Patience can be Cavs' virtue: Could Cleveland afford to pass on another big man?
Saturday, June 15, 2013 10:57 PM
The Cavaliers passed on Jonas Valanciunas in the 2011 NBA draft.
Last year, they turned their back on Andre Drummond.
They have an opportunity to add an impactful big man in Kentucky's Nerlens Noel on June 27. Could they leave the top center prospect on the board again in 2013?
It's hard to answer that right now.
If Noel comes through all the medical testing on a positive note, it might be difficult for the Cavs not to draft him.
Scouts think he could be defensive force in the middle once he recovers from his torn ACL. Whichever team drafts him will need to wait. It will need to be patient. That doesn't describe Cavs majority owner Dan Gilbert right now. He expects the Cavs to be back in the playoffs in 2014.
So, that's one reason some observers think the Cavs could pass on Noel, who won't be ready to play until Christmas - or even later.
The Cavs will make a decision on Noel in the days leading up to the draft.
They've meticulously followed the Oklahoma City model of building through the draft. Just because there have been some rough waters, they shouldn't jump ship now. They want to win over the long haul, sustainable over a number of years. They don't want to shoot their wad on one fleeting playoff appearance.
The point is: If they decide Noel is their guy, don't buckle to public pressure. Take him. And wait for him to get his legs under him. Once he is healthy, he's going to be the type of player than can anchor Coach Mike Brown's defense for years to come.
Here's an interesting story told by an insider involved with one of the teams. In 2011, most everyone in the league thought the Cavs were leaning toward Lithuanian center Valanciunas with the No. 4 pick.
That included two teams behind the Cavs: Toronto at 5 and Detroit at 8. So much so, the teams had arranged a trade after they figured the 7-footer would go to the Cavs.
A source said the Pistons were going to trade the eighth pick and guard Ben Gordon to the Raptors for Toronto's No. 5 pick and guard Jose Calderon.
The Pistons were going to draft Tristan Thompson at 5, while Toronto would have taken Brandon Knight at 8.
The trade was called off when the Cavs passed on Valanciunas and selected Thompson at 4. The Raptors jumped on the Lithuanian center with the next pick. Both teams appear happy with the outcomes of both players.
If the Cavs pass on Noel, he could drop to Charlotte at 4. The Bobcats would almost have to take him given their dire need for a big man. Noel hired Andy Miller as his agent this week. Noel is scheduled to visit with the Cavs on Thursday.
The Pistons will likely hope that Michigan point guard Trey Burke (6-1 1/4, 187) won't be on the board when they use their No. 8 pick. There is intense pressure from the fan base for the Pistons to take the undersized Burke. They don't appear to be real high on him as a prospect.
Most observers feel the Pistons will select a player to bolster their backcourt. However, don't be shocked if they take Indiana forward/center Cody Zeller. They are supposedly very high on the former Hoosiers' standout.
If Kansas small forward Mitchell Wiggins, Duke small forward Jabari Parker and Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart were eligible for the 2013 draft, they'd be the top three picks, one scout said. Wiggins and Parker are incoming freshmen, while Smart decided to stay in school for his sophomore year.
Lehigh combo guard C.J. McCollum (6-3 1/4, 197) broke a bone in his foot on Jan. 5. That's the first thing NBA teams ask about with the former Canton GlenOak High School star. "I'm healthy," he said. "That's the biggest thing. I'm 21. I'm not going to change my game (in the weeks leading up to the draft). I want to show I'm healthy, can knock down shots, defend at a high level and show I have great ball skills."
Nuggets small forward Andre Iguodala is not picking up the option on his contract, Yahoo! Sports reported, and will become an unrestricted free agent. The Cavs will likely make a run at him in free agency, but might not be willing to ante up for his services. They have the necessary salary-cap space to sign him, but is he worth anywhere near the $15.9 million he opted out of for next year? Some team will way overpay for him. It might not be the Cavs. He's an excellent defender, but he's not a consistent shooter. The 6-6, 207-pounder has averaged 15.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in his nine-year career. He's 29 years old.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers might not want to go through Boston's rebuilding phase. The Celtics were in negotiations with the Clippers on Saturday on a major trade that would send center Kevin Garnett and Rivers to the West Coast. Boston would get center DeAndre Jordan. Rivers has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract with the Celtics. They might release him from that contract if the Clippers agree to take KG's major contract (two years, $23 million).
The University of North Carolina was trying to pair Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing together at the collegiate level. Ewing, recently hired an assistant coach with the Bobcats, was a guest on Dan Patrick's nationally syndicated radio show on Thursday. The problem with that dream matchup occurred when Ewing made a recruiting trip to the Tar Heels. "North Carolina was a very good school, but when I went down there, they put me in that Carolina Inn and there was a big Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina when I was there," Ewing said. "I was like, 'You know what? I'm not coming down here. I'm (keeping) my butt back in Boston.'"
The Pistons would like to bring back Calderon in free agency, but don't want to break the bank.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley said even though the NBA Finals are tied at 2-2 heading into Sunday's Game 5, he said the pressure is on Spurs forward/center Tim Duncan. "We criticize the Miami Heat's 'Big Three' when they don't play well," he said. "Tim Duncan has to have more of an imprint on the game. He had decent stats, but you can't say he had an impact on the game. If they don't get more from Tim Duncan, Sunday is the Spurs' last stand. Even just the threat of him in the post makes Miami's defense scramble."
It will be interesting to see which companies will decide to display advertising on NBA courts and backboards this season. It probably won't be Joe's Heating & Cooling. It's not going to be cheap, either.
By the numbers
Odds are courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV):
Will Rivers be the head coach of the Celtics for Game 1 of the 2013-14 regular season?
Yes -400 (1/4)
No +250 (5/2)