On Tuesday, laced with a more mature swag than we first saw three years ago, Nick Gilbert rolled in repping Cleveland with Machine Gun Kelly, his old man and a really excited local sports-talker and shook down David Stern, Adam Silver and the NBA establishment for another top pick.
After appearing disgusted to be seated among the losingest teams in the NBA, with good reason, the bowtie-wearing badass left with an asset that should help ensure that the Cavaliers do not return to the lottery stage in 2014.
But while winning each of the previous two NBA Draft Lottery's meant that your team would earn the right to select Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis respectively, this year it's anyone's guess.
That ultimate decision, thanks to Nick, now belongs to Chris Grant. His Cavaliers are on the clock, and however Grant chooses to use this newly acquired asset will ultimately define his career one way or another.
No pressure, bro.
But more than being forced to determine which player most deserves to be the No. 1 pick, the Cavs have an opportunity to simply select the one player in the entire draft that they would like to have on their team the most.
Meaning, just because Nerlens Noel is represented by the most powerful agency in the world in CAA, and managed to earn exclusive face-time during a lottery show preceding a draft where upwards of three players could be taken first overall, that doesn't necessarily mean that Grant has to take Nerlens at one.
He could, of course, but I'm not completely sold on the fact that the Cavaliers will.
To me, there are four different directions that Grant could go atop the draft that all yield distinctly different returns. I outlined each one below, along with my preliminary thoughts on said option.
Nerlens Noel: If Noel had finished the year at Kentucky, wasn't out until Christmas and had at least one already-developed-offensive move that we could point to and say 'that will translate on the NBA level for sure', I'd like him a little more. Which isn't to say that I don't like a guy who once blocked 12 shots in a game because I do, and I also understand that you can't coach the type of size and athleticism that Nerlens possesses. Do the Cavaliers need a rim defender? Yes. Does he fit alongside Tristan Thompson? Defensively he does, and they could be flat-out scary in a Mike Brown system. But will he be consistently healthy and will he develop enough offensively to score 16 points-per-game in the league? I have a hard time answering yes to those questions at this point.
Ben McLemore: If Byron Scott were still coaching this team I'd say that McLemore is the pick at one with supreme certainty. Roll out with a three-guard lineup featuring Irving, Waiters and McLemore and see if you can't run your way to some offensively-fueled victories. Sure, the Cavaliers never played like that under Scott specifically, but they always talked about trying to. But Mike Brown will be bringing back as set of defensive philosophies that don't necessarily fit with the idea of lining up three players 6'5" and shorter out on the perimeter together. Unless, of course, the idea is take McLemore and move Waiters into a sixth man role that our boy Dion definitely doesn't want any part of.
Otto Porter: If you forced me to answer the question 'who do the Cavaliers pick at one', today, I would tell you Otto Porter. The Porter pick, to me, screams Mike Brown. He has been called the safest player in the draft for good reason. Not that a shot-blocking center couldn't fit, but Brown's Cavaliers teams of yesteryear were most effective defensively with an uber-athletic small forward roaming the passing lanes. Not trying to compare this potential first pick with the one taken 10 years ago, I'm just saying more that Zydrunas Ilgauskas didn't' need to be Dikemebe Mutombo around the rim to help Brown's team defend their way to an Eastern Conference championship. Porter fills a desperate need for this team while also being a 6'8", 19-year-old who shoots it okay already, has a solid handle and can get out and run.
But I really think the Cavaliers are looking to deal: Team Gilbert talked playoffs all night on Tuesday. In order to get there, I really think the Cavaliers will have to trade for a veteran capable of starting in 2013-14. The top pick they just secured will be viewed generally, in my opinion, as an asset that will help this organization get back to the playoffs. It could be spent on Noel, McLemore or Porter, or it could be used as a trade chip to acquire that veteran presence that would help improve the Cavs locker room and culture while showing this young team how to win on a professional level. Who that guy might be is a topic for another day, in what expects to be a rumor-filled month of speculation and sources. But I would not be surprised if the Cavaliers eventually became the first team in 30 years to deal the top overall pick in the event they are able to find a trade partner interested in collaborating on all that.
We will have a ton more on the draft here later…stay tuned you guys.
Photo Credit: AP