Before I unleash my Mock Draft Version Beta (you can read Version Alpha here), I thought I should run down the prospects I would love to see in the Wine & Gold, and those that I feel would be wasted picks. Since things will be a bit of a crapshoot by the time the Cavs pick at #24 (let alone in the second round), I've concentrated my efforts on best case/worst case picks at #4. I'm also operating under the belief that the Cavs need to come out of this draft with another big, a wing, a shooting guard, and another solid rotation player (regardless of position). Enjoy.
Anthony Davis, PF/C, Kentucky: This is pretty obvious, but also obviously isn't happening. A big man rotation of Tristan Thompson, Davis, and Anderson Varejao would be limited offensively, but would also be among the most active and impenetrable in the league. Alas, it is not meant to be.
Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas: I've covered this in my Alpha, but Robinson would provide a completely different look than Thompson or Varajeo provide upfront. He can either be a monster on the roll off pick and rolls with Kyrie Irving, or can pop out and knock down a 15-18 footer.
Bradley Beal, SG, Florida: Beal would team with Irving to form an undersized (Beal is 6-4, Irving 6-3) but offensively potent backcourt. The former Gator reminds me of Ben Gordon, and teaming him with Kyrie has me seeing visions of the Gordon/Derrick Rose guard combo that took the Celtics to the brink in 2009. (Hoops Analyst provides a compelling counterargument to drafting Beal high. Another argument against taking Beal [or Jeremy Lamb, who I'm a little less excited about] is that there should still be quality two-guards available at 24 or even in the second round.)
Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina: A true 7-footer (which cannot be said for Davis or even Andre Drummond), Zeller won't wow anyone with his athleticism or sky-high potential, but he will enter the league ready to provide rebounding, a serviceable post game, and a sturdy body to eat space in the paint. Zeller has also shown range out to 18 feet, and while he isn't a dynamic shot-blocker (1.5 bpg), he won't need to be playing alongside Thompson.
Harbingers of Doom
Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut: Once again, Hoops Analyst makes a much better argument for not draft Drummond than I ever could. Drummond is an amazing physical specimen, but so were Kwame Brown and Hasheem Thabeet. Even as a senior in high school, Drummond was far from dominant (15 ppg, 11 rpg, 4 bpg), especially when you consider how physically dominant he must have been. It's also not like consistency was a problem; Drummond didn't really have any dud games (an 0-6 performance vs. Louisville coming closest), but he also never flashed any dominance. He was just consistently mediocre, which doesn't bode well for his NBA future. Of all of the players in this draft, Drummond is the one I least want to hear called at pick #4.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky: See Hoops Analyst yet again for a tremendous case against MKG. Yes, Kidd-Gilchrist is a WINNER, but are his off-the-charts intangibles worth the risk that you end up with a more likable Tony Allen? To me, Kidd-Gilchrist is a (much) more athletic version of Shane Battier, without Battier's shooting, offensive acumen, and defensive versatility (in that Battier can handle some 4's in the post). Is that worth the 4th pick in the draft? While watching MKG and Kyrie run the break would be exciting, I say no.
Perry Jones, III, F, Baylor: A 6-11 small forward who doesn't rebound (7.6 rpg), block shots (0.6 bpg), or score (13.5 ppg) all that great, the best thing going for Jones is his ball-handling, which is a weird thing to celebrate in a near 7-footer (and even with those mad handles, Jones only averaged 1.3 apg). Value Add Basketball has him rated as the 215th best college basketball player last season, and while there are several cases of players being better in the pros than in college, it would be hard to justify taking the #215 at number 4 overall. (Just for fun, Drummond was #268, and the next Nightmare entry--Harison Barnes--clocked in at 287. MKG was a solid 38, which means I may be wrong about him [although Jon Scheyer is considered one of the greatest players ever by this rating metric, so I don't know how seriously we can take any of these rankings].)
Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina: Barnes does one thing really well: stand still and shoot. Possessing such a dominant skill would make him a valuable addition at #24, but a top 5 pick needs to do more than spot up for jumpers. Barnes doesn't rebound, he doesn't pass, and he doesn't defend. He barely even dribbles. His entire contribution is waiting for his point guard (Kendall Marshall) to set him up for an open jump shot. The Cavs could certainly use a player who can knock down an open jumper; they would just rather have a player who can do that while also bringing some other elements to the table. Harrison Michael Barnes-Gilchrist Kidd would potentially challenge Davis for the number one slot.
Some players I like later in the draft:
Terrence Ross, SG/SF, Washington: Ross would be a huge step toward fortifying the gaping wing hole the Cavs have had since you-know-who left, but I fear he will be long gone by the time #24 comes around.
Quincy Miller, SF, Balyor/Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's: Young, raw, athletic wings who would provide some highlights as well as some serious growing pains.
Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State: A rugged big man with a developing offensive game who would look nice providing 20 minutes a night off Byron Scott's bench.
Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas: A (very) poor man's Russell Westbrook, Taylor would be a welcome spark off the bench spelling Kyrie.
John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt/Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky: These two smooth shooting SEC guards should be available in the second round, potentially freeing the Cavs up to target other needs earlier in the draft.
Darius Miller, SF, Kentucky: From what I can tell, Miller provides a lot of what MKG does with a better jumper. Add in the value he would provide as a second round pick, and there isn't much to dislike.
Jae Crowder, F, Marquette: An undersized (6-6) power forward for the Golden Eagles, Crowder is a stat-head fave whose energy would make him an instant crowd favorite in the Q.