Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who's No. 1?

This is one of those odd years where the number one pick in the draft is very much up for grabs. Look at the last five No. 1 picks, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Blake Griffin, and Derrick Rose. Not a whole lot of debate there. This year can be tricky, and while I don't think anyone would ever refuse the number one overall pick, but Cavs GM Chris Grant has his work cut out for him. He has the franchise building block in Kyrie Irving, but unlike two years ago, the selection won't be that easy. His decision can be narrowed down to five names in my opinion: Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, and Anthony Bennet.

Right off the bat I think you can cancel out McLemore. The Cavs took Dion Waiters last year and
it looks like he'll be able to hold down the SG spot for a good long while.

I also think you can forget about Anthony Bennet. The uber talented and athletic but raw potential is there, but the Cavs have Tristan Thompson at the 4, and he has been developing nicely after averaging 11 ppg and 9 rpg in the 2012-13 season.

That leaves Noel, Len, and Porter. Had Noel not torn his ACL I don't think I would even be writing this article. If he were healthy he would be the number one pick and almost unimaously. However, he is hurt, therefore not a home run pick.

The Cavs could use reinforcements on the wing and in he middle. Anderson Varejao is very good when healthy, but is oft injured. Would it be smart to draft an injured big to help reinforce an injured big? That's the multi-million dollar question. Luckily for the Cavs, all three top choices left fill a hole. Now, who do I think should be the top pick?

otto-porterRight off the bat, I would not take Nerlens Noel. I believe that once a big man sustains a serious injury it becomes a vicious cycle for he rest of their career. There are plenty of circumstances where that is not the case, and Noel does have youth on his side, but I wouldn't risk it. We are talking about a kid in Noel who needed hefty work on his offensive game pre-injury, so it's not like he's a complete player anyways. Based on the injury and the fact that he has offensive deficiency, I would leave him for the Magic at pick two.

That leaves 7'1" Center Alex Len and 6'8" SF Otto Porter Jr.

Personally, I love Otto Porter Jr. I think he will be a solid NBA player and the type of guy who can fit in on any team. I think he is a perfect fit on the Cavs. Porter is the type of player who can effect a game on defense as well as on the boards and is perfectly fine not being the center of the offense. That is the perfect formula for Cleveland. He will bring defense and athleticism on the wing where they very much lack that. Kyrie Irving is obviously the number one option with other solid options in Waiters and Varejao. Porter would fit seamlessly into the offense, knocking down open jumpers when he has the chance. If I were GM I would strongly consider Porter.

alex-lenWith all of that being said, it is hard to look past a 7'1" Center with the rare ability out of college to actually score in the paint. Look around the league. How many seven footers are there that can be or become legitimate scoring options in the paint. There can't be more than a handful of them. That's what makes it so difficult to not take Alex Len. Not even Nerlens Noel can be the scoring presence inside that Len can be. Len averaged 11.9 ppg atMaryland and he didn't get nearly as many touches as he should have. There are questions about his assertiveness and toughness, but it is hard to deny his scoring ability inside. Even if he can't defend or rebound at all he can easily be Brook Lopez, an asset many teams would like to have. With the draft nearing, I would have to put my money on Len being the choice.

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