Cavs Stand Pat

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Aside from John Wall's selection, Thursday's Draft was predictably unpredictable.
Sitting out the NBA Draft can feel like sitting out Christmas. Everyone gets a new toy but you.

The Cavaliers lone pick in the 2010 Draft was shipped to Washington in February, part of the deal that brought Antawn Jamison to town. The Wizards used that pick on Marquette’s Lazar Haywood – a four-year player who scouts consider a power forward in a small forward’s body – and traded him to Minnesota. But by No. 30, Ernie Grunfeld had to feel like he was playing with house money – having already locked up John Wall, the only sure pick in Thursday’s Draft.

New Cavs GM Chris Grant flirted with buying into the First Round, but in a thin draft, the Wine and Gold stood pat.

“The Draft is a crazy thing; it’s an emotional thing,” said Grant. “So you never really know what’s going to happen. For us, because we have a good team, it’s important to remain unemotional, target the guys we have, go with the rankings from our scouts and make a decision to get one of those players.

“Tonight, it didn’t happen – which is OK.”

The 2010 Draft was heavy with big men, light on international prospects. The night was devoid of any blockbuster trades, save the proposed deal that would send Kirk Hinrich to Washington, freeing up even more cap space for the Chicago Bulls.

Aside from John Wall and, to a lesser extent, Evan Turner, no one knew how the First Round would shake out. And when names that Cavalier fans had coveted came off the board – Kentucky’s Eric Bledsoe, Xavier’s Jordan Crawford and Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside – it became clear that Cleveland was going to sit this one out.

Of course, no one – not a casual fan, not Rod Thorn – is sure how any of these kids will turn out. The entire 1996 Draft passed without any team selecting Ben Wallace. And in 1998, the Bucks probably thought they got a steal when they acquired Tractor Traylor in exchange for a skinny German named Dirk Nowitzki.

But according to the scouting reports from this year, the Clippers, Kings and Celtics scored big. One out of every six First Round picks was a Kentucky Wildcat – and four of those five players were one-and-done guys. Kevin Pritchard had a solid Draft after being canned by Paul Allen. The Warriors took another thin, athletic big instead of adding muscle. And Minnesota’s David Kahn enhanced his reputation as a wheeler-dealer.

The Bulls and Heat were content continue cost-cutting and the Knicks, as they love to do every year, cheesed off their fans at Madison Square Garden with a pair of perplexing picks.

After both rounds wrapped up, Chris Grant talked about this year’s draft and a bit about some picks from the past – notably Christian Eyenga (selected 30th overall last year) and center, Sasha Kaun, who the Cavs acquired in 2008.

Kaun has developed into one of the best centers in Europe and, after recently getting married, will play for the Russian national team instead of the Cavaliers Summer League squad. Eyenga will be in Sin City when the Cavaliers tip off on July 13.

“(Eyenga is) a young, developing player,” said Grant. “(He) hasn’t played at a high competitive level yet, but we feel like he’s got a chance down the road to turn into a pretty good player. Our hope is to have him play in Summer League, evaluate his progress, see how he’s doing and make a decision on whether to bring him over here or let him play another year overseas. And we haven’t got to that decision yet.”

Second year guard Danny Green showed some nice flashes last season after being taken in the second round and will also get his chance to show his stuff in Vegas Summer League.

While we wait for Summer League to tip off, there’s that little issue of Free Agency to get through. And that’s when things will really get interesting – not just in Cleveland, but throughout the NBA. Suffice to say, the league will look much different next November.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers summer of uncertainty moves on. The coaching search continues and the free agent circus will kick into high gear (if that’s possible).

So, for Cavalier fans who were completely bored by Thursday’s NBA Draft: Don’t worry … things are about to get really interesting.