With the “underdogs” taking over the NCAA tournament, the elite teams with elite players are getting eliminated early, e.g – Otto Porter from Georgetown. However there are still talented players in the pool of 16 teams remaining. The obvious need for the Cavs is at small forward, so the good part of this list contains players who are capable of playing small forward. The Cavs could also use another big man, whether or not they sign Greg Oden in the offseason. The other part of this list contains big man who would fit the Cavs’ system well.
Victor Oladipo (Indiana University)– He has intrigued NBA scouts with his perimeter defense and has wowed fans with his leaping ability. He stands at 6 foot 5 inches and has a long wingspan, allowing him to get his hands in passing lanes resulting in a lot of turnovers. He is averaging over two steals in his 28.1 minutes per game. Oladipo has solidified himself as a top-10 pick this year. He plays small forward for the Hoosiers, but may have to transition to shooting guard. His 6-5 frame has me concerned that he will not be able to guard small forwards, opposite him in the central division: Luol Deng, Paul George, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Cody Zeller (Indiana University)– We have his brother, so why would we want him? Similar size, similar game; why waste the pick? Just like Tyler, Cody fits our system well. He can get up and down the court better than any big man on the court. Imagine having two seven-footers on the court racing your guards down the court to finish the fast break. Last year he was considered a top three pick, but with the emergence of some other players, he has dropped off, but remains in the top 10. I believe the Cavs have a few players ranked above him, but he is on the Cavs radar with the final 16 teams remaining.
Adreian Payne (Michigan State)– Payne has developed into a good offensive player in his third year with the Spartans. He is a mainly back to the basket sort of player, but this year he has added a consistent 10-foot jumper to his game. He has good size for a power forward and can move well for a big man. He has a seven-foot wingspan and is a good shot blocker. He likes to get to the basket, but teams are reluctant to foul him with him shooting 84 percent from the free-throw line. It will be a good matchup to watch between him and Louisville’s Chane Behanan.
Glenn Robinson III (University of Michigan)– Similar to Oladipo, this guy can jump out the gym. He appears to be NBA ready with the ability to get to the rim. He is still only a freshman, so he still has time to develop his game in college, but Chad Ford form ESPN.com has him ranked 16 on his Big Board. He has played well in the tournament, which has had him rise in the rankings. If the Lakers make the playoffs, GR3 will be going off the board right around that pick.
DeShaun Thomas (Ohio State) – He is Ohio State’s do it all guy. He brings versatility to OSU playing the three or four. He is the leading scorer in what could be the nation’s best conference, the Big Ten. He stands at 6’7, which is a little small for an NBA power forward, but he has good physical strength. His size and playing style reminds me of former Cavaliers’ power forward, Antawn Jamison. When he steps beyond the three-point line he has to be guarded, opening things up in the paint. But his size still concerns NBA scouts and think he will have to learn to play small forward. However, at either position, he will be successful solely based on his three-point shot.
C.J. Fair (Syracuse University)– Fair is a real reliable shooter, and when you need a bucket, he can give it to you. He isn’t the first offensive option in Syracuse offense, he may not even be the second, but when called upon he can provide his team the offense they need. He is shooting 49 percent from three-point range and is averaging 14.5 points per game. He does have problems creating his own shot and relies too much his defender sagging off of him, giving him an open shot.
James Southerland (Syracuse University)– This guy can fill it, but if you look at his stats it doesn’t appear that way. Southerland shoots 40 percent form three-point range for the season and averages 13.7 points per game. He is a streaky shooter, and when he’s on, he’s the best shooter in the country. He stands at 6’8 and plays power forward for Syracuse. I don’t think he is quick enough to play small forward but similar to Thomas, because he has a great three-point shot, I think a team will want him on their roster. I see him as a specialist in the NBA coming off the bench and stretching the floor.