The dreams of 60 young men came true on Thursday night when the NBA held it’s annual NBA Draft. Like every other NBA draft, teams were scrutinized and praised for the picks they made or didn’t make. How did the Cavaliers fare in the 2009 NBA Draft?
Going into the offseason the Cavs were looking to acquire veteran players for the 2009 campaign and younger inexpeirenced players for the future. Cleveland kicked off draft day with a big bang by trading for All-Star center and former MVP, Shaquille O’Neal.
ROUND 1, PICK 30: Christain Eyenga, G/F, Congo.
PICK GRADE: C+
What I like: I love that the Cavs used this pick to save money and prepare for the future. By drafting Eyenga the Cavs have acquired his rights which allows Eyenga to continue to play in Europe and mature while the Cavaliers do not have to sign him to a contract. I also like that the Cavaliers choose a hybrid player who can play two positions. Eyenga’s athleticism and physique allow him to play both the 2-guard and forward position. Eyenga’s wingspan and strong body makes him an ideal defender. On the offensive side of the ball Eyenga has a decent perimeter jumper that will improve with time.
What I don’t like: I don’t like the fact of reaching for Eyenga. Many mock drafts had Eyenga as a mid to late 2nd rounder. I believe there were many other options the Cavs could’ve taken. They reached for Eyenga when players such as DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, and Chase Budinger were still still on the board. Eyenga is still very raw and lacks the efficient basketball IQ. He should also look to improve his ball handling and his finishing ability. Overall, Eyenga is a huge risk with the 30th overall pick.
ROUND 2, PICK 46: Danny Green, F, North Carolina.
PICK GRADE: A-
What I like love: I am absolutely loving this pick. This was a great steal for the Cavs, it’s almost like Lebron picked this one off himself. Danny was said to be be a late first to early second rounder. Green is extremely versatile and can play both ends for the court. Green is a good decision maker and very intelligent. His all-around defense and shot blocking ability is what sold Green to the Cavs. His ability to contest shots and athleticism makes him an ideal defender on the perimeter. Greens offense could also prove to be very valuable. Danny has fundamently sound shooting mechanics with 3 point range which will only improve with time.
What I don’t like: I have to be honest, there isn’t very much I don’t like about Danny Green. I would like to see Green improve his ability to finish with contact along with improving his ball handling skills. For Green to be effective in this league he’ll need to be able to create his own shot and get to the free throw line. Green is plenty capable of hitting from the line, as long as he can get to it.
ROUND 2 PICK 57 (via PHX): Emir Preldzic, F, Slovenia.
PICK GRADE: C
What I like: I like that Cleveland paid $500,000 for Preldzic. He’s a smart player with good fundamentals. Preldzic is great in
transition and loves to create opportunities for his teammates. He has good size for his position and has the ability to get into the passing lane.
What I don’t like: Preldzic is a terribly inconsistent shooter and lacks the ability to finish around the basket. He lacks the strength and lateral quickness to defend at the NBA level. I don’t see much upside for Preldzic and he may be better off in Europe rather than playing in the states.
OVERALL DRAFT GRADE: A-
Trading for Shaquille O’Neal was what made this draft as sucessful as it was. The Cavs addressed the need for a strong, over-powering center who can defend against Dwight Howard while producing on the offensive side of the ball. I also liked that the Cavs ad
dressed the need for a quick perimeter defender who can also hit from the floor by drafting Danny Green. It’s hard to tell exactly what the future holds for Eyenga and Preldzic, only time will tell if these young men will develope into productive NBA players.