If this were the NFL Draft, having two picks at the top of the second round on top of two first round picks would be seen as a blessing. If this were the NFL Draft, the fan base would be brimming with optimism, while the media would be saying that the Cavaliers would have an immediate chance to stockpile young talent in one draft. Alas, the NBA Draft is a totally different ball game.
In the NBA, the 33rd pick (like the 31st pick and to an extent the 19th) is a bit of a crapshoot. This is especially true in this year’s draft, where two unique circumstances exist. First off, there isn’t a large gap in talent from the end of the first round and the talent expected to go at the top of the second round. Secondly, it appears this crop of international talent (sans likely first rounder Giannis Adetokunbo) appear inclined to play in the NBA right away instead of spending time overseas. And, unless history breaks its trends, the 33rd overall pick won’t bring about a guaranteed immediate impact player or top international talent.
2010: Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
In his lone season at Marshall, Whiteside was the nation’s leading shot blocker and broke several records. However, that skill hasn’t garnered him any consistent minutes at the professional level. He spent a large portion of his rookie campaign in the D-League and, after tearing a tendon in his knee, only played in one game his rookie season. In the summer of 2012, he was waived by the Kings to make room for Aaron Brooks and has since split time between too D-League teams and the Amchit Club in Lebanon. As of now, it now appears that his NBA career is bleak at best.
2011: Kyle Singler, SF, Duke
Ideally, Singler would nab at this point in the draft. His 2012 PER of 10.02 is pretty awful, but a player who spent four years at a premier program like Duke deserves at least a shot in the NBA. He spent the lockout playing in Spain and led his first club in scoring. As a member of the Detroit Pistons, he hasn’t had a major impact but has averaged a respectable 8.8 points. A key for him moving forward will be improvement in his overall shooting percentage and from behind the arc.
2012: Bernard James, C, Florida State
James, who played 46 games as a rookie, has ideal size for an NBA center at 6’10” and 240 lbs. In 9.9 minutes per game, her averaged 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds. His PER of 14.74 is misleading considering he only played 46 games. And at 28, he’s the Brandon Weeden of NBA prospects. Instead of playing baseball, though, he was a Staff Sergeant and served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Ironically, James could have been a Cavalier if the Cavaliers would not have made the trade that netted them the 17th overall pick, which they used to select Tyler Zeller.
The 2013 Draft
The 33rd pick, the last of the four Cavalier draft picks, will likely come down to what needs the Cavaliers fill beforehand. If, as DraftExpress currently predicts, the Cavaliers take two centers and a wing, then they will likely go with a developmental point guard prospect. If they take a big, a wing and a point guard, then it’s likely they’ll take a developmental (or international) big man like Mike Muscala. Or, as was the case last year, the Cavaliers could trade this pick as part of a deal to move up or for an established player. The point is simply this: The Cavaliers have a lot of options with this pick, and it’s likely to be determined by what they do before this pick comes on the clock.