2014 Draft Picks: Round 1 - Pick 1 | Round 2 - Pick 33
Areas of strength
The Cavaliers have had an embarrassingly fortunate haul of high draft picks since their big LeBron Letdown, starting with Kyrie Irving and continuing through the No. 1 pick this spring. Irving, the All-Star MVP, still is coveted enough around the league to require a max contract extension as Cleveland's cornerstone star. There are solid complimentary pieces around him, from defensive big Anderson Varejao to forward Tristan Thompson and still young Dion Waiters.
It's imperative that last year's No. 1, Anthony Bennett, gets himself into serious NBA shape if the Cavs want to prove they didn't whiff on that pick last June. There's still too much pining away for LeBron James and the highly unlikely scenario that he'll come back to rescue them. Firing Mike Brown again destabilized the coaching staff and showed a shaky vision in the front office that new GM David Griffin will have to work long and hard to fix. The Cavs pledged a playoff berth and blew it this year.
Two stats that matter
40 -- That was the magic number for opposing offenses. Those that shot better than 40 percent from the floor against Cleveland went 47-18. Those that didn't, 2-15.
36 -- Tristan Thompson had the most double-doubles by a Cavaliers player since Drew Gooden notched 37 in 2004-05. That's a rather head-scratching stat given LeBron James' presence and production, but it speaks to Thompson's solid work inside.
The way to go
NBA.com's Draft expert, Scott Howard-Cooper, offers up his suggestions:
The Cleveland Cavaliers medical staff is now on the clock. They’re going to be a big part of the decision at No. 1, after all, not just general manager David Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert. The difference between clearing Joel Embiid and the fractured back that prematurely ended his freshman season at Kansas versus ruling the injury is the first sign of years of trouble changes the entire draft. A healthy Embiid would be very difficult to pass on for a team that needs a center. Turning away from him would almost certainly mean Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins at forward. Parker is more versatile and more NBA-ready, Wiggins has the higher ceiling because of incredible athleticism but is also the bigger risk. This is a good year to have the first pick, certainly better than when the Cavs had it last June and probably better than most of the times they win the lottery the next 17 times. That just doesn’t mean there’s an easy choice.
2013-14 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 101.3 (23rd)
Defensive: 104.8 (17th)
G: Kyrie Irving
G: Dion Waiters
G: Jarrett Jack
G: Matthew Dellavedova
G: Carrick Felix
G: Scotty Hopson
F: Tristan Thompson
F: Alonzo Gee
F: Anthony Bennett
F: Sergey Karasev
F/C: Anderson Varejao
C: Tyler Zeller
G: C.J. Miles
F: Luol Deng
C: Spencer Hawes
Recent Draft History
2013: Anthony Bennett (1), Sergey Karasev (19), Allen Crabbe (31), Carrick Felix (33)
2012: Dion Waiters (4), Jared Cunningham (24), Bernard James (33), Jae Crowder (34). Cunningham, James and Crowders all were traded to Dallas for Tyler Zeller and Kelenna Azubuike.
2011: Kyrie Irving (1), Tristan Thompson (4), Justin Harper (32), Milan Macvan (54)
2009: Christian Eyenga (30), Danny Green (46)
-- Steve Aschburner