Both teams are the top scoring teams in their respective conferences. I fully expect the Warriors to try to throw the first punch in this series. After blowing a 3-1 lead in last years NBA Finals. The Warriors led by KD, Steph Curry, are seeking revenge. How can the Cavs contain GSW? It’s pretty simple, if you slow down KD and Steph Curry, you will have a pretty good chance to steal a game on the road, and win the finals. For the Warriors, they’ll need to focus on LeBron James.
LeBron James has been phenomenal this postseason. If there was a MVP award for the just the playoffs alone, LeBron James would be that MVP by far. In Game 5, LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to become the All-Time leading scorer in NBA postseason history.
3 KEYS FOR THE CAVS: The Big 3. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Love. Last year, a healthy big 3 led the Cavs to their first franchise NBA title. Now they seek no. 2. My second key will be the bench. Both GSW and the Cavs have terrific benches. They play their roles really well. I think the Cavs have the better bench when they are going strong. It’s important for them to give as much production as possible. My final Key will be Tristian Thompson. Thompson has been a monster down low. If he is able to keep players like KD, Draymond Green, JaVale McGee, and Zaza Pachulia off the boards, the Cavs could really be at a big advantage down low.
Game 1 will be on Thursday, June 1st. Tip-off is at 9 pm eastern on ABC (ESPN).