ottoporter wingspan

Here’s hoping the Cavs hit like they did in 1986 on Thursday

Assuming a parade is not scheduled on Euclid Avenue to celebrate Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge's arrival trade is not made, the Cleveland Cavaliers will enter draft night holding four picks in the top 33.

Way back in 1986, the Cavs similarly entered the war room owning three picks in the top 29. Gordon Gund and the Cleveland brain trust then executed a draft-day trade to acquire a fourth player taken 25th overall.

When the 1986 NBA Draft concluded, the Cavaliers traveled home with rookies Brad Daugherty (No. 1), Ron Harper (No. 8), Mark Price (No. 25) and Johnny Newman (No. 29).

Stuck behind Harper, Newman was forced to the bench as a rookie. He went on to become an extremely respectable NBA player for the New York Knicks, however, averaging 11 points over 16 seasons for seven different teams on his career.

Daugherty, Harper and Price, meanwhile, became legendary figures in Cavs history. 

What's most telling about that draft, however, is who the Cavaliers navigated around in acquiring the pivotal pieces of a winning organization that they did.

In selecting Daugherty No.1, the Cavs passed on Len Bias who tragically died soon after from a drug overdose. They also traded the No. 7 overall pick that became Roy Tarpley before using No. 8 on Harper. 

Dwyane Washington was a point guard who went 13th overall before the Cavs acquired their PG, Price, at 25. After the Cavaliers selected the small forward Newman at No. 29, Joe Ward–who never played a game in the NBA–was the next SF to come off the board at No. 31.

This year, the overall talent pool is nowhere near as deep as it was in '86. The Cavs do not hold a pick as high as No. 8, either, after the top overall selection.

At the same time, though, the potential for a similar hit-to-miss ratio with each of their four selections (No. 1, No. 19, No. 31, No. 33) certainly exists.

With the first two picks, specifically, the Cavs could add a core piece whose jersey will one day hang in the Quicken Loans Arena rafters or they could select a Luke Jackson-ish contributor who similarly curbs the enthusiasm generated by the drafts preceding it. 

The questions, heading into Thursday, are as wide-ranging as they are exhausting. 

Is Nerlens Noel, for example, the next Bill Russell or Tyrus Thomas?

Is Alex Len a younger version of Zydrunas Ilgauskas or is he Meyers Leonard 2.0?

Could Otto Porter become the next Paul George like his coach once said or does he have a dime-a-dozen skill set as others suggest.

Would Ben McLemore fit with Dion Waiters or would that be a disaster?

These questions have most likely kept Chris Grant awake since last Monday and it won't be any easier tonight.

Regardless of what we've heard in recent weeks, the opportunity to add winning pieces around Kyrie Irving does exist in this draft. 

There will be players selected on Thursday who will make multiple All-Star teams throughout their career. 

Maybe Nerlens Noel and Sergey Karasev are the next Brad Daugherty and Ron Harper. Maybe that combination exists with Otto Porter and Rudy Gobert?

Whatever decision Grant ultimately makes on Thursday, though, some random Cavs blogger like me will be talking about the moves he made 25 years from now on a floating, air-type device sold by Apple that makes the internet feel like a stone tablet.  

Because like the Cavs in '86, what Grant does with the assets he has available on Thursday will help define the future of the Cavaliers' organization for the next decade.

For better or worse. 

Editor's Note: Tomorrow morning I will be making my final predictions for who I think the Cavs will select at No.1, No. 19, No. 31 and No. 33 in case you were wondering. 

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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