Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Playing The Lotto #1

As the Cavs continue their march towards infamy, it is increasingly likely (if not assured) that the Wine & Gold will have the worst record in the NBA.* 

*At 8-44, Cleveland has a 4.5 game "lead" on Minnesota, who are next worst at 12-39.  The Cavs are also the only team with a double-digit point differential; unfortunately, it's a negative double-digit point differential (-11.9 points per game; the next worst is Washington, at -6.5).  The NBA record is -15.2 points per game, held by the 1992 Dallas Mavericks, so at least the Cavs should avoid that infamy.  This terrible deficit in points has of course led the Cavaliers to not only be at the bottom of the major statistic-based ranking systems (30th in John Hollinger's Power Rankings; 30th in Basketball Reference's BBR Rankings), but be at the bottom of those rankings by a healthy margin (3.489 points behind #29 Toronto in Hollinger's, with the next biggest gap between consecutive teams being #25 Sacramento's 2.072 lead on #26 Minnesota, with their -11.06 rating at BBR coming in a whopping 4.85 behind #29 New Jersey, which is overwhelmingly the largest gap between consecutive teams).  So, yeah, the Cavs are bad. 

This of course means they will have the most ping-pong balls in the NBA Draft Lottery, which gives them a 25% chance of drafting #1, but could just as easily see them pushed out of the top 3 all together.*

*This has happened  four times in the past 10 years (Sacramento 2009; Memphis 2007; Portland 2006; and Chicago 2001), making the number 4 slot the most likely spot the worst team in the league will select.  Number 2 is the next most frequent (3 times, all relative busts [Michael Beasley, Marvin Williams, Jay Williams]), with the worst team picking 3rd happening only once (New Jersey last year).  The only two times the worst team in the league picked first in the history of the lottery happened in back-to-back years, oddly enough, when the Cavs took LeBron in 2003 and the Magic followed up by taking Dwight Howard in 2004, two of the best #1 picks ever.

Therefore, I've decided to take it upon myself to "play" the Draft Lottery (using ESPN's mock draft application) and see where the Cavs may end up.  I will re-visit this periodically as the season progresses, making adjustments for any roster moves the Cavs may make, as well as any developments that may affect the various draft prospects' draft standing.  The analysis for the player selected will not be my own (since I have not seen a college basketball game in its entirety all season), but instead will be a sampling of some of the best draft analysis on the web.  Without further ado, let's spin some balls!

Spin #1: With the 2nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select...

Chad Ford's pick: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke

Ford says: "Pure point guard...with excellent quickness...Good range on jump shot...bit too into his scoring at times."
 Draft Express says: "...polished enough to help a team right away...good size, strength, and lateral of the best distributors in the NCAA...has some issues defending off the ball." says: "Has complete command and control of the basketball in terms of handle and running a team...remarkable ability to change direction...very composed, mature young man...tends to get too caught up with his ability to handle the ball."

My Take: It seems every team in the NBA has a young, ultra-quick dynamo at the point these days, so it's probably time the Cavs got themselves one, too.  From everything I've heard, Irving is just a notch below the Derrick Rose/John Wall class of athlete, but certainly better than a Darren Collison or Ty Lawson, either of whom would be welcome with open arms in the Q.  I would only have four  concerns about the Cavs taking Irving here:  the best Duke point guard to play in the NBA is Chris Duhon (who would not be welcome with open arms in the Q); I have serious doubts that an All-Star point guard is all that important when building a championship team (a point I hope to explore further in a post later this week); he reminds me a lot of Andre Miller when I watch his highlights, and that's not necessarily a compliment when you're talking about the 2nd overall pick; and he doesn't seem to have much lift (the highest I've seen him get off the floor is about 18 inches). All of these concerns accounted for, however, I'd still have little objection to Kyrie Irving taking over as the Cavs' starting point guard, especially considering how lukewarm I am about the pro prospects of Jared Sullinger.


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