No. 4: What to expect from the rookies?
I've come to the conclusion that Chris Grant wakes up on draft day wanting to shock the league. He did it twice in a row when the Cavs picked 4th; going with Tristan Thompson and then a year later taking Dion Waiters. Both picks surprised pundits and fans across the league. But, you know what? They both look pretty good.
Rewind to June and Grant didn't disappoint. Holding the top selection for a second time in three years, Grant and Co. broke Twitter when he selected UNLV freshman stud Anthony Bennett. There were rumblings of the Cavs brass liking Bennett but nobody really thought it would happen. Well, here we are.
Bennett and 19th overall pick, Russian wing Sergey Karasev should both be big contributors this season, Bennett much earlier than Karasev in my opinion. But lets start with Karasev.
He could be pegged for Canton and that’s OK, but I would love to see him crack the rotation. When I learned Cleveland was interested in him I did my research and became a big fan. He has a sweet stroke, a very underrated passer and possesses a great basketball IQ. But he has a very slight frame. I don't find that as big of deal as many do, but from what I have seen from him this preseason, he's going to struggle defensively. Most rookies do, so it is to be expected. On the offensive end, if he gets time, he could surprise. He has an NBA-ready shot and a sneaky good passer. It will depend if Mike Brown trusts him on whether he is in The Q or the Canton Civic Center.
Now Bennett. It has been an interesting preseason for him. He has shown some real flashes of his athleticism, throwing down some thunderous slams. Rebounding has been outstanding, and he looks to be in horrible shape. He had a shoulder injury, so his conditioning will come. His jump shot is better than I anticipated, but at times he seems to fall in love with the 3 ball; something I don't want to happen.
Bennett is in interesting position. He is the rare top pick who isn't expected to come in and be the face of the team. He should be able to develop at his own pace, which I think will be pretty fast once these games start to count. His talent is just too great. The days of playing for the draft are over. Yes, when a team is young and stockpiling picks being in the lottery can be exciting. But it is time for the Cavs to be playing for the post season, not the draft.
And these two guys should play a big part of that.