In a draft class that seemingly depreciates by the day, there at least seems to be value in one position. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers solidified their point guard two years ago with the selection of Kyrie Irving.
While there isn’t expected to be anyone with Irving’s caliber drafted on Thursday, teams in need of point guards should find some help, beginning with Michigan’s Trey Burke and Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams.
Burke was a consensus National Player of the Year after leading Michigan to its first Final Four in 20 years. Burke averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists, led the Big Ten in assists per game and set Michigan’s single-season record with 260 assists last year.
Yet at least one NBA front office executive polled last week believes Carter-Williams will make a better pro. Carter-Williams averaged 11.8 points and 7.3 assists while setting a Syracuse record for steals in a season with 111. Both Burke and Carter-Williams are sophomores.
“Trey Burke is, I think, the top pick at that position because of what he accomplished this year,” ESPN draft analyst Fran Fraschilla said. “If these guys were not point guards but quarterbacks, you’d see a lot of trading down to acquire extra picks because after Burke, there is not a ton of difference in my mind between seven or eight guys that play the point guard position.”
The Cavs could select a point guard to back up Irving, but only if they are unable to trade their second-round picks. Shaun Livingston was the backup last year, but he is a free agent this summer and it’s highly questionable if he will return.
Dion Waiters is capable of handling the backup duties when Irving is resting, but that entails juggling the rotation and prevents the young duo from oftentimes playing together.
As many as seven point guards could go in the first round of this draft, including combo guard C.J. McCollum (GlenOak), who was leading the nation in scoring at Lehigh when a broken foot ended his season in early January. McCollum is projected to go in the top 10 and reportedly has been invited to the NBA’s green room for Thursday’s draft.
If the Cavaliers use a second-round pick on a point guard, Texas’ Myck Kabongo is a possibility. The 6-foot-1 Kabongo is close friends with current Cav Tristan Thompson and both players are represented by Rich Paul.
Kabongo was suspended for 23 games last season after the NCAA learned Thompson paid for his trip to Cleveland last summer so he could work out, which is a violation of NCAA rules. Kabongo was initially suspended for a year for lying to investigators, but the suspension was reduced following an appeal.
“I was just trying to get better. I was never trying to hurt my team,” Kabongo said at the predraft workouts last month. “If I knew it was wrong, I wouldn’t have done it.”
The incident means little in terms of his draft value, and most league executives won’t pay much attention to it, but Kabongo isn’t expected to go before the second round. He insisted he doesn’t care where he’s selected.
“We’ve all seen guys go in the lottery and you don’t hear from them anymore because they feel like they made it,” Kabongo said. “And that’s wrong. Once you get the job, then you go to work. It doesn’t matter where you go, the fit is more important.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.