Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Opinion: Cavs’ choice obvious


Now that we (almost) all agree that the Cleveland Cavaliers should not select a center with an injury history, let’s look at the smartest place for them to turn with the first selection in tonight’s draft, televised by ESPN.

If the question is Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo, frame it this way: Would you rather have Ray Allen or Tony Allen? Tony Allen plays winning basketball, defends relentlessly and has worked his way into the starting lineup the past two seasons for the Memphis Grizzlies, but he’s no Ray Allen.

Oladipo has a more aggressive game and is a better defender than McLemore, but despite his junior season three-point shooting percentage (.441), he doesn’t have nearly as soft a jumper as McLemore. Oladipo shot .338 from long range for his career, a better indicator of future results. Tony Allen’s percentage in his two-year career at Oklahoma State was a similar .346. Both were exceptional defenders in college. The points Oladipo scored closer to the hoop will be far tougher to come by in the NBA.

Even if Oladipo exceeds the Tony Allen projection and becomes a modern-day Sidney Moncrief, a five-time All-Star and great defender, McLemore, who also has a high ceiling as a defender, has more all-around talent.

Ray Allen was a .448 career three-point shooter, including .402 as a freshman. McLemore shot .420 in his lone college season. Athletic shooters tend to make a smoother transition to the NBA than guards who slash to the hoop.

No less an authority on basketball than Jay Bilas ranked McLemore as the top available prospect. It’s difficult to make a case for anyone else. Bilas also said he thinks every player in this draft comes with questions.

McLemore’s, Bilas said, center on his “personality type,” and because of that he needs to walk into the right situation. If he goes to a team that has “been a mess,” Bilas said, “and he is expected to shoulder the entire burden, that’s a problem. It’s not one he couldn’t overcome.”

Teaming with Cavs franchise player Kyrie Irving, Bilas said, would be a situation in which McLemore could thrive.

“(The Cavs) don’t need him to be the man right away, and he would have a chance to develop at a more leisurely pace,” Bilas said.

The former Duke forward and trial attorney and current ESPN analyst pointed to “attacking off the dribble and getting his own shot” as areas McLemore needs to improve, but also called the St. Louis native “a great athlete, he glides down the court” and “the best shooter in the draft.”

If the Cavs take Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Otto Porter or Victor Oladipo ahead of McLemore, they’ll regret it forever. Prediction: UNLV’s Anthony Bennett and Indiana’s Cody Zeller will have better NBA careers than anyone not named McLemore.


joeloveshawks 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I hope Ben gets picked up #1 or #2 but really more excited just to see what he can do in the NBA. As a KU fan I need a reason to tune in for NBA games and having a Jayhawk to watch would be very helpful. Our last number of recent lottery picks don't see much action these days with the exception of Chalmers.


Sam Constance 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Good to see someone is thinking critically about the draft. Too bad Bilas doesn't have any sway with the morons who seem to run NBA franchises.

All the chatter I've heard involves swooning over Oladipo and downplaying the injury concerns of Noel. You heard it here first, but Oladipo's ceiling as an NBA player is Tayshaun Prince. A solid roleplayer, but nothing more. I've heard draft "gurus" talking about Oladipo being the only likely All-Star to come out of this year's draft.

I don't remember Ray Allen having a spectacular handle when he first entered the NBA. It was serviceable, but his real ability was in his consistent shooting and the fact that his athleticism made it difficult for even NBA defenders to keep him from getting his shot. Ben will be very similar, even if he doesn't have the kind of will/drive to make himself the elite, best-in-the-NBA type shooter that Allen became.

To me, the funniest part about this whole "McLemore was a bum at workouts and there are major questions about him" that Chad Ford (among others) has been pushing is that it's pretty apparent that those comments are coming from teams hoping to sour his value and push him down on the board so that he's still available. And Chad Ford, who is a self-described KU fanatic, seems all too ready to fall for it. Personally, I think his fandom has severely skewed his perspective on McLemore--he's evaluating him from the perspective of a fan who got frustrated at times with McLemore's deferential personality and it's now impacting his job as a talent analyst.


FearlessJayhawk 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I hope Ben gets on a team that he can just blend in with. The Cavaliers are a losing franchise and I don't expect that's going to change. With the right chemistry, Ben can be an all-pro in a few years.


clevelandjayhawker 9 months, 4 weeks ago

The #1 pick this year would be about 6 or 7 in next years draft.


Tony Bandle 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Jay Bilas is one of the more astute analysts in the business, has great respect for all things Kansas and brings a ton of logic to his positions....this said, it is almost guaranteed Ben will NOT BE #1 because the last thing that NBA GMs even consider is logic.

The Cavs will continue to be the Cavs and make the sexy pick, Greg Oden,.... I mean, Noel Nerlens!!


noopynutmeg 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Describing Jay Bilas as a trial lawyer is akin to describing Michael Jordan as a professional golfer. He is merely a face at the North Carolina law firm that he is associated with.


Jason Keller 9 months, 4 weeks ago

God, Ben was up tweeting at 3 in the morning last night... I'm sure a lot of the draftees were having trouble sleeping but I don't think it was wise to be doing that on draft day eve. It wasn't anything really bad, just random jibberish, but still.

Ehh, I suppose I've done some foolish things in my younger days. It is disappointing that Ben doesn't have people around him to tell him that things like this are not professional. No way he goes #1.


Jason Keller 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Hey Tom, Do you really think Ben has a chance to go number one if the Cavs retain the first pick?


Mike Barnhart 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Ben was a ton of fun to watch at KU but I would be leery of a 6'3" shooter who can't create his own shot! If you're honest with yourself, you'll admit, BEN CAN'T DRIBBLE!


jhox 9 months, 4 weeks ago

How cool would it be for Ben to go number 1 this year and Wiggins next year? Maybe all the lemmings would quit buying Calipari's snake oil.

And if we want to get greedy, how about Selden and Embiid as number ones in 2015 and 2016, or throw Perry in the mix. Self has an unprecedented level of talent to work with, and he knows how to develop it. Rock Chalk!


lhohman3 10 months ago

I think Cavs should swap picks with Orlando @ 2 or even with Charlotte @ pick 4 + Cavs get either team's 2nd round pick in next year's deep 2014 class, and Cavs get Ben at either 2 or 4 position. Nobody on Cavs besides Kyrie Irving and Wayne Ellington (who is a restricted free agent and not exactly an amazing defender or athlete) shoots at or near 40% with over 100 trey attempts...,Oddly, Cavs probably won't swap picks to get Ben if they think they can rent Pierce for a year next season.


crazyhawksfan 10 months ago

Keegs ur spot on budy! In my mind this is an easy choice. I can jus imagine kyrie braking it down n kickn 2 b mac n the corner! Do people forget how awsome this guy was? He is easly one of my top 5 fav hawks of all time. I mean this guy has all star written all over him n so freakn humble. Man i cud jus keep goin on bout this guy. As hard as it was i jus watched his highlights from the michigan game n wow he was the best player in that game easy. ok so i am defiantly in ramble mode so im goin shut up now! Rock Chalk B-Mac!!!!


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