Cleveland Cavaliers 2014 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0


Mar 16, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jabari Parker (1) walks off after the game. The Cavilers defeated the Blue Devils 72-63 in the championship game of the ACC college basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: This is not the official draft board of RDE’s Chris Manning or Trevor Magnotti. As you can tell, there are some notable differences when you compare this big board to those of, ESPN or other websites. This draft board reflects how Manning and Magnotti would rank the 2014 NBA Draft Class if they were the GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers and creating a draft board based on the following criteria: Skill level, positional need for the Cavaliers and upside. If you want to sound off, please do in the comments below or tweet Manning @cwmwrites or Magnotti @Tmagnotti.  In this edition, Manning and Magnotti each give cases for and against each prospect. View version 1.0 here.

1. Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas

For: What’s not to like with Wiggins? He has the most potential of anyone in the draft, on both ends. Offensively, he can score from the perimeter, in transition, and everywhere inside the paint, even though his scoring touch isn’t fully developed yet. Defensively, he’s long, quick, and could potentially guard four positions, and he’s smart enough to adapt to NBA defense quickly. He’s the NBA version of a five-tool prospect, though more comparable to an Andrew McCutchen than a Mike Trout. – Trevor Magnotti

Against: There isn’t one. Seriously. Wiggins is a really perfect fit for the Cavaliers on both ends and doesn’t clash style wise with Kyrie Irving or Dion Waiters style wise. He wouldn’t be asked to do much right away and grow into his enormous potential with Kyrie on the roster. Defensively, he also give the Cavaliers the lock-down wing defender the team has needed ever since LeBron want to Miami. – Chris Manning

2. Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

TM: You have to love a center that can stroke it from midrange, pass the ball consistently, and crash the offensive glass. Embiid has the potential to be an excellent defensive center as well, and for the Cavs, he could be the long-term solution at the center position. Embiid could start out as a Varejao protege if he comes back for the next one-to-three years, and eventually take over as a dominant force inside that the Cavs haven’t had since Brad Daugherty’s prime. – TM

Against: The last time the Cavaliers had a center with injury problems, it worked out alright. Still, I would feel pretty confident in saying any GM or coach would much rather have a player with a clean bill of health, especially before that player can even legally drink alcohol in the United States. His back problems are a serious cause for concern not just now, but for the next decade. He’s definitely a prospect with a lot of upside, but it’s plausible that his career will be hampered from the start. And the last thing the Cavaliers need right now if a question mark in the center of the already slowed rebuilding plans. – CM

3. Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke

For: Parker wouldn’t be the best fit out of the top-three prospects. But if the Cavaliers want a player who can step in as a ideal running mate for Kyrie Irving on day one, Parker is the guy. He’s definitely a tweener, but the Cavaliers could choose to embrace that and actually get creative with its lineups. With Parker, it’s take him for his scoring ability and figure out the rest later. – CM

Against: For a team that was really inexperienced and lackluster defensively this past season, Parker sounds like a horrible option. His defensive ability and effort just isn’t there, and while yes, he could be a good scorer, he’d another ball-dominant guy on a team already full of them. It’s also very questionable whether he’s a small forward or power forward, and although he will probably play both, he’d be in a minutes logjam with Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett to an extent. For these reasons, Parker is a less optimal option than the two Jayhawks. – TM

4. Noah Vonleh, PF/C, Indiana

For: Depending on where the Cavaliers pick, Vonleh could be the perfect fit for the Cavs. The closer we get to the draft, the more he projects as a shot-blocking center. The Chris Bosh comparisons aren’t exactly fair because A) Bosh is really, really good and B) Vonleh’s footwork is light years behind Bosh’s down low. Defensively, he’s further ahead than Bosh when he came into the league and, if he became a Cavalier, he’d be come in right away and fill a need in the middle. There would be growing pains, sure, but having Vonleh is anchor the Cavaliers defense while having the necessary playmakers to let him develop offensively is huge a plus for him as a prospect. –  CM

Against: Not only is Vonleh’s footwork subpar, but he’s really not athletic enough to be a true rim protector. He’s probably a below-the-rim player at the next level, and it’s questionable whether his quickness is enough to actually be effective as a potential stretch-five. Vonleh somewhat screams Anderson Varejao 2.0 to me, and we’ve already seen that that’s not ideal for the Cavs’ needs. – TM

5. Dante Exum, G, International

For: Forget that Irving and Jarrett Jack are already on the roster. Exum fills every need the Cavs have in their backcourt. He can distribute, is incredibly bright and a playmaker. He can also defend anyone on the perimeter. His shooting isn’t there yet, but he can work on that; the bottom line is that Exum could realistically play with any guard on the roster, and could make three-guard lineups not only functional, but fun. – TM

Against: The Cavaliers need another young guard like the New York Knicks need Andrea Bargnani on its roster. There is a lot to like about Exum, but juggling minutes for Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack and Exum is a lot to ask of any coach, much less Mike Brown. He might make them better, but considering the personnel and coach in place, it’s hard to see how the Cavaliers would get the most out of Exum with so many other glaring needs. – CM

6. Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

For: Randle may play power forward, but he’s not anything like Tristan Thompson or Anthony Bennett. If the Cavaliers do pick ninth and Randle falls to that spot, Cleveland has to take him. By taking Randle, the Cavaliers would get the low-post complement to Irving and can then move Thompson into his ideal role as an energy big off the bench. You can then either experiment again with Bennett at the three or try and move him. It wouldn’t be pretty, but Randle at the right spot, would be a good pick for the Cavs. – CM

Against: I like Randle as a prospect, but fit-wise, he doesn’t make the most sense. You’d have to move Bennett or Thompson if you took him, and that’s a gamble I’d rather not take. My major complaint with Randle is that he relied a lot on his strength at Kentucky, and I’m not sure he’s going to be able to do that in the pros. It might take him a couple years to get to a spot where he’d be reaching his potential, and that’s not a chance the Cavs can really afford. – TM

7. Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

For: Ties to Michigan State interests aside, Harris might be one of my favorite prospects in the draft. He can shoot from outside consistently, attack the basket off the dribble or on off-ball cuts, and he looks like a very strong defensive player. Immediately, he’s a backup for Dion Waiters and a versatile piece for the Cavs to throw into smaller lineups. Three years from now, I think he’s going to be better than Dion. And I love Dion. – TM

Against: Harris, like Exum, would require the Cavaliers to get creative in managing the backcourt. He does have a different skill set and projects as a better defender, but it’s hard to justify taking another guard in the lottery, especially if he is being drafted to be a role player. The Cavaliers could get more out its pick and find a better for the team than Harris, plain and simple. – CM

8. Clint Capela, F/C, Switzerland

TM: Rim protectors are at a premium this year, and the Cavs certainly need one. Capela’s the best prospect in the draft for this, and he’s also automatic finishing at the rim, something that the Cavs could really use as well. He’s a little slight at this point, but can certainly add bulk, and is one heck of an athlete. Capela is my favorite international prospect, and is one that definitely would be a great option for the Cavs, even if it’d be a bit of a reach with the ninth pick. – TM

Against: At around 220 pounds, Capela looks to be more of a power forward than a center. He shows glimpses of being a shot blocker in the NBA, but can he do it from the center position? And unlike Randle, Capela isn’t ever going to be a force down low offensively. To me, that seems like you’d again be asking the Cavaliers balance a lot players at one spot than really makes sense. – CM

9. Doug McDermott, F, Creighton

For: McDermott could very well be the shooter the Cavaliers are looking for. He doesn’t project as anything out of the ordinary, but we know two things about what he’ll do well in the NBA: Shoot and play smart basketball. Those are two characteristics the Cavs’ are lacking in. At nine, depending on how the other picks unfold, McDermott would be a good value while also filling an need on the wing. – CM

