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Cleveland Cavaliers

Jason Lloyd's draft thoughts: Give Waiters a chance

By Jason Lloyd Published: June 29, 2012
Waiters, Zellers
Cleveland Cavaliers' Dion Waiters, left, and Tyler Zeller answer questions during a news conference Friday, June 29, 2012, in Independence. Waiters was the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Zeller, the 17th overall pick, was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Dion Waiters was a surprise because for weeks, Cavs fans had only heard about Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes. One of the three, it was widely assumed, would be a Cavalier by now.

That doesn't mean the selection of Dion Waiters as the fourth overall pick is a bad idea. 

I first heard rumblings of Waiters last week, then the chatter intensified late Monday into Tuesday. By Tuesday night, I was convinced the Cavs' interest in Waiters was legitimate and began calling a handful of scouts and executives around the league I have come to trust.

All of them said the same thing. They loved Waiters, thought he was an explosive scorer and would ultimately prove to be the top scoring option in this draft.

Byron Scott said today that Waiters was No. 2 on the Cavs' board behind Anthony Davis. I'm not sure I believe that, but I know people around the league loved him. He wasn't getting past Golden State and No. 7 and he certainly wasn't making it past Toronto at No. 8.

As Thursday night spilled into the early hours of Friday morning, other general managers around the league were texting Chris Grant and congratulating him on the Cavs' selection of Waiters and their draft as a whole. 

The Cavs had two glaring needs: they desperately needed another scorer to take some of the burden off Kyrie Irving and they needed size. They accomplished both. 

Harrison Barnes went to the Warriors at No. 7 and should have a nice career there. But he is viewed as a spot-up shooter who does little else well. He struggles getting to the basket, he struggled getting separation against weaker college players and he doesn't make the players around him better.

The Cavs believe Waiters can do all those things. Only time will tell. But if the Cavs ultimately are wrong about Waiters, so are plenty of other teams around the NBA.

 

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