Grading the Cleveland Cavaliers’ draft

Bennett and FredGrading the draft is pointless and we won’t know for sure about anything for at least two or three… blah blah. Yes. We all know that grades thrown on a draft or a draft pick have nothing to do with what they end up accomplishing. I for one still want to hear opinions.

So here is a quick look around the internet to see what some national pundits are saying about Cleveland’s selections and the draft as a whole.

Chad Ford, ESPN

“Analysis: The Cavs kept everyone in suspense for six weeks. They talked trades with everyone. They wrung their hands over whom to take. And then they shocked just about everyone by taking Bennett with the No. 1 pick. I understand the reasoning. Cleveland wanted a pick-and-roll partner for Kyrie Irving. Bennett has the potential to be a 20-and 10-guy, perhaps the only one in the draft.

On the other hand, I think Noel, Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter were better prospects, and I would have liked their fit in Cleveland as much as or more than Bennett’s. With the No. 1 pick, the Cavs needed to get the best talent, and I’m not sold on the idea that they did.

I loved the Karasev pick. They needed a shooter with a high basketball IQ, and I think he has a chance to be a solid player in the NBA. That’s all you can ask for at No. 19. Felix is a tough defender and should be able to get minutes coming off the bench. He’s not an upside player but should play right away.

Grade: B+”

Adi Joseph, USA Today

“No one expected this. That said, it’s not bad. Bennett ranks right behind Noel for most upside in this draft, and he gives the Cavaliers a scoring complement to Tristan Thompson. They should be able to play together, either in small lineups with Thompson manning center or big ones with Bennett sliding to small forward. Noel is much more similar to Thompson than Bennett is. Karasev may be the best shooter in the draft, and Felix may be the best one-on-one wing defender. Neither was a great pick, but they could both have roles off the bench next season. The Cavs also came out with two future second-round picks in a trade of the No. 31 pick. This wasn’t a great draft for the Cavaliers, but they were in a tough spot and came out OK.

Grade: B”

Matt Moore, CBS Sports

“Anthony Bennett: I like a lot of what he provides. Good instincts. Size is gonna be an issue. However, if you put Bennett with a great point guard, he can be elite. Grade B.

Sergey Karasev: I think he has questions, but he can come in and contribute right now at this level. It’s also a really good pick for the Cavaliers from a position standpoint. Grade A-”

Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo Sports

“Bennett: It didn’t take long for the first surprise of the draft to happen. Cleveland, which had been thought to be choosing between Nerlens Noel and Alex Len, instead selected UNLV forward Anthony Bennett. Though Bennett hasn’t received the buzz some of his peers did, the Canadian-born forward may be the most talented prospect in the draft. He averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 boards in his lone college season, showcasing his versatility by scoring with ease in transition, from the perimeter and from the low block. The concern about Bennett is his work ethic. He’ll need to shed weight, improve his stamina and stop taking plays off defensively to fully tap into his potential and make Cleveland’s gamble look shrewd.

Karasev: Unlike some of the other top international prospects in this draft, Sergey Karasev will enter the NBA polished. The son of a coach and former player, Karasev has already appeared in the Olympics for Russia and led the nation’s premier basketball league in scoring. He impressed scouts at the Nike Hoop Summit earlier this year with his high basketball IQ and prolific perimeter shooting. His deep range and NBA readiness should be an asset to a Cleveland team clearly eager to emerge as a playoff contender next season.

Felix: Having already landed the most talented forward in the draft and a pair of sweet-shooting wings, Cleveland addressed its defense with its fourth pick of the night. Arizona State’s Carrick Felix is a long, athletic perimeter stopper capable of choking off passing lanes and scoring in transition.”

Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated

“Winner: Anthony Bennett. There will be plenty of time for the pressure and expectations to sink in and the doubters to crow at full volume. In this moment, it surely must be an amazing feeling to have shocked the world. “I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett admitted.

It’s not yet clear how he will function in the same frontcourt as Thompson or if the roster will get a freshening up now that Mike Brown is back in the saddle. Before worrying about those questions, Bennett need only concern himself with savoring the most pleasant of surprises before getting himself 100 percent healthy.”

Kevin Pelton, ESPN

“25. Cleveland Cavaliers, -2.3 (Expected: 5.2, actual 2.9) Given the lack of star talent in this draft, assessing the Cavaliers based on the typical No. 1 overall pick seems a bit unfair. However, Noel would have scored as a positive pick by this method. Anthony Bennett (2.1) is much worse than the average No. 1 choice. Cleveland’s rating is also hurt by second-round pick Carrick Felix (-1.2), a late bloomer in college who wasn’t on the NBA’s radar until this year. Those choices overwhelm an excellent value pick at No. 19 in Sergey Karasev (2.0).”

Ryan Petzar, NJ Star Ledger

“Cleveland kicked things off tonight by surprising pretty much everybody when they selected Anthony Bennett. The 6-foot-8 power forward from UNLV has a great mix of skills: He can move the ball, he’s got speed, he can rebound and he’s got a great shot from 3-point land. Dave Rice, the freshman’s coach at UNLV, praised him by saying “[t]here’s not much he can’t do on a court.”

With their other first-round pick, the Cavs drafted Sergey Karasev, a 19-year-old small forward from Russia. Karasev played for the Russian Olympic team last year in London and is praised for his good passing and a solid left-handed shot. But while he’s a great shooter, his athleticism leaves a lot to be desired. He’ll probably never be a star in the NBA but he has what it takes to carve out a role for himself coming off the bench.

Cleveland also nabbed Arizona State SG Carrick Felix with the No. 33 pick, and traded No. 31 pick Allen Crabbe to Portland in exchange for two future second-round draft picks.

Grade: A-“

  • jkadis

    More grades an analysis compiled in this thread on RCF:

  • BenRM

    I am slightly annoyed by people who continue to insist that this draft means Waiters or Thompson will be moved and that the Cavs “should have tried harder” to trade the pick. You can’t dance without a partner.

  • Natedawg86

    Clearly you have never done the robot, worm, moonwalked, or sprinkler/law mower/fishing/shopping cart

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I go back to last year and Harrison Barnes with the Warriors. Barnes at the end of the season due to the way he was used by Golden State probably exceeded any draft day grades. Unless you are grading the drafted players based upon individual skills and how they compare I see no point. Nobody can tell me how the Cavaliers are going to use anyone they drafted last night so what’s the point?

  • BenRM

    I am bested, sir. Well played!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I wouldn’t even give that thinking the time of day because every team needs at least two PFs. Plus you have the center position not to mention how many other NBA teams go small. Thompson, Bennett, Varejao and Zeller are a nice quartet. I actually was hoping for one more big guy a more standard center in round two.

  • Harv 21

    Ford: “They wrung their hands over whom to take.” Read: They never once took my calls to give me so much as a HINT.

    Pelton: “25. Cleveland Cavaliers, -2.3 (Expected: 5.2, actual 2.9)” Read: I used WARP based upon my own invented projections, as an expert certified by ESPN. Objectively speaking, therefore, Cleveland had a sub-par draft.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Seriously no Harlem Shake or Gagnam style? The hippy hippy shake is my “go to” move!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’s statistical references like these that give the whole business a bad name. It’s one of the main reasons I never rely on stats as a primary reason in an argument. Not saying statistics don’t have a place mind you I’m just saying there are far more factors that do not get factored into these equations.

  • Harv 21

    right, we should have tried harder to trade down when there was no clear best player who would create demand. Actually, since all but one player could be had after us, we were probably in the worst position to engineer a profitable trade of any team picking in the top 6.

  • WC

    1. Lots of talk about C or PF. Glad our FO isn’t so obsessed. Agree with Jalen Rose: “you are your skill set. Positions were invented so a novice could follow the game.” Anthony Bennett gives us a new, and needed, skill set.
    2. I would like to believe the FO saw Bennett as the prospect with the greatest chance of being a complete player. IE, in looking at his context and physical abilities, they projected that he could be coached on defense.
    3. You know what would be more valuable than all the pundit grades of the draft? A post-draft grade of the pundits. Like, “F” to Sheridan Hoops for guaranteeing we were picking Len. A “D” to Amico (which is much better than his norm, due to at least a slight sense of humor) for all his “sourced” blather.

  • you nailed it when you called Bennett Mel Turpin this morning. (in fact i hijacked your line for today’s post, gracias.)

    grant fooled the draft experts like a boss. unfortunately the other GMs are more sophisticated.

  • a mock draft archive and rater would be terrific. i actually tried to do something along those lines and man it’s a heavy lift.

  • Guest

    Amico is the only guy that thought the Cavs might take Bennett

  • Harv 21

    Thx but that’s not my prediction, just my worst case scenario fear. In maybe 20 months we’re going to have another opinion about Grant different from a button-downed man of mystery. Tristan, Waiters and Bennett are going to raise his career like helium, sink it like an anchor or quarter him like unstable guesser. We’ll see.

    [as an aside, it’s nice to have another commenter old enough to see the connection. Freakin Mel – outrageous how such extreme physical talent can get reduced to nothing by a ten cent head]

  • WC

    He may have had a last minute “guess” but he was “reporting” for days that it was “between Len and McLemore”… “It’s between Alex Len and Ben McLemore, I’m hearing. I’m gonna go with McLemore. Which of course means the Cavs will take Nerlens Noel.” Hearing from whom? Other reporters’ twitter feeds?

  • Steve

    Hey everyone! Stat-bashing is fun! I don’t know who I’m bashing or how he came up with his metrics, but f him, amirite!

  • Harv 21

    Re your #3: yes yes yes. Something thorough and widely read/linked would force them to either temper the spitballing where they use vague language to hide the fact that their opinions are either feelings or based on sources which are either non-existent or agents using them as tools. Because when they’re actually called out as unreliable, they’ll wanna defend themselves the basis for the hot air. Anything to enforce some standards, to defuse this “just say it first and say it strong” internet culture.

  • Guest

    Tom over at Cavs the blog said Bennett was the best player available but didn’t think the Cavs would pick him.

  • Steve

    Maybe rude, but Pelton is a highly regarded member of the basketball community, and actually has worked for a NBA team because of the quality that he provides, unlike the vast majority of the commentators on yesterday’s happenings. He’s paid to come up with an outside the box approach and provide complementary information to the usual scoutspeak. He will always be the first to tell you “As with any statistical projection, the results are far from perfect”, but the guy has put in countless hours into analyzing even the minute details and refining his work. If anything, the amount of energy he puts into this gives a GREAT name to the stat community. Few are as passionate about basketball as he is.

  • that’s one of the things that makes it hard to rate the experts. many have
    1. ‘what they think the teams will take’ and
    2. ‘who i would take’ and
    3. ‘big board.’
    so they get three whacks at being right and i finally through up my hands trying to massage the data.

  • Lunch

    Answer: his toilet. My best reason why most of his info from his “sources” we’re wrong.

  • he docked that cavs like 50% on a second round reach, which was also their fourth pick. IOW grant couldve kept four ‘good WAR’ picks and scored high .. even though it’s doubtful four draft picks even make the team.

    his methodology might have been good for teams but it was crap in the post harv mentioned.

  • I have tried something similar for the NFL draft, but Kanicki is right. You just get buried in an avalanche of mock drafts.. Plus, guys release 7 versions of their mocks. Then the old ones disappear. It would be practically a full time job for months to keep straight and organized.

  • Guest

    I’m surprised he didn’t like the Cavs draft more – he had Bennett 3rd and Karasev 10th on his final big board.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Mel Burpin Turpin c’mon man!!!!!

  • The_Real_Shamrock


  • saggy

    Dinner Bell Mel!

    seriously – what the hell is Pelton even talking about? And what’s with his number/rating system. you’ve really got to have no life to come up with something like that.

    (I must say, this wasn’t one of my best comments so I will only rate it as a 0.93. A score of 1.77 is expected so my overall comment aggregate grade is -0.84)

  • saggy

    “Draft Experts” are just like weathermen: Their guess is as good as mine!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I proudly have no idea nor care to when it comes to all of these statistical breakdowns. I’ll leave that for those interested to rage over. What I do know is my aggregate seems to be shrinking with age and this is definitely not a good thing!

  • Steve

    You’ll have to show me your math. I can kind of see where you’re going, but am not getting eight spots. And how exactly do you want him to normalize?

    It’s not Pelton’s job to determine whether a team is going to immediately realize a player is sub-replacement. It looks like the Cavs plan to play the guy at the moment. If so, then yes, they should get negative WAR. We’re all smart enough to mentally adjust if/when the Cavs do relegate the guy to solely wearing suits and giving high fives. A second measure, giving all second rounders with negative WAR just a zero mark would be useful here. And completely disagree on it being silly to give the Lakers a +1.1. If he thinks they added some real value, it doesn’t matter that most people think the #48 pick is roster fodder.

    If anyone is using any report today to say the Cavs had a crap (or great) draft, they are a knucklehead. Little that has been written in the last 24 hours goes past the harmless fun/conjecture line. And it was only a horrible piece if you can’t be bothered to read all the work he did building up to it.

  • Lunch

    Ok… my last post was a tad harsh…… But my point still stands.