Against: For everything McDermott can do for the Cavs offensively, he kills them equally defensively. He’s not laterally quick, he can’t really jump, and he’s probably not tall or strong enough to battle with opposing post players for boards at the next level. He also is another 3/4 hybrid, and I’m not sure he and Bennett could coexist, and if the Cavs would survive that pairing playing together without a rim protector behind them. – TM

10. Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

For: Nurkic is a great pick-and-roll finisher and potential rim protector. Unlike Capela, he has great size at 7 feet, 260 pounds, and he can also score in more ways than just at the rim. He’s got a little bit of an attitude issue, but Nurkic is potentially a solid two-way center, which would help the Cavs. – TM

Against: Nurkic benefits greatly from Willie Cauley-Stein’s decision to return to school. He’s now the lone player after Embiid that projects as a legit center, but there are some flaws in his game. He’s slow, is incredibly raw with his skills and has been getting by on instinct alone at this point in his development. The Cavaliers need someone right now who can come in and man the center spot. Nurkic is not that guy. – CM

11. Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

For: Hood, as I’ve said and written numerous times, is one of the best fits for the Cavs in this draft. He is a very good shooter, projects to have a low usage rate in the NBA and can also post up when asked to.He does have some issues with ball handling, but he can develop that slowly since the Cavaliers are loaded with ball handlers right now. With the assumption that he becomes serviceable on defense, Hood is a perfect for Cleveland as a 3-point shooting wing who can let the Cavaliers create lineups that actually mesh. – CM

Against: When Rodney Hood crosses the half-court line after every Cavs possession, just avert your eyes. He’s a sieve defensively, and has effort, positioning, and athleticism issues. I’m also not sold he’s a small forward, as he struggles going against length, and definitely can’t defend someone like Luol Deng or Chandler Parsons. He’s a perfect fit on offense, sure; but there are big reasons why he’s rated as a late-teens or early-20s pick by many. – TM

12. Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan

For: Stauskas is an automatic perimeter scorer. He can shoot from three consistently, but that’s not all; he’s also excellent at attacking off the dribble, pulling up off pick and roll looks, and distributing off the PNR. He’d be another ball-handler and scorer for the Cavs to work with offensively, and would really do well spacing the floor. – TM

Against:  Stauskas definitely provides scoring and shooting, but how does he fit with the Cavaliers? He is at his best when handling the ball and the last thing the Cavaliers need is another player who is most comfortable playing with the ball its his hands. It would take some juggling to make it work offensively and Stauskas isn’t exactly a lockdown defender either. – CM

13. Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona

For: I’ve got nothing that supports Aaron Gordon taking his talents to the shores of Lake Erie.. The only way I see the Cavs taking Gordon is if he is the best player available and the Cavs feel forced to pick him. If the Cavaliers took him and planned to keep him, I’d already be second guessing whomever the GM is. – CM

Against: Gordon’s an undersized power forward who can’t shoot free throws and is a complete project on the offensive end. The Cavs kind of already have two of those. Even if he’s slipping down the board, Gordon makes no sense for the Cavs, fit-wise. – TM

14. K.J. McDaniels, F, Clemson

For: K.J. McDaniels is my pet favorite for the Cavaliers. If they were picking 15th or 16th, they’d be in perfect position to draft a guy who can play both perimeter spots with ease. He’s a devastating transition force, which would be very fun for the Cavs to play with, and he can defend four positions, potentially. He can even shoot the three-ball at a reasonable rate. I love McDaniels and if the Cavs trade down to get him, I might explode from joy. – TM

Against: McDaniels definitely has the right skillset to mesh with the Cavs’ as currently constructed. At Clemson, he was the leading scorer and only playmaker. In Cleveland, he’ll be required to take a step back and defer to players who, quite frankly, are better than him. How does he handle that adjustment? – CM

15. Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA

For: I like Anderson a lot if the Cavaliers were to trade back. He is a fairly good shooter and could give the Cavaliers some fun lineup possibilities. He also can handle the ball in space and, if the Cavaliers decided to embrace its personal and run more, he would become a useful player right away. – CM

