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Cleveland Cavs

Brian Hook is the GM for Cleveland's second pick in the first round.  This pick comes to Cleveland as part of the Brian Grant/Shawn Kemp trade.  Cleveland selects:

Jamaal Tinsley, PG, 6'3", Iowa State

THE DRAFT CHOICE

Jamaal Tinsley-Point Guard, Iowa State

On the surface this pick appears to make no sense as the one position the Cavs appear set at is point guard, with Andre Miller just heading in to his 3rd year and playing just a notch below all-star level. My philosophy regarding the draft is to always take the best player available-the player that will be the best NBA player, and not to draft for need. All else being equal size should win out when drafting, but in my opinion all else was not equal. Tinsley was far and away the best talent on the board. Even in a weak year for point guards I donít think he will ever slip down into the 20ís . Having two quality point guards is a luxury not many teams have and the two may even end up on the floor at the same time-remember the Eastern conference champs start a 6-1 shooting guard and the Hawks have also found Jason Terry more effective off the ball. At the very least Tinsley makes a solid back-up or clears the path for a later trade of either himself or Miller. This scenario should be very clear to Cavs fans who have seen Kevin Johnson drafted the year after Mark Price and then traded to the Suns for Larry Nance-who helped anchor the good Cavs teams of the mid 80ís and early 90ís. As well as the drafting of Terrell Brandon who mentored behind Price for 4 years before finally being given the reigns himself-only to be dealt in a package for Shawn Kemp after Brevin Knight was drafted in 1997. Iíve seen too many teams draft the likes of , Eric Montross, Adonal Foyle, Robert Traylor in the top 10 in recent years while passing on Eddie Jones, Tracey McGrady, and Paul Pierce in those same drafts. I also have a personal vendetta against the Celtics dating back to 1976 when they knocked the Cavs out of the playoffs, so keeping them from drafting Tinsley was sweet indeed, although not the reason I chose him.

CAVS TEAM OVERVIEW

John Popp who selected for the Cavs with the 8th pick did such a fantastic job reviewing the team that I see no need to reiterate his points, so I will focus on the upcoming draft for 2001 and beyond and how I feel the Cavs can achieve the promised land of championship contender.

DRAFT DODGING

Except for the ďMiracle of RichfieldĒ season in 1976 when the Cavs lost in the conference finals, the definitive Cavs teams remembered by most fans are the late 80ís, early 90ís versions coached by Lenny Wilkins. This team was competitive for several years, but just couldnít get by Birdís Celtics or especially past Jordanís Bulls. The core of this team was established over 3 drafts from 85-87 with the 86 draft being the most beneficial. the 86 draft brought Brad Daughtery with the 1st overall pick, Ron Harper (he of the multiple championship rings with the hated Bulls and Lakers) with the 8th pick and Mark Price with the first pick in the second round. John ďHot RodĒ Williams was drafted in the second round of 85 and waited a year while being cleared on point shaving charges. In the 1987 draft the Cavs took Kevin Johnson and later traded him to the Suns for Larry Nance who was an integral part in the Cavs success under Wilkins. I think the next two years drafts if executed correctly could have the same effect on this team that the 86 draft did.

After analyzing every draft from 1986 to the present itís amazing how many players get taken in the first round and just fall off the map. There are usually 3-5 players from any one draft that will ever achieve all-star status. Luck plays no small role either-ask Rick Pitino if he had gotten the number one in 1997 and taken Duncan and anybody else as opposed to Chauncy Billups and Ron Mercer if he would not only still be coaching the Celtics, but doing very well in the standings too. The Spurs have had two overall number one picks and not only took Duncan, but David Robinson as well-sure beats the hell out of the poor (or stupid) teams that chose Pervis Ellison, Derrick Coleman, Joe Smith or Michael Olowokandi first overall. Just like the 1st overall pick is no guarantee of success, picking later doesnít mean all doom and gloom either.  Here are a few all-stars and quality guys taken later than top 5-Karl Malone-13, Tracey McGrady-9, Eddie Jones-10, Shawn Kemp-17, Paul Pierce-10, Latrell Sprewell-24, Reggie Miller-11 to name a few.

THE CAVS APPROACH TO REBUILDING THROUGH THE DRAFT:

KNOCKING ON THE BASEMENT DOOR PART 2

The worst place to be as a pro sports franchise is stuck right in the middle of the pack-not good enough to compete for a title, yet not bad enough to ever draft high enough to get a Shaq, or Duncan that can single-handedly turn the franchise around. In his review John Popp considered the Cavs to be knocking on the basement door-hell with knocking-I want to tear that mother down!! I think the Cavs are closer to bottoming out than adding a few parts to put us over the top. I donít think Z will ever play again, we have a quality player in Miller and some talent in Murray and Weatherspoon, and some potential in Chris Mihm-we also have some malcontents and under achievers (Person, Henderson), over eaters (Traylor) draft day reaches (Langdon). I think a good draft can push us to a .500 team, but it will take a great one and some more pieces to make us really top notch. Cleveland has never been the tropical free agent destination of cities like Orlando, Phoenix, and LA. The Bulls proved just by having money to spend doesnít mean players will be a path to your door-so I think these next few drafts are key to the Cavs future. The answer is the Jimmy Johnson approach.

THE JIMMY JOHNSON APPROACH

When drafting for the Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson was always recognized as a great evaluator of talent-especially in the middle rounds. A lot of his success was due to sheer numbers-he acquired several middle round picks and if half of them panned out he looked like a genius. I consider this draft to be very deep and I am therefore implementing the the JJ theory-we have the 8 and 20, and if we can some how get into the top 5 I am willing to do it even at the expense of our best player-Andre Miller. If we could deal Miller for a top 5 pick-combine that with 8 and 20 I think we could build a nucleus like the 86 draft did. My thought is if we end up with 2 top 10 picks and 20, plus a very high pick next year based on our youth heading into this season-that gives us 4 picks and 3 top 10ís. I f we can be successful with 2 of the 4 picks-considering it is a 12 man roster with 5 starting positions, I think we are on our way. Iím not advocating trading Miller just for the sake of trading him, but if we have a chance to get into the top 5 or maybe get multiple top 20 picks for him I think we have to do it. We could get lucky and have two great choices to add to Miller, but I like our odds better of increasing our picks.