Jun 27, 2012

Why Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Isn't The Right Fit

When watching the national championship Wildcats it was hard to ignore the impact that Michael Kidd-Girlchrist made during most every game.  His hustle, rebounding, defensive activity, and finishing on the fast break all jump off of the screen.  His 6'7" frame along with his 6'10" wingspan are all more than adequate measurements for the small forward position in the NBA and he is ready to contribute right away. With all this said, is he the best fit for the Cavaliers at the #4 spot? I say no, and here's why.

The Cavs leading scorer on the wing this season was Alonzo Gee who averaged just a hair over 10ppg while only starting about half of the season.  Gee has similar measureables and offensive game as MKG, but his jump shot is further along and more mechanically sound at this point.  The other highest points per game from the wing belonged to Boobie Gibson and Anthony Parker where they both shared the paltry number of 7.  Point being, why bring another wing that will struggle to score in the half court? 

MKG scored most of his points in the transition game, and those aren't points that you can count on night in and night out.  Many of these fast break opportunities come from the #1 overall pick Anthony Davis patrolling the middle of the lane on defense.  Great shot blockers and rebounders (Davis, Terrence Jones) generate fast breaks, and while Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao are competent defenders, neither are going to dominate in the type of way that Anthony Davis did in the lackluster SEC.  Another telling statistic from Kentucky's national championship team was that MKG was used only 18% of the time on offense, ranking seventh on the team.  While there were upperclassmen around him that were gone to more, you would want to see a little more action in the half court from a guy that you are depending on being your 4th pick in the draft.  

There is little doubt that MKG will be a good defensive player in the league. He is his 18 years old with room to grow into a better offensive player, but there are more pressing needs on this team. The Cavs were 25th in the league in scoring and shot the second worse percentage from the field last year.  This team needs players that can put the ball in the basket, preferably without Kyrie Irving having to put him in a perfect spot every play.  Players like Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, and Terrence Ross (if they trade back to get Lamb/Ross) all seem to be more natural fits next to Irving, who will be the only natural scorer on the floor with MKG in our projected 5.  Will it be the end of the world if the Cavaliers take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #4? No, but it wouldn't address the team's two biggest needs, a wing scorer and a legitimate center, both of which can be had at picks 4-11.  

Jun 15, 2012

Cavalier's Draft Scenarios

When the Cavs were left out of the top 3 of the draft people started to sour on the type of player that could be drafted at this position.  What people are now realizing, is that after Anthony Davis there is no player that has separated himself from the pack to be the clear-cut second pick as Derrick Williams did last year.  In the next few scenarios I will break down what the Cavaliers should do in each instance.  I will be leaving Thomas Robinson out of the discussion because of Tristan Thompson. If Robinson is picked by the Cavs that will almost guarantee Thompson to be traded and I am not willing to speculate that far.   

1. Anthony Davis- NO 2. Andre Drummond- CHA 3. Bradley Beal- WAS

This is the scenario that I think will end up playing out once the draft rolls around, and this will leave the Cavaliers with a good amount of options at the 4th pick.  The short list that I could see here is Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and a few dark horses in Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Ross.  I believe the Cavaliers would take Harrison Barnes with this pick and I am not sure it would even take them that long to hand in the card with the sweet shooting Tar Heel on it.  Barnes, who is great friends with Kyrie Irving, would be the perfect second option in Byron Scott's offense.  Barnes is a great shooter from the 3 point line averaging nearly 36% on attempts taken from deep and he is a fantastic mid-range player.  Barnes won't dominate the ball and won't take shots away from Irving.  There will be enough ball to go around for these two and you won't be seeing the kind of "I'm gonna get mine" attitudes that we are seeing in the Finals between Westbrook and Durant.  Barnes' maligned athleticism was also put to rest as his 6'8" frame was able to register one of the best standing verticals (38 inches) that the NBA Combine had ever measured.  He is also a willing defender and rebounder with a large chiseled NBA frame.  This would be a win scenario.

1. Anthony Davis- NO 2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist- CHA 3. Thomas Robinson- WAS

If the 2nd and 3rd picks end up being safer selections, leaving the Cavs with Drummond, Beal, and Barnes, I believe things will start to get rather interesting.  The much anticipated head to head match up that will be going down in Cleveland tomorrow between Beal and Barnes will be interesting to say the least.  Barnes has about 4 inches on Beal so I'm a bit confused as to the competition.  Will they be shooting drills? Races? Athleticism?  I couldn't imagine that they would just start playing one on one against one another because it really wouldn't be a fair test for the smaller Beal.  While many think that this workout will determine who the Cavaliers will take at 4, I believe that Drummond will throw a large wrench into this logic.  If Drummond falls to 4 I believe the Cavaliers have to take him.  You don't draft in the top 5 very often in the NBA and when you are there you have to swing for the fences.  Whoever the Cavaliers take at 4, chances are that they won't be in the top 5 again next year (and if they are then expect changes, once again) so they must swing for the fences here in my opinion.  Having picks 24/33/34 also makes this pick less risky as they do have the ammo to move up and take one of the wings that falls in this draft.  Drummond is the type of player that will either get Chris Grant fired or applauded in 2 years.  Drummond has the size, athleticism, and defensive ability that will make the 18 year old playable right away.  He needs to develop his back to the basket game but with Kyrie Irving at point he could get 8 points a game easily on just Irving's penetration.  If Drummond realizes his potential you could be looking at the next Dwight Howard/Amar'e Stoudamire.  I think that alone is worth the risk, if he's there.

1. Anthony Davis- NO 2. Andre Drummond- CHA 3. Michael Kidd-Girlchrist- WAS

This would then come down to Barnes vs. Beal, and while I think that there is going to be a lot of stock put into their Saturday workout, I don't think that this is going to end up as the be all end all.  Beal is bigger than many thought, measuring out to 6'4" with shoes on (who cares what he measures without them on? Who is playing with out shoes on anyways?) so that problem can be put to rest. His wingspan is very long, stretching to 6'7". He rebounds very well for a guard and has shown play making ability as well.  He was touted as a shooter in the same breath as Ray Allen, but only shot 34% from deep.  That isn't a bad percentage but we were all expecting a little bit more from such a highly respected shooter. His mechanics are sound however, and hopefully that was just an aberration.  He can also get to rim at a successful rate and really showed his full array of offensive skills in the NCCAs where he shot 58.5% from the field.  Basically, this will come down to which of these two players, Barnes or Beal, will become more of an impact franchise type player.  Beal is going to be 19 on draft day while Barnes is already 20.  I really think that if this scenario plays out it will be a tough one for Christ Grant and company but I am still leaning towards the larger, more mature Barnes.  It will be easier to find a quality 2-guard at 24/33/34 than a scoring three, but that is just my opinion.