Even before they took the floor on Tuesday night at the TD Garden to face the Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals the Cavaliers had already suffered a brutal defeat. Predictable, but brutal nonetheless.
The Draft lottery – which took place 1000 miles west in Chicago prior to tip off – did not go in the Cavaliers’ favor and the Brooklyn pick the Cavs received from the Celtics as part of a package for Kyrie Irving ended up 8th overall. That was the most likely scenario but one Cleveland was hoping to avoid.
One can question the wisdom of trading Kyrie at all. LeBron James and Tyronn Lue have, both feeling the Cavaliers didn’t get enough in return for a top 10 NBA player. Hard to argue against them.
The final tally for Kyrie ended up being Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic a future second rounder and this pick. Thomas and Crowder both washed out and were shipped at the deadline for other ill fitting pieces. Zizic is a project at best.
The centerpiece of the trade for Cleveland was the pick, which they were hoping would land somewhere in the top 3 when they made the deal. Whoops.
Of course good players can be found at this spot in the draft and lower (Donovan Mitchell 13th, Giannis Antentokoumpo & Kahwi Leonard 15th.) But history is not on Cleveland’s side if they were hoping this pick would quickly turn into a bonafide star to pair with LeBron.
Here’s a list of the last 10 players picked at the number 8 spot.
- 2017 Frank Ntilikina, France – New York Knicks
- 2016 Marquese Chriss, Washington – Sacramento Kings
- 2015 Stanley Johnson, Arizona – Detroit Pistons
- 2014 Nik Stauskas, Michigan – Sacramento Kings
- 2013 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia – Detroit Pistons
- 2012 Terrence Ross, Washington – Toronto Raptors
- 2011 Brandon Knight, Kentucky – Detroit Pistons
- 2010 Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest – L.A. Clippers
- 2009 Jordan Hill, Arizona – New York Knicks’
- 2008 Joe Alexander, West Virginia – Milwaukee Bucks
I mean, not a lot of world beaters in this group. Definitely no Robins to LeBron’s Batman. In fact the last All-Star player to be taken 8th overall in the draft was Vin Baker in 1993.
Plan B would have been to use the pick as part of a package to trade for a disgruntled Alpha like Kawhi Leonard, John Wall or Damian Lillard. But the Cavs simply don’t have the picks nor the young controllable up and comers on their roster to do that.
And now the Cavs find themselves 2 losses from being bounced from the Playoffs and a roster that clearly is not enticing enough to keep LeBron 2.0 around long term.
You can’t win every deal, but it’s rare when you lose one this badly this quickly. And that’s what seems to be the case here.
Trader Danny strikes again.
Column was prepare by John Zannis for CLNS Media & CelticsBlog