Three years…three drafts…three shockers.
No one can ever accuse Chris Grant of cow towing to conventional wisdom with his selections. Instead he takes the guy that he most believes in and the guy who ultimately he believes is the best player available.
I never really even considered Anthony Bennett for the Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick. I knew he was among the consensus top six players in the draft but I just thought he was too redundant with Tristan Thompson being a power forward and that his lack of effort on defense would not be something that Mike Brown would co-sign on. I profiled five players that I thought were targets for the Cavs and Bennett was not one of them. Don’t I feel dumb now?
What cannot be denied about Anthony Bennett is that he is a terrifically skilled player with impressive athleticism for a guy his size (6’7”, 240 lbs.). My immediate thoughts about his fit on this team is that he’ll be great working the pick and roll with both Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters because he not only has the power game rolling to the hoop with the ability to finish strong over defenders but he also has pop game to keep the defense honest.
The most intriguing thing about Bennett is his versatility on offense. I was a big fan of Alex Len because of his versatile game but Bennett is probably even more polished and talented. He doesn’t have a great low-post game with an arsenal of moves. But what he does have is great power and explosiveness that allows him to get just about any shot he wants. He compliments that power game with a feathery touch from the outside with his jumper. Then he can use that jumper to also take defenders off the dribble with both hands and finish at the rim. In a Cavs offense that was oftentimes very one-dimensional with the ball sticking in Kyrie’s hands, the addition of Bennett adds a nifty new element to that attack.
With the No. 19 pick Grant continued to re-form the team by taking Sergey Karasev, the smooth shooting Russian small forward. I won’t BS you and claim to be an expert on foreign prospects. I don’t know how good Karasev will be or how his game will translate to the NBA. What I do know is that there have been reports for weeks that the Cavs were high enough on him to consider trading up to make sure they could get him. The Cavs could really use a player who can come off the bench and hit shots, which is what Karasev does best.
Finally, after trading the No. 31 pick for a couple future picks, Grant took Carrick Felix at No. 33. I know absolutely nothing about this guy other than what I read on Twitter which tells me that evidently he’s a really good wing defender. So that’s all I have to say about that.
As I sit here almost four hours after the Cavs made their selection with the No. 1 pick I still have a hard time fully grasping it because it wasn’t a choice that was on my radar. What I take solace in is that just about everyone agreed that there was no one consensus top player in this draft. Furthermore, most people looked at the draft as having a top six, then everyone else. Bennett is a member of those top six prospects so I don’t know how anyone can really kill the pick. And for as much as I liked Len and others liked Nerlens Noel or Ben McLemore, we don’t have much of an argument given that they went Nos. 5, 6, and 7 respectively. If those guys were so good then they would have gotten snatched up a lot quicker.
Grant had his choice of the litter with a long time to make his decision and do his homework. Ultimately he decided that there was no one better with more potential than Anthony Bennett. I’ve been in favor of just about everything that Grant has done thus far running the team. Until this pick proves to be a bust or at the least a mistake then I’m all in.
In the end what the Cavs need more than anything else is necessarily a player who fits a whole in the starting lineup. What they needed was a player who can fill the hole in the talent hole on the team. Bennett is definitely talented. It’ll be interesting to see how they choose to use him, whether it’s starting at SF or coming off the bench, but he’s another very good asset to add to this team. The Cavs are perfectly set to either grow with the core players they have or parlay several of those players into a big piece like an established superstar.
The future is bright for Cavaliers fans. Tonight another piece of the puzzle came together. Can’t wait to see what the final picture looks like.