The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday and the Cavs currently hold the 4th and 24th overall picks. With the Wizards, Bobcats and Rockets all making trades the last few days, the options for the Cavs have really opened up.
The Cavs who are in dire need of a wing player will more than likely have their choice between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes at the small forward position. The Cavs cant’ go wrong when choosing between these two soon to be rookies, even though they provide different contributions. Kidd-Gilchrist is thought to be a defensive maven, dangerous in transition and excellent at moving off the ball and driving the lane. While Barnes is a solid defender, excellent mid-range offensive game, and can catch and shoot with the best of them.
My fear with Barnes is, he struggled last year creating off the dribble, and creating space against competition that was smaller and slower. Now while that can be attributed to growing pains of a young player, I’m not so sure how quick he will improve that part of his game, once he starts consistently playing against guys who are stronger and faster than his counterparts at the college level. I’m not going to completely out rule the possibility of growing, but for most players that have the same struggle; it’s something that follows you to the league. However, many believe that Barnes has a game that will translate to the NBA, given his height and big frame and that is sure to fill out once his body matures.
With Kidd-Gilchrist, the knock on him is, his jump shot is pretty weak. While this is something you can improve on, his shooting motion may be something that delays the process. What works in his favor is, defensively he’s 100% committed on that end of the floor. As previously stated, he’s good in the open court and in space. He’s also a solid rebounder, which poses a threat to the defense when you have a 6’7’’ guy barreling down the court on the break.
Rumblings have been the Cavs could take Bradley Beal, who at 6’4’’ is considered to be undersized to play the shooting guard position. However, is a lights out shooter who has the ability to take you off the dribble and get to the rim and finish strong. Scouts say he’s a willing passer and plays with a high basketball IQ.
While Beal is an option, I just don’t think you can play with a backcourt of two players that are 6’4’’ with Beal and Irving. You leave yourself open to, too many mismatches on the defensive end when it comes to playing against some of the bigger guards in the league, as well as pick and roll situations with switches.
The Cavs as a long shot could choose to take one of the big men that will fall to them at #4 between Thomas Robinson and Andre Drummond. Though they are in need of a solid center to allow Andy Varejao and Tristan Thompson to play more at their natural position of power forward, I don’t think that would be wise considering you’re already grooming one young big guy. I’m not sure you want to bring in another one in considering we know typically big guys take a little longer to develop than other positions, based on all they have to develop, post game, foot work, help defense etc.
If I were the Cavs picking at #4 I’d go with either Barnes or Kidd-Gilchrist, while leaning hard on the side of Kidd-Gilchrist. I believe the fact that he should come in and be a solid defender from day one helps the team immediately. I have more faith that you can fix his jumper faster than you can fix Barnes’ issue with creating his own shot. Kidd-Gilchrist at the moment is a better ball handler and they both finish well in the transition. However, I’d prefer to see Kidd-Gilchrist in a Cavs uniform.