When the Cavaliers won the Lottery, if I would have said “my sources indicate there is a strong possibility Cleveland will look to trade out of their fourth overall pick” – instead of saying “I have a feeling a blockbuster-ish trade is in the works for the Cavs on June 23rd” - it might have seemed that I scooped Ric Bucher yesterday. Especially if I continued to use the phrase “I am reporting the Cavaliers will look to trade pick number four if they can’t get their hands on either Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter at that spot” instead of going with “I strongly believe” as such.
But if I did use “sources” and “reporting” in this particular case I’d have been lying, because I wasn’t using or doing either over the last couple weeks. I was simply surveying the Cavaliers’ landscape, evaluating the potential selections at pick number four, and offering an educated guess as to what I thought the Cavaliers would look to do. Not to question anybody’s journalistic integrity or anything either, but I often times wonder how many “reports” this time of year are as a result of this same technique. It’s hard to believe that teams are really going to lob a call to the beat writer and actually tell them the truth about who they plan to Draft, or what they plan to do. Topic for another day though I suppose.
Not that I’m inferring anything about Bucher’s latest report either. I’m quite certain that somebody did tell him the Cavaliers have settled on Kyrie Irving, and I’m not surprised their looking to deal that fourth pick either.
From Ric Bucher yesterday:
“Cavaliers, after taking the temperature of the Timberwolves and Jazz to see if Kyrie Irving could somehow fall to No. 4 in Thursday’s NBA draft, are now committed to the former Duke guard as the No. 1 pick and are fielding offers for the fourth pick, league sources said Monday.
In a perfect world for the Cavs, they would draft Irving and former Arizona forward Derrick Williams, which is why they were also interested in dealing for the second pick. But what they found out is that getting both players would be a stretch.
In preparation for the No. 4 pick, Cleveland was bringing in Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight for a visit Monday. And former Kentucky student Enes Kanter of Turkey, who was ruled by the NCAA to be permanently ineligible with the school, will return Monday for a second visit. The Wolves, meanwhile, won’t let Williams slip beyond No. 2 and don’t plan on trading Michael Beasley or Anthony Randolph.”
If the draft does go Kyrie, Williams, Kanter, it makes even more sense that the Cavaliers would look to deal based on the “reports” we’re hearing about Brandon Knight’s showing in this pre-draft circuit. Knight appears to be the fourth best player available, and he’s probably the one guy the Cavaliers really couldn’t use at all at that spot in any scenario. The team trying leap up a couple spots and trade into a Brandon Knight acquisition is who I see as the Cavaliers most viable partner in a possible deal there.
Arguably another reason the Cavaliers would want to get out of that spot could include the risk involved with selecting an international player in the top-10 of the NBA Draft. I complied the list of who those players have been yesterday, going back over the last five years, and it’s not an overly impressive group.
Fran Fraschilla has been on record recently saying that if basketball were baseball, the Euro League would be equivalent to Triple-A and College Basketball would equate to Double-A. That might be true, but it’s also true that the team leaders and best players in the Euro League from a production standpoint – as opposed to how they project out to be in 10 years – are not the players being drafted. The most productive players overseas, traditionally, are guys like Trajan Langdon, Qyntel Woods, NBA vets in a lot of cases, not the young 19-year old players who project to be drafted.
Anyways, that list is below…
List of International Players Taken in the Top-10 in Last Five Drafts
2010: There were no International players selected until Kevin Seraphin, out of France, went to the Wizards at pick 17.
2009: Ricky Rubio, who has just now made his way from Spain to Minnesota, went 5th to TWolves. After Rubio in ’09, Victor Claver went 22nd to Portland also out of Spain, and Omri Casspi went 23rd to the Kings out of Israel.
2008: Danillo Gallinari went 6th to the Knicks out of Italy. After Dani, who was a good pick, the next international player taken was Alexis Ajinca going to Charlotte out of France at pick number 20.
2007: Yi Jianlian went 6th to the Bucks. Following the guy Fran Fraschilla called “The Hip Hop Version of Yao Ming” on draft night,Marco Belinelli went 18th to Golden State
2006: Andrea Bargnani went 1st overall out of Italy. It’s worth noting that the 2006 Draft was pretty rough, but LaMarcus Aldridge did go 2nd, Brandon Roy 6th, and Rudy Gay 8th. Rondo probably would be picked first in a re-draft, and he went 21st. The next international player picked after Andrea went first was Mouhamed SaerSene from Senegal, who was selected 10th by Seattle.
So if the Cavaliers did invest pick number four in an overseas prospect, it would be the first time since Bargnani was picked in 2006 that an International players was picked as high as 4th overall, for whatever that’s worth I suppose.
More later this week.