Welcome to the forty-second installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Trevor Magnotti and Dan Pilar sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. The combination of rotating RDE duos answer three questions regarding the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today the discussion revolves around drafting Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, Cleveland’s possibilities at the 19th pick, the player who loses the most by the Cavaliers receiving the first pick, LeBron James versus Paul George and role players in the Memphis-San Antonio series.
First Question: Make your case: Why or why not is it a good idea for the Cavaliers to draft Nerlens?
Trevor Magnotti: It’s a great idea for the Cavs to draft Nerlens Noel. The Cavs need someone who can protect the rim, which will improve the defense while the rest of the team matures defensively. He also will create an outstanding pick-and-roll tandem with Kyrie Irving, who he compliments perfectly in that regard. I honestly believe Noel is destined to be an eventual Defensive Player of the Year because he does so many things well on that end already, and he’s only 19. Add in the fact that he’s better suited as a complimentary player than an alpha dog, and he works perfectly within the hierarchy of the Cavs’ chemistry. I’m sold on drafting Noel first overall.
Dan Pilar: Just because he’s a great shot blocker doesn’t automatically mean he’s going to be a great defensive player. He weighed in at 205 pounds at the combine, 10 pounds less than what Dion Waiters weighs. He’s going to get dominated down low at that weight. And I know at this point you’re thinking to yourself, “Well, he can work on that.” Well, he also has other things to work on, like an offensive post game and free throw shooting. These are a lot of things a guy has to work on while coming back from an ACL surgery. If you want him because of his shot blocking ability, then that’s foolish. You can pick up a shot blocker with the No.19 selection. You can laugh at this, but Jeff Withey was just as good of a shot blocker as Noel was last year – the stats will show you that. If we draft Noel then that means we have another injury-prone player to go along with Kyrie and Varejao. This team can’t afford to draft an injured player.
Second Question: With finding out that Cleveland received the No. 1 pick, what do you think they should do at 19?
TM: My ideal draft pick at No. 19 is Dennis Schroeder, the German point guard I profiled on Monday. Schroeder is an excellent defensive guard, and if paired with Kyrie Irving, who he compliments quite well, I think the two would have a “Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe” type relationship. Unfortunately, I think with Dallas, Utah and Milwaukee all needing point guards, he won’t drop past the 15th pick. Therefore, I think drafting Sergey Karasev would be a good decision. Karasev is an outstanding product out of Russia, who I will be profiling this upcoming week, and he’s as good a choice as any to hopefully develop into our future starting small forward.
DP: Schroeder would be a good pick, but I believe this team has other needs. Schroeder has good size and athleticism, but I don’t know how much of an upgrade he would be. Livingston is currently not under contract, and if we do sign him, then there is no need for Schroeder. The editor of RDE has gotten me on the Tony Mitchell bandwagon. He tested well at the combine, and he already has NBA size. He can play the three or four, but I think he would be best at the three. The downside of Mitchell is that his production went down his senior year with a coaching change, and he didn’t play up against elite talent when he was at North Texas. But I believe this guy can be one of Mike Brown’s favorite players with his ability to guard.
Third Question: Which player currently on the roster loses the most by the Wine and Gold picking first?
TM: I think Anderson Varejao does. Varejao has been involved in a lot of trade rumors over the last few days, and it seems to be a consensus that with Noel on board, once Varejao’s contract is up, he will not be returning. While I think Varejao’s talent is immense, the fact that he’s missed over 150 games to injury in the past three seasons is a good enough reason for me to think that this is justified. I thinkthe idea of having Varejao on the roster to mentor Noel and Zeller is an excellent one; however, I think that if a trade can be manufactured with Varejao involved that can deliver us an All-Star, I would have absolutely zero problems with this.
DP: Well that obviously matters who we pick at No. 3, but I’m going to go with Gee losing the most. Whether we take a small forward with our top selection or not, we are definitely going to draft one with our later picks or sign one in free agency. I don’t think Gee is a bad player, I just think he plays a better role coming off the bench. In one way or another, Gee is going to be losing minutes once the season begins.
Fourth Question: Who will come up bigger in the Heat-Pacers series: LeBron James or Paul George?
TM: After last night, this is an infinitely more difficult call. George had the game of his life last night, putting up a buzzer-beater for the ages to send it to overtime, and proving he was the best player the Pacers had with his outstanding performance. However, only one of these players is a four-time MVP. Only one of these players made two clutch drives to the basket at the end of the game to win it. And only one of these players is consistent enough for me to believe that his performance will continue for the rest of the series. Give me LeBron, every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
DP: How can you go against the best player in the NBA? It hurts me to say it, but it’s true. These two are obviously the stars of their teams and will go at it all series long like they did Wednesday night. But like he did in Game One, the better player will come out victorious. George is still an up-and-coming super star in the league and needs to take his bumps and bruises before he shines. He will definitely get bruised this series.
Fifth Question: Which role players will be more triumphant in the Memphis-San Antonio series?
TM: I have a lot more confidence in San Antonio’s bench than I do in Memphis’s. Jerryd Bayless and Darrell Arthur are extremely erratic at best, and while Quincy Pondexter has been one of the best bench players in the playoffs, he alone isn’t enough for me to believe that San Antonio’s combination of Boris Diaw, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner and Manu Ginobili will not have a more significant impact. Bonner in particular has been impressive, and Gary Neal is one of the biggest wild cards in the playoffs, always simultaneously ice cold and red hot like Schroedinger’s cat. Plus, with the way Lionel Hollins manages his bench, I can’t see Memphis having a consistent enough contribution from the bench to really make a difference against San Antonio’s.
DP: Well, Manu Ginobili always has success coming off the bench, but I think Memphis is going to rely on their role players the most to win this series. And I believe it starts with their backup point guard, Bayless. He has the ability to get really hot and can take over a game coming off the bench. Opposed to Trevor, I have a lot of confidence in the Grizzlies’ bench. It has gotten them this far; I believe it will get them further.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Trevor Magnotti and Zak Kolesar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”