NBA AM: Should The Cavs Pass On Kyrie Irving?
Haven’t Settled In Yet: Like most NBA teams with a week to go in the NBA Draft process, the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t settled in on exactly who they will take with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but having seen both of the top prospects in Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, Cavaliers’ head coach Byron Scott thinks the Cavs will get a nice player regardless of who they take.
“We have a few more workouts we want to get in before we really want to start evaluating on who we think is the best possible pick at No. 1 and who we think is the best at No. 4,” Scott said to Marc Spears of Yahoo!. “So, by no means, has anyone in our organization who has been to our workouts said, ‘Derrick Williams is our first pick’ or ‘Kyrie Irving is our first pick.’
“We’re all keeping an open mind and understand we have a few more workouts to go through. Both of those guys are very, very good basketball players in our minds. Both are going to have a long career, but no way are we set on a guy.”
The Cavaliers were able to get Kyrie Irving in for a workout last week without a lot of fanfare. They also worked out and met this week with Derrick Williams. The Cavaliers have also worked out Enes Kanter and are talking about workouts with Kawhi Leonard and several others.
The Cavs have been combing through prospects not only for their top two picks, but their picks at 32 and 54 and are finding a lot of interesting players.
“When you have to go through the process of re-loading with what we’re doing as a basketball team, it’s always great when you can start with two of the top five players in the draft,” Scott said. “They’re going to be young. Hopefully, they’re going to be hungry. We feel that there are 10, 12, 15 guys in this draft that are going to be very productive in this league if not next year, two years down the line or something.”
“You’re going to have some guys that are going to surprise people in this draft. I don’t think it’s as weak as everyone says it is.”
Kyrie Irving is considered the favorite for the Cavaliers’ top overall pick, and Scott was more than impressed with what he saw.
“He has his head on right,” said Scott. “He reminded me so much of my initial contact with Chris Paul. Kyrie was a lot like him. The thing that stood out to me when I met him was he was a lot bigger than I thought. He’s a good-sized point guard. He’s 6-3 and a legit 6-3, not 6-feet or 6-1.
“In our general conversation, he was a very, very intelligent young man and a very mature young man. He has a lot of confidence in himself. He didn’t answer like, ‘Uh, well.’ He answered pretty matter of fact. That impressed me about him.”
Derrick Williams is also a candidate for the top pick and could be the dark horse to go number one, mainly because of the talent that could still be on the board at #4, if Williams goes #1.
“Very strong, great athlete, can get his shot off as well,” Scott said. “He’s a guy that people say is a tweener, but I think he can play both. He’s going to obviously have to get better on the defensive end, but he’s just a great athlete, and if we were to have him, he’d give J.J. [Hickson] and those guys a run for their money [at power forward].
“He’s a very good kid as well, very mature. He had a good understanding of himself and the game.”
The Cavaliers a have a series of workouts scheduled this week and will continue processing information, but a firm decision on who will go number one may not be reached until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, so keep your pencil handy the Mock Draft landscape could change a lot between now and then.
Rich Cho and The Charlotte Bobcats: It seems Rich Cho was the surprise move twice in one off season. Just last month the Portland Trail Blazers abruptly released Cho after 10 months on the job and less than 22 days later he was hired by the Charlotte Bobcats.
First, Cho was released in Portland because owner Paul Allen struggled to communicate with Cho. Allen likes lieutenants that follow orders and report, Cho is more collaborative and analytical. He is a little cold and stoic and that didn’t fit in Portland. However in Charlotte, that’s exactly what the Bobcats needed.
The Bobcats have traditionally been run on “feel”, which is why so many of their decisions have been head scratchers, because it’s been run more on “eye test” than analytics. With Cho in the fold, there is a little bit of both.
Cho was introduced to the press this week and made it clear his goal was to get Charlotte out of the middle of the road rut they are in and start amassing assets.
“One of the worst things you can do in this league is be a middle-of-the-road team – in the playoffs one year, out the next,” Cho said to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
“One of the tough things about a middle-of-the-road team is you never get really good draft picks. That makes it hard to have sustained success. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.”
“I’m a big proponent of accumulating assets,” Cho said. “That’s how we did it in Oklahoma City.”
The Bobcats have two picks in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, holding the 9th and 19th picks. The Bobcats also hold the 9th pick in the second round, 39th overall, meaning they will come away with three roster caliber players.
The Bobcats are said to be very high on Jordan Hamilton from Texas, Tobias Harris from Tennessee and Kemba Walker from UCONN. There is a chance all three could be available to the Bobcats in the first round, meaning they could come away with two of three players they covet in the draft.
Still Not Trading Monta: In the span of a week Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob shot down trade rumors involving Monta Ellis, new head coach Mark Jackson named Ellis as a key in his introductory press conference and now Warriors’ General Manager Larry Riley in his boldest statement yet made it clear – the Golden State Warriors are not looking to trade Monta Ellis.
“We are not shopping Monta Ellis,” Riley said to Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated. “It is business as usual here. I think you have to look at what just happened in the Finals — it seemed like Dallas played pretty small guards throughout that series with Miami and did a pretty good job of it. Our problem is not the small back court [of Ellis and Stephen Curry]. Our problem is defense.”
Riley was clear that his club was not flawed to the point of needing massive change, they need to add some pieces for sure, and Riley feels like some of them can come from the draft.
“We can move forward with this team. Obviously it would be a nice thing if we could acquire a point guard who was 6-foot-4 to come off the bench, or a 2-guard who was 6-5 and could guard point guards — someone off the bench who is a bit longer. But that back court in Dallas was not long either. But when I mention Dallas, you have to give Jason Kidd credit, too — he’s a great defender. But they still had times when they had both J.J. Barea and Jason Terry on the floor.”
The Warriors hold the 11th pick in the first round and the 13th pick in the second round, 43rd overall and are said to be targeting defense in the first round and seem to be the front runner to draft Bismack Biyombo, said to be the best defensive player in the draft class.
However the Warriors are not just hoping that a rookie changes their fortunes they are also hoping Andris Biedrins can return to reasonable form.
“I just got off the phone with him [in Latvia],” explained Riley. “Before we hung up today, I told him, ‘I can notice a difference in your voice.’ It was noticeable. His excitement for the game is back. We have a program in place for him. He’s working with people in regards to strength and conditioning, and as rules allow during the summer, we’ll send an assistant coach [to Latvia] to work with him this summer.
“His overall health is finally good now. At the end of the year, he had a high-ankle sprain, but we had that evaluated and he’s fine. Now the thing is to get his speed and quickness back to where it was at one time. We just need him to be the player he was three years ago. He has really bought in to helping himself. He sees a brand new beginning in terms of how he can fit in here.”
The Warriors have eight players under contract for next season including Charlie Bell who holds a $4.09 million Early Termination Option and Louis Amundson who holds a $2.4 million Player Option. The Warriors also have non-guaranteed deals out to Jeremy Lin and Jeff Adrien. In total the Warriors have $49.925 million in salary commitments for next season.
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