Welcome to the forty-first installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Jerry Bulone and Chris Manning sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. The combination of rotating RDE duos answer three questions regarding the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today the discussion revolves around Chris Grant’s tough decision, players that the Cavaliers have interviewed, a playoff team’s model that Cleveland should follow, Russell Westbrook’s absence and team that poses the biggest threat to the Miami Heat.
First Question: If you were Chris Grant, who would you pick at No. 1?
Jerry Bulone: I think Nerlens Noel and Otto Porter would be the obvious 1, 2 pick, and I really hope Cleveland gets one of these two players when it is all said and done. If I was forced to look at other players, I guess I would have to go with Ben McLemore. He is just too talented, even though it seems this would render Waiters obsolete, and I am not ready to do that with Dion yet.
Chris Manning: At one, it’s impossible to pass up Nerlens Noel. With his shot blocking ability and potential to a defense force, he has to be the top overall selection. Next, I would say Otto Porter is the most obvious draft selection for the Cavaliers since Kyrie Irving. He’s not going to be an elite player, but he fits in perfectly with his potpourri of skills at small forward. He’s the one player in this draft that fits the Cavaliers perfectly.
Second Question: The Cavaliers interviewed Ben McLemore and C.J. McCollum already. Do you like either of these two players as a fit for the Cavaliers?
JB: Neither. I think the Cavs are just sending smoke screens. They would be crazy to ditch Waiters after just one season. He was plagued by injuries and is only 21. Now, if one of these players is the best available at No. 1, then I am fine with that, but to target one of these two just seems like a one-year reset button to me, and I don’t want that at all.
CM: I disagree with Jerry here. Either player, if the Cavs don’t want Noel or Porter, could become a sixth man for this team and provide offense off the bench. I’d prefer McCollum due to his wider variety of skills, but both could provide a service to this team. The same could also be said for Shabazz Muhammed, Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke.
Third Question: Which team that is currently still in the playoffs would you like to see the Cavaliers model after?
JB: The Miami Heat!! Just kidding (but they are the best). I would have to go with Memphis. Great point guard play, tough aggressive defense and a great frontcourt. San Antonio would be nice as well, but all-time great power forwards do not grow on trees, and Coach Brown is no Popovich, thus this would never be a possibility.
CM: I recently wrote a piece about why Cavalier fans should look West to the Clippers for guidance – seriously, but I agree with Jerry here. Memphis is a small market team that built itself into a real contender without a superstar. They play strong defense, rebound and play as a team. They also made strong personal decisions when signing Tony Allen and trading away Rudy Gay. There really are a lot of similarities between the Grizzlies from 2010 and the Cavaliers today.
Fourth Question: Did you think that the Oklahoma City Thunder could have pulled off the series victory with Russell Westbrook?
JB: The answer is no. I am not a huge fan of “Westbrick.” I think he is basically a shooting guard that plays point guard. You have the best offensive player in the league next to you and you can only muster 5.5 assist per night last year —really?? He shoots way too much. That being said, I did notice in that series that having no Westbrook did make Kevin Durant’s life a little tougher and he seemed to force a few ill-advised shots. I still think Mike Conley would have done a good enough job defensively on Westbrook to frustrate him into his usual antics. Let’s not forget this series was not even close — it should have been a sweep.
CM: No. Memphis was going to own the Thunder on the inside, and they simply are better equipped than OKC for a long run. They are built in way that nullifies all of Oklahoma City’s role players, and that wouldn’t have changed with Westbrook out there. Would he have helped? Absolutely. But I really am starting to feel that, right now, the Grizzlies are the best team out West.
Fifth Question: Which team left in the playoffs poses the biggest threat to the Heat?
JB: The Grizz. Make no mistake, no one beats the Heat this year. However, the Grizz are going to give the villains of Miami a much tougher time then anyone ever thought. Conley will do a good job on a 50-percent Wade, and the Gasol/Randolph combo will give Miami fits on both sides of the floor. But in the end, the Grizz traded away their whole bench and an all-star small forward, and the Heat have LeBron.
CM: Memphis. Tayshaun Prince and Tony Allen are going to make LeBron and Dwayne Wade work to score for 48 minutes a night. Gasol, Zach Randolph and the other bigs could dominate Miami’s, and Mike Conley should have an advantage over Mario Chalmers. Also, we’ve seen Memphis defend small ball well in the OKC series, so LeBron at the four shouldn’t be a series altering issue. I still favor Miami, but Memphis is going to make them work for it when (Memphis in 6 over the Spurs, FYI) they meet.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Jerry Bulone and Dan Pilar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”