Against: Anderson’s not very athletic, and probably doesn’t have a high ceiling. His shooting from outside is a bit inconsistent too, and he needs the ball to be effective, just like everyone else the Cavs have on the perimeter. He’d be intriguing, but there’s better players available. – TM

16. Dario Saric, F, Croatia

For: If Saric is indeed what the scouts project him to be, he’s the second coming of Detlef Schrempf, a 6’9” swing forward who can shoot daggers from midrange, distribute, defend, and finish in transition. A 6’9” guy who can play three positions seems like something that would be useful for the Cavs. It’s just a shame that he might not come over immediately. – TM

Against: Saric plays power forward. In two out of the past three NBA Drafts, the Cleveland Cavaliers have spent a first round pick on a power forward. His skill set is different, but there are bigger holes to fill right now. In a different situation, Saric would be a nice fit. But this isn’t that situation. – CM

17. Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State

CM: Let’s say the Cavaliers do pick at nine. At that point, if he’s still on the board, Smart might be too much of a value to pass up. He’s a gunner, but the Cavaliers can bring him along slowly and, once Jarrett Jack is no longer a Cavalier, Smart can assume the role of a third guard. If Cleveland decided against this scenario, the Cavaliers could trade Smart and likely get something valuable in return. – CM

Against: Smart’s an inefficient gunner, for one. He likes to shoot, and he’s not very good at it. Smart also doesn’t really have a lot of size at just 6’4”. If the Cavs took him, it would throw a huge logjam into the backcourt, because Smart is basically a combination of things Kyrie and Dion do well. Just call him Kyrion Waiting, and move on. – TM

18. T.J. Warren, F, N.C. State

For: Warren, if the Cavaliers traded back, would be a decent fit. He can score, defend and has decent size. With the Cavaliers already having a good amount of backcourt scoring, the Cavaliers can attempt to use Warren in a Reggie Bullock=lite role in his rookie year. There could be a lot worse picks than Warren for Cleveland. – CM

Against: Warren’s weird in that he’s a scorer, but doesn’t really score in any ways that the Cavs need scoring. His outside shooting is a bit streaky, and his scoring at the rim could be better. Also Warren, like McDermott, doesn’t really have a position he could defend well. – TM

19. James Young, G/F , Kentucky

For: He can shoot threes well, and he’s got a lot of defensive potential. He can play both wing spots, and if his consistency improves, he’s going to be a great role player at the next level. Even if he’s a bit of a chemistry question, he fills needs for Cleveland. – TM

Against: Can you imagine Dion Waiters and James Young sharing the court? Can you imagine those two trying to balance each other out and coexist in an efficient, productive manner? In my mind, it’s the closest thing the Cavaliers could get to having J.R. Smith and Waiters on the court at the same time playing for the same team. There is some serious potential for these two to not coexist at all. This doesn’t even mention Kyrie Irving, who may or may not be able to work with Waiters on the floor.

Seriously though: Can you imagine Smith and Waiters playing on the same team? Allllllll the heat checks. – CM

20. Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

For: In Cleveland, Ennis would be what Jarrett Jack was supposed to be and what Matthew Dellavedova kind of was. He is a pass-first guard that could actually let Kyrie Irving look comfortable off the ball instead of uncomfortable most of the time. His shooting struggles can be hidden in the right lineups and it would give the Cavaliers a real future backcourt to build upon. The only problem is that Ennis to a team like Cleveland is a luxury pick. As of now, the Cavaliers can’t take luxury picks. – CM

Against: He’s a pure passer, sure, but he’s really unathletic, and his shooting is very inconsistent. The big problem, though, is his defense. He’s good off the ball, but on the ball, he can’t defend anything. Coming from the Cuse zone, he’s going to take a while if he’s ever a strong defender. Also, as a closet Timberwolves fan, every time I hear “Syracuse Point Guard,” everything goes black and I just see flashes of Jonny Flynn turning the ball over out of a pick-and-roll. I never want to go to that place again. – TM