On Thursday night, Right Down Euclid writers Zak Kolesar, Chris Manning and Kevin Stankiewicz traveled down to Quicken Loans Arena to attend the 2013 Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Draft Party. After attending the event last year and hearing the boos after Dion Waiters name was called No. 4 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, the trio of Right Down Euclid writers are ready to give their reactions to how the Q reacted and how they felt being downtown in Cleveland and hearing Anthony Bennett’s name being called No. 1, seeing Sergey Karasev fall down the draft board to the Cavs at No. 19 and the addition of a great defensive asset in Carrick Felix.
Site Editor – Zak Kolesar:
After walking into Quicken Loans Arena to news that the Cavaliers were going to take Nerlens Noel No. 1 overall, I reacted no different than I had done all day prior going over scenarios that I thought were likely in my head. It could have been Otto Porter; a player that fills the No. 1 positional need for the Cavaliers at the moment. It could have been either one of the bigs: Alex Len or Noel. It could have been Victor Oladipo; a favorite of owner Dan Gilbert and a nightmare on defense that has seen his ceiling climb incredibly high from his freshman season at Indiana. But, even though the Cavaliers met with Bennett before the draft like they did with all the other players they were interested in, I never thought that it would actually happen that the Wine and Gold would choose a power forward with the No. 1 overall pick. Granted he is a stretch forward, Grant seems to be adamant on calling him a PF, and Mike Brown wants him and Tristan Thompson to compete for minutes throughout the season. When Kevin told me just before Chad Ford of ESPN dropped the bomb seconds before Cleveland was going to draft that Bennett would be the “Cleveland” pick to make, I uneasily chuckled.
I’m content with this pick, however. Bennett is a player with tremendous upside and a great offensive weapon for Kyrie Irving to work with. The concerns and problems that Thompson had with footwork coming into the league won’t be one for Bennett, allowing him to adjust to the level of play more comfortably than his Canadian counterpart did. He will be tough for other teams to contain because of his huge build, which will be a great asset to have coming off the bench at first. Most fans at the Q thought the same way as well and seemed excited and confident in Cleveland’s decision to turn some heads by selecting Bennett. I settled down after talking to some other fans, who shared fairly positive reactions to the pick. Taking Karasev at no 19, which had those at the Q cheering louder than when Bennett was chosen. We needed to address the need of a true SF, and even though he won’t be joining us for Summer League, it’ll be good to see him ready to come over the Land and get started in the NBA right away at the ripe age of 19.
Senior Writer – Chris Manning:
It’s been about 15 hours since the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett and I’m still in shock. The farther we’ve gotten away from the draft, the less the pick makes sense to me for the Mike Brown-era Cavaliers. He doesn’t have a natural fit on this roster, and there’s a realistic chance that he is a niche bench player for the Cavaliers moving forward – especially since Grant has already dubbed him a power forward. It’s hard for me to justify that pick considering the simple fact that the Cavaliers had the option to select anyone they wanted in this year’s draft. From a positional standpoint, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len and Otto Porter all were better fits for the Cavaliers than Bennett. And remember this: Brown is a defensive-first coach, and even a player that is the top pick is going to struggle to gain traction in his rotation without playing defense. Basically, when Bill Simmons simply said, “Wow” after the Cavaliers selected Bennett perfectly sums up my thoughts.
There is one thing that Bennett brings to table that I do really like: He fits in really well alongside Kyrie Irving. His best skill is in the PnR, and that just so happens where Kyrie is at his best when not in isolation in crunch time. He’ll be able to pick and pop, stretching the floor out inside for countrymen Tristan Thompson or Anderson Varejao to clean up on the boards. But even there – especially if Thompson is playing center – the Cavaliers will be giving size to teams like Chicago and Indiana in their own division.
Future Writer – Kevin Stankiewicz:
Based on the previous two drafts under GM Chris Grant, Cavalier fans knew to expect the unexpected. This year proved to be no different. When David Stern announced that Anthony Bennett, the forward from UNLV, would be the Cavaliers’ selection, Quicken Loans Arena was a melting pot of emotions. The crowd appeared to be split opinion wise. The reaction was definitely more positive than last year when it was announced that they were selecting Syracuse sixth man, Dion Waiters. Since there was truly no clear-cut No. 1 pick, I think that was a reason for the fans being more receptive of the Bennett selection. To most fans, the pick still came from left field, but it was not like the Cavaliers passed on a player who was a consensus No. 1 pick. Fans that I talked to at the Q maintained a positive outlook on the pick and continue to place their trust in Chris Grant and the rest of the Cavaliers front office.