A report from Jimmy Smith, a writer for the Time-Picayune and NOLA.com, says that Maryland center Alex Len is likely the No. 1 pick for the Cavs come June 27. Smith has covered college basketball and NBA for the past 40 years.
It’s strange that a Pelicans beat writer is reporting about the Cavs selection a week and a half before the draft, but it’s not a report that you could consider unreliable. Smith has been close with the New Orleans franchise, which holds the No. 6 pick in the draft, and has been tracking the players who the Pelicans bring in for workouts. Len traveled to New Orleans last Friday to work out for the team, possibly when Smith spoke with Len or his agent. The Maryland center hasn’t been able to work out for teams; he his in a walking boot, recovering from surgery he had to stabilize a stress fracture in his left ankle.
This report looks like it could be an ideal smokescreen. The Cavs are open about the availability of the No. 1 pick and appear willing to deal. However, reports say the Cavs’ asking price is too high. With teams unwilling to meet the asking price, the Cavs are preparing to make the pick. The Cavaliers have leverage on teams with the No. 1 pick in the draft, along with the Nos. 19, 31 and 33 picks. They can use all of their selections, or they can package them in a trade. However, the No. 1 pick isn’t drawing much attention as it would other years because the talent isn’t great. The player who does possess the most talent and potential is injured, i.e. Nerlens Noel.
Chris Grant could be expressing interest in a certain player because he wants a team to package a deal for the No. 1 pick. With very few teams willing to trade up to the No. 1 pick, Grant is targeting a team who he may have had discussions with and generate a rumor involving Len. The Charlotte Bobcats may be a team who is interested in Len and might be willing to swap picks. The Bobcats are in need of a big man with scoring capabilities, and Len fits that description. Charlotte doesn’t have a lot of assets to package in a trade but may be willing to part ways with players on their roster to get the guy they want in the draft.
Cavs’ Biggest Need:
Small forward is the Cavs’ biggest need. They can find better value at the small forward position with their later picks: Reggie Bullock, Tony Mitchell, Glen Rice Jr., C.J. Leslie, Jamal Franklin, Tony Snell and DeShaun Thomas are all players who may be available for the Cavs with their late picks. They may not be as talented as some of the guys on top of the board, but they each have something unique about their playing style and could contribute to the Cavs right away.
Grant has been known as unpredictable when it comes to the draft. It doesn’t matter one name is on top of ESPN’s draft board, he goes after the guy he wants. You saw that with Tristan Thompson. He shocked everyone when he reached on Dion Waiters, then he traded everything he had left in the draft for Tyler Zeller. No matter what rumors or reports are out, Grant won’t let anyone know whom he selects until David Stern makes the announcement. Don’t believe any of the reports you hear, even if they are from a reliable source. The Cavs don’t give out information concerning the draft, that’s just the way it is. Grant will use every minute, from now until draft, fielding phone calls from other teams, working on a deal to get the Cavs back into the playoffs.