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Cleveland Cavaliers

Draft thoughts: Cavs believed Bennett was best choice in a flawed draft

By Jason Lloyd Published: June 28, 2013
Bennett and Stern
NBA Commissioner David Stern shakes hands with UNLV's Anthony Bennett, who was selected first overall by the Cavaliers in Thursday's NBA draft. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Random draft thoughts the morning after the shocker…

^ Here was the problem with this draft: Everyone was flawed. Nerlens Noel’s severe limitations offensively and mixed reports on his knee obviously scared off more teams than just the Cavs. Noel can’t shoot outside the paint. At all. And that’s a problem.

^ Otto Porter is a nice player and fills an immediate need at small forward, but no one in the league considered him the best player in this draft. The Cavs had concerns over Alex Len’s health and they weren’t as high on Victor Oladipo as a lot of other teams. McLemore had issues off the court regarding his agent and other matters, while Anthony Bennett is only 6-foot-7.

^ There was no clear choice, which is why the Cavs struggled to separate the top candidates. They never came close on a trade for the top pick and knew by Thursday morning they were going to keep it and use it on someone.

^ There are concerns about Bennett. Valid concerns. His wingspan, reportedly around 7-1, will help offset the fact he’s undersized for a power forward. And Chris Grant confirmed last night Bennett is a power forward, not a small forward.

^ Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told me last summer Dion Waiters always has to stay diligent with his weight, because he has the frame susceptible to packing on pounds quickly. It would appear Bennett has that same type of frame.

^ The Cavs didn’t approach draft night trying to shock the NBA, even though they did. I said throughout the predraft buildup the Cavs needed to take the most talented player on the board and worry about the fit later. That’s exactly what they did … even though I was referring to McLemore.

^ The pick is a risk, but all of the picks carried some risk. The Cavs went with who they thought was the best total package. And after the improvement Tristan Thompson displayed in his first two years, coupled with Waiters’ flashes during his rookie season, the Cavs front office has earned the benefit of the doubt on this.

^ A league executive from another team texted me during the draft Thursday night and said Bennett reminds him of Elton Brand. I didn’t ask which Brand, the good one or bad one, but I presume he meant the good one.

^ The Cavs tried moving up from No. 19, and at one point it appeared they could’ve jumped back into the lottery, but it fell through. Stuck at 19, one of the guys they liked fell right to them.

^ No one thought entering the draft Sergey Karasev would still be around at No. 19, but no one thought Thursday night would turn out the way it did. Karasev is currently playing for a team in Russia – he took a flight from New York back home for a game tonight – but no one expects any hang-ups with his buyout. He will be with the Cavs in the fall.

^ Second-round pick Carrick Felix is a long and athletic shooting guard. He likes to defend, which is a rarity among the Cavs’ guards. Part of the defensive problems last season was the inability to defend on the perimeter. I don’t know how much Felix will play, but he should be able to help with that.

^ With free agency starting Monday, the Cavs still have holes to fill. They need a shooter, which is why I thought they may take McLemore. They could use another big, particularly if Mo Speights opts out of his contract and elects to become a free agent. That decision will come soon. I would expect, and this is just a guess, that Speights leaves. The addition of Bennett will significantly reduce his playing time if he stays.

^ I don’t expect the Cavs to go crazy in free agency, but they’ll be active. 

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