Wednesday, May 30

Cavs draft just another step in larger plan

The 2012 NBA draft order has been set and Cavalier message boards are on fire with the angst of losing the opportunity to steal the number one pick in the draft for the second year in a row. Anthony Davis, the consensus number one and franchise cornerstone, is likely headed to New Orleans and with him go the dreams of a dynamic point guard-center combo not seen in Cleveland since Price and Daugherty last took the court.

The disturbing reality is that there is a strong possibility that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal will also both be off the board as well by the time the Cavs select at number four. This leaves "2nd tier" prospects such as Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes, and Perry Jones III on the short list of players poised to don the wine and gold when they take the court next fall.

Of course, Beal or Kidd-Gilchrist could still be available if Washington or Charlotte chooses one of the aforementioned players. In the world of the NBA, nothing is certain except for uncertainty.

The safest play for any franchise, it seems, is to accrue multiple selections in the hopes that a late first-rounder or a second-rounder will turn into another Michael Redd (pre-injury) or Carlos Boozer. This is why the Cavaliers have positioned themselves with four overall picks in the draft.

The number four pick is going to be an NBA starter with all-star potential - let's get that out of the way. The above draft list is full of possibilities and the Cavs will be a better team with any one of these players on their roster than they are today. Chris Grant is going to make his money from pick numbers 24, 33, and 34 and the hope is that the Cavs manage to find another starter, role-player, or at worst, depth.

Lost in the excitement of the current deep draft is that the Cavs' blueprint for success is a marathon, not a sprint. Having four of the top 34 picks feels outrageous until you consider that they could have up to five picks, including three first-rounders, in the 2013 draft.

This, of course, is contingent on Sacramento improving to the point where they are no longer a lottery-bound afterthought. Even if Sacramento is not able to improve enough in 2013 to avoid the lottery, one of those first-round picks will move to the 2014 draft. Eventually, Sacramento has to find somebody who can play quality basketball to catapult this team out of perennial awfulness and into the playoffs. When that happens, the Cavs will receive their reward of the Kings' first round pick in the following summer's draft.

In 2014 the Cavs have their own first-round pick, their own 2nd-round pick, and the 2nd-round pick of the Orlando Magic.

In 2015 the Cavs have their own first-round pick, the first-round pick of the Heat, and their own 2nd-round pick.

Impatient fans want to win now, but a plan is securely in place for the Cavs, a team intent on continually building this team through the draft. The next three years are packed full of extra picks and there is still plenty of time to stockpile additional draft assets.

It would have been phenomenal to see Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis running the floor together, but the Cavs were not going to win the 2013 NBA Championship even with Davis. The payout comes from patience, youth, skill, time and assets. The Cavs are doing their part to provide all of the above.

The fans just need to be patient a little bit longer.

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