The Cleveland Cavaliers Need To Take Kyrie Irving With The No. 1 Pick In The 2011 NBA Draft
Less than a year after becoming the biggest losers in the LeBron James free agency sweepstakes, the Cleveland Cavaliers are feeling like winners again. On Tuesday night, the Cavs were chosen to get the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the 2011 NBA Draft after winning the draft lottery. And while this year’s draft class has already been criticized as one of the weakest classes in years, it’s still good anytime one of the league’s bottom-dwellers gets the chance to improve immediately through the draft like the Cavs ultimately will.
At the present moment, the consensus seems to be that the Cavs should spend the first overall pick on one of two elite players: Kyrie Irving from Duke or Derrick Williams from Arizona. But with all due respect to Williams, it’s clear to us—especially after watching this year’s NBA Playoffs—that the Cavs need Irving in their corner after the draft in June. And to show you why, we came up with a list of five reasons that the Cavs need to take him. Don’t screw this up, Cleveland!
1. Derrick Rose, Derrick Rose, and—oh yeah—Derrick Rose!
Hold up. If this list is about Kyrie Irving, why are we starting it off by talking about Derrick Rose? Simple. Rose was sitting where Irving was a few years ago before the Bulls spent their first pick on him. And you see how that turned out. In today’s NBA, you need to spend the top pick on a marketable face of the franchise type of player who can excite your fan base. That was Rose a few years ago and that’s Irving this year. If the Cavs need an example of what drafting an exciting point guard can do for your city, look no further than what Rose has done for Chicago.
2. The point guard position has become the most important position in the NBA.
Once upon a time, big men ruled the NBA. If you didn’t have an agile big man playing the post for you—particularly an agile big man who could guard Shaq!—you didn’t have a chance in hell of winning an NBA title. The same can be said today for point guards. If you don’t have a quick PG who can, at the very least, get your team into your offense and be a threat on the offensive end of the floor, you’re in trouble. Cleveland needs to fill their PG position if they want to return to NBA prominence.
3. Speaking of point guards, the Eastern Conference is loaded with them. Lots and lots of them.
The PG slot is particularly important if you play in the Eastern Conference right now. From Rose on the Bulls to Rajon Rondo on the Boston Celtics to John Wall on the Washington Wizards, the East is stacked at the PG position. So you don’t just need a formidable PG in the East, you need one who can keep up with elite competition. Which is exactly what Irving should be able to do after some on-the-job training.
4. Irving looks like he could become the face of whatever franchise he joins.
Williams can be a solid NBA player. But the verdict is still out on whether or not his game will translate into him becoming a superstar in the league. But as we’ve mentioned, the point guard position in the NBA is the one drawing the most attention right now. So if we had to pick between Irving and Williams right now, we’d give Irving the edge if we were trying to guess which one would have the better opportunity to become the face of a franchise. Irving will be expected to play a big role in the future of a team—a role we think he’ll be ready for once he adjusts to the NBA style of play—while Williams seems like he’ll be more of a contributor to a team that just needs to fill some empty slots.
5. The Cavaliers will have an opportunity to grab some size with their fourth pick.
The Cavs have a real advantage this year thanks to fact that the No. 1 pick they got is actually the draft pick they received from the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade earlier this year (your bad, Clippers!). They can use that one to snatch up Irving and then address their need for some size just a few picks later. It’s a real win/win situation for Cleveland—a city that’s not used to have this kind of luck. So they need to use it wisely by taking Irving first and building around him as they continue to put their LeBron James chapter in the past.