Welcome to the forty-eighth 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 reflecting on the 2013 draft class, signing Earl Clark, future free agent signings, favorite offseason moves and Andrew Bynum’s likely destination.
First Question: After having a week to digest the Cavs’ 2013 draft class, what are your thoughts on how the Wine and Gold did?
Trevor Magnotti: Let’s start with the raw facts: The Cavaliers got the draft’s best scoring forward, best shooter, it’s second or third best perimeter defender and two future second-round picks. That sounds good, right? While Bennett and Felix may not have necessarily been the best players the Cavs could have gotten at those spots (if I were the GM, I would have grabbed Nerlens Noel at No. 1 and Jamaal Franklin at No. 33), they’re definitely a good crop of players. I’m still wondering at how Bennett will fit into the offense, what Karasev’s position is and if Carrick Felix can shoot at all, but the fact is that Bennett and Karasev will find ways to improve the offense, and Felix should be able to play solid D off the bench in a limited role. While I don’t necessarily love this draft from the Cleveland front office, the Cavs were by no means the worst drafting team last Thursday.
Dan Pilar: Their pick of Bennett may have been a surprise, but just because it was a surprise pick doesn’t mean it was the wrong pick. his is a typical Chris Grant draft where he throws a lot of curveballs at you and everyone expects the picks to be busts because he took them slightly higher than they were ranked. I can see the concern because he is somewhere between a small forward/power forward, but don’t be too concerned. Bennett is a natural scorer – inside and outside, he can score wherever the opponent’s defense is vulnerable. I don’t know anything about Karasev, but I only hear good things about him from scouts. I don’t know if I can say I love the draft only because they didn’t fill their biggest need, which is small forward. If I have to give a grade for the draft, I’ll say A-.
Second Question: With Cleveland making their first move in free agency on Thursday, what do you make of the Clark signing?
TM: Did we REALLY need another undersized power forward??? I’m not sold that Clark is the answer at small forward. He can’t shoot, he’s not a great defensive player and he’s prone to disappearing for stretches of games. Granted, he’s only 25, he rebounds really well and I think he’ll shoot better this season because he won’t be such a focal point of the offense. However, I don’t like the contract too much, as he’s not worth $4.5 million a year to me, and I think there were better players out there, like Corey Brewer (actually worth that money) and Al-Farouq Aminu (who I’m convinced is a great small forward option for the Cavs as a defender and rebounder and could be gotten on the cheap quite easily).
DP: As far as the Clark signing, I’m glad Grant finally agreed to terms with a player, but like Bennett, Clark has questions about his position. He was drafted as a power forward, but last year he evolved his game into that of a small forward. He doesn’t have too much experience playing the three, but that doesn’t mean he is incapable of playing. His contract is team friendly with a team option for 2014; although I thought $4.5 million was a little high, but if it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t affect our cap room for 2014. If it does work out, then Grant looks like a genius.
Third Question: What should be the next step for the Cavaliers in free agency, either by position or player?
TM: Can we get a backup point guard? I’ve been preaching this since the draft, but that’s the biggest need now for Cleveland. There are plenty of guys on the market who could be solid choices, and it’s not like the Cavs need a guy who will be playing 20 minutes a game. The ideal backup point for the Cavs, in my mind, could play off the ball, would be most effective in 12-15 minutes per game at the point with Kyrie Irving playing the other 36, could increase minutes without big drop-off if Irving gets hurt and could contribute off the ball as well. Beno Udrih, Darren Collison and Devin Harris could all fill this role, with Harris being the best and probably most expensive option. I could also see the Cavs going cheap for this slot with a guy like Will Bynum or D.J. Augustin. Regardless, this position needs someone better than Shaun Livingston and preferably someone who can shoot.
DP: They do need a backup point guard, but I don’t think it’s as big of a need as Trevor says it is. They have Dion Waiters who is capable of running the point when Irving is on the bench. I think we need to begin resigning the guys who we had last year. We know Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington are likely gone, but are we going to bring back Boobie? C.J. Miles has an unguaranteed contract for next year, are we going to bring these guys back? If not, then we have to find replacements for them.
Fourth Question: What has been your favorite move in free agency thus far besides Dwight Howard?
TM: Love the work New Orleans is doing. They’ve gathered a lot of assets so far in this offseason, and I love the way the team is coming together. Jrue Holiday is the most underrated point in the league and should be able to run the offense far more efficiently than Greivis Vasquez did last season. Tyreke Evans is great value as a potential sixth man or starter when Eric Gordon gets traded/injured. People forget how good he was last season on that awful Kings team, and his versatility will be well-utilized if the Pelicans do indeed bring him off the bench. I also like the idea of trying Anthony Davis out as a center with Ryan Anderson, and Jeff Withey fits in really nicely with this team, and it’s a good environment for him to develop in. They still do need some work and could probably use another big and a cheap small forward like Dorell Wright or DeMarre Carroll to fill in as a full-time starter. They aren’t done yet, but right now I love where the team is heading.
DP: The best offseason has to go to the Los Angeles Clippers. They brought in a new coach with championship experience and one that is a proven winner in the playoffs. They kept Chris Paul, who was the biggest named free agent, dealt their backup point guard for two guys who drill three-pointers and are pretty good on defense as well. They are without a doubt the best team in the Staples Center. I think they need to add a little depth to their bench, starting at PF/C, so they don’t have to play Ryan Hollins. If they can add a big man and maybe another wing, they could be the favorite in the West.
Fifth Question: What do you think will happen with enigma center Bynum?
TM: It’s impossible to say who’s going to take the risk on him. He’s not working out for teams, and I haven’t heard anything about a team talking to him yet. Honestly though, I like Bynum in Dallas. They are a team that has a good medical staff, and rolling the dice on Bynum on a short contract would be a good alternative for them.
DP: Bynum will only get a one-year deal if he continues to refuse to work out for teams. It doesn’t matter if he’s a career double-double guy, the team isn’t going to pay you for what you did; they are going to pay you for what you can do.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Trevor Magnotti and Zak Kolesar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”