Should Cleveland think twice?
Dirk and crew have just hoisted the trophy and the streets of Dallas are barely cleared from confetti, but that doesn’t stop sports enthusiasts from looking forward to next year. As the NBA draft quickly approaches, teams are doing last minute strategizing, anticipating other teams’ moves; more closely scrutinizing the prospects.
Kyrie Irving, some believe the heir apparent to Lebron, has been touted as the unanimous top pick…headed to Cleveland. But maybe they shouldn’t be too quick with this pick?
What do we really know about Kyrie Irving? Is he a good fit? A franchise player? One of the top high school players in the country, he had a strong showing in his first few games as a freshman Blue Devil before his injury. The aftermath of the Combine in Chicago really didn’t help us. Not unexpectedly, he didn’t participate in anything except to talk to the media, undergo an MRI and avoid speaking to a few teams…He probably thought he didn’t have to take part? Show his stuff? While some chose to not participate in the skills events, most went through the athletic testing, showing some of their skills and athleticism, leaving the scouts with a lasting impression. The Combine is designed more as a place to prove yourself (aka..Enes Kanter,), to help raise the lower picks stock, a place were they can out work one another to show the NBA representatives that they have potential.
Kyrie was sidelined the majority of the season, though he did have a brief return performance in March. But is that enough to solidify the top pick slot? Can undergoing an MRI tell us he is healed and ready to play? Don’t underestimate an injury to the great toe..it can come back to haunt you…. It was disappointing and a little annoying that he decided not to participate at the Combine. One has to wonder if he was concerned that if he did participate and didn’t do well, his stock might drop a little (aka..Jimmer), putting doubt in prospective team’s and the media’s minds.. Better to keep them guessing and let the smoke and mirrors in place. Let them remember how good I was as a high school player and the first 7 games of the season. How do we know he is that good now? He didn’t get much playing time as a collegiate athlete. Duke lost to Arizona.
On the other hand, there is Derrick Williams, time and tournament tested, who showed us all his impressive talent not only during the month of March but throughout the year. The PAC 10 player of the year, he is versatile, big strong and agile. He is the whole package. He mightily led the Wildcats through the NCAA tournament. He participated in athletic testing at the Combine and actually his stock might have risen a little more, if that is possible. It is unlikely Derrick will be around for Cleveland’s second top ten pick, so they will either take him first or forget it. Derrick Williams is a mature player with two years of college play on his resume, who is coach-able and knows how to win. The intangible, immeasurable benefits of several years of college play are underappreciated. This might be one of the biggest reasons that Derrick Williams should be selected first. He is a player you can build a team around…likely to start from the get-go.
It is a time for rebuilding in Cleveland. They are off to a good start with the all around 1st and 4th picks. The Cavaliers need to do the right thing…They need to take a good look and weigh their options: Kyrie? Derrick?. They don’t want to be duped again….