NBA: Chad Ford on Anthony Bennett, the 2014 draft and LeBron’s free agency

The Bill Simmons “WHOA!” will live on forever, but the fact is that there was no consensus number one pick in the 2013 draft. What also appears to be fact is that 2013 wasn’t a year merely without a consensus number one, but a down year in general for the NBA talent infusion process. How much of a down year remains to be seen, but the hype for 2014 is officially off the charts if you believe Chad Ford from his latest ESPN chat.

Sonic (Poland)

Would you trade A. Bennet for next year lottery pick (no 8-14)?Don’t want to write him off but am I wrong that in next year lottery may be better talent from no. 1 pick to no. 14 pick than in this year’s draft top 3?

Chad Ford (1:04 PM)

Top 10 pick? Yes. Not sure I’d go lower than that. Bennett has talent. He’s just out of shape and rusty. But the bigger point is that the 2013 NBA Draft just didn’t really have a true No. 1 pick. That’s why there was so much uncertainty leading up to the draft. I’d take anyone in my Top 7 right now over anyone in the 2013 Draft.

That certainly doesn’t speak to what Anthony Bennett can become, but it definitely is a bit of a wet blanket right this second for Cavs fans. It might just be the case that the Cavaliers were really lucky in the draft lottery in an off year. Imagine if the Cavaliers had somehow managed to win the lottery a year before and could have matched up Anthony Davis with Kyrie Irving?

I was talking to WFNY’s Andrew about this topic and he had the following response.

“I’m not sure who, specifically, Ford thinks the Cavs should have taken instead of Thompson or Waiters. Perhaps Jonas Valanciunas or Klay Thompson instead of Thompson and I suppose Andre Drummond over Waiters, but hindsight is easy to cover the fact that the Cavaliers simply had the unfortunate luck of picking high in a few drafts that were short of impact talent at the top.”

Of course any time Chad Ford chats with fans, the best basketball player on the planet is sure to come up. And until LeBron James retires, I don’t think Cleveland will be able to escape his shadow.

john (jacksonville)

What should miami heat do if big 3 leaves in free agency?

  Chad Ford (1:22 PM)

I don’t think they’re going anywhere … I love the idea of LeBron returning to Cleveland … but as long as Dan Gilbert is the owner, I don’t see it happening. Besides … I’m not sure the Cavs have drafted well enough to make it compelling for LeBron. Had they chosen differently on Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett? Maybe … but they’ve clearly missed a few times on players that could’ve been more helpful to their cause. Thank goodness for Kyrie Irving.

Thank goodness indeed. While many Cavs fans continue to talk about Mike Brown being the same old Mike Brown, the real question should be about the guy who is in his first rotation in his position. That’s general manager Chris Grant who needs to prove that he can build a top-tier NBA roster. So far, Grant’s biggest defenders are heard saying it’s too early and calling for patience more than they are standing up for the talent as it sits today on the Cavs roster. How much of that is circumstance and how much of that is Chris Grant’s responsibility won’t matter if the Cavaliers don’t eventually compete at a very high level in the league.

[Related: Kyrie vs Rose: (Almost) The Matchup We’ve All Been Waiting For]

  • FearTheRoo

    Yeah Thompson was a bad pick…that’s why he’s almost averaging a double-double this season (12.9ppg & 9.7rpg). Some could say he’s been the Cavs best player so far.

  • matt underwood

    F LeBron – He can F himself in his A. Never want him to play fro the Cavs again.

  • @TheDeePagel

    I hear what you’re saying and agree for the most part….but if on one hand we are going to say it’s too early to make a definitive judgment on Waiters and Bennett being busts….then don’t we need to be fair and say the same thing when we say Thompson is not a bust?

  • thenoclist

    Thompson was a great pick and anyone who thinks otherwise just says so because of Gilbert hatred. I would have personally taken Barnes over Waiters but Waiters has been playing well.

  • maxfnmloans

    he can fight himself in his apartment? Is he going to start a fight club like Ed Norton?

  • stryker1121

    He’s improved his game over the last couple years, showing he’s not a bust. Whether he’s more than a low-end double-double guy remains to be seen..but i think we can say he’s no bust.

  • jeff

    you wouldn’t want the best player in the game to come play for your team because he hurt your feelings 4 summers ago?

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    This comment is doubly good since matt underwood is replying to himself. I am matt underwood’s sense of inner turmoil.

  • Steve

    Thompson has been nice, though I’m hoping he can cross the 50% from the floor mark this year, you’d hope a guy in his position would be just a bit more efficient from the floor. But people who would have preferred Valanciunas or are going “man, if we had Faried or Leonard instead” are just Gilbert haters? That’s a bit rough.

    And Drummond over Waiters was an easy pick.

  • Steve

    And I’m still hesitant to say Waiters has been playing well. If the 3’s can keep falling at this rate, then we have a nice role player. But even with the 3’s falling this year, he’s near the bottom of the list of 2’s in TS%, while not bringing a whole lot else to the court. Potential is there, but he’s still got a ways to go.

  • thenoclist

    ok steve

  • Steve

    Good to know that we’re all in agreement then and there’s nothing more to discuss.

  • thenoclist

    but Steve, you changed your name to jeff

  • Steve

    Shocking, I know, but there is someone else out there who appears to have the same opinion as me regarding Lebron – there’s nothing more to be gained by being upset about Lebron.

  • thenoclist

    ok, i have been discussing thompson and waiters. not sure where lebron fits in.

  • Steve

    So that wasn’t a reference to the post a couple spots up, you know, the only one by someone named “jeff”, who you specifically referred to? Fine then, let’s talk Thompson and Waiters, I’m still waiting on you to say anything more than “ok steve”.

  • Guest

    Disqus must be playing tricks on me, your username began as Steve and has since changed to jeff.

  • thenoclist

    It’s just very tiring. I could have stated your exact opinion and you still would have disagreed with it. Everytime I see a notification from ‘Steve’ I begrudgingly come read it because I know it’s going to be some sort of passive agressive attack on what I wrote. It just gets old, and ‘ok steve’ was all I could muster this time. Apologies.

  • Steve

    If you had stated my exact opinion, you would have received a tick in the up arrow box. Sometimes, people do have differing opinion from you, and it’s not a serious indictment on either person. Instead of calling it “some sort of passive agressive [sic] attack” (seriously what was an attack, much less a passive aggressive one?) you could participate in a dialogue.

  • mgbode

    I wasn’t a huge Drummond fan (as you know), but looking back at my mocks, even I had him over Waiters (my Cavs top5: Davis, MKG, Beal, J.Lamb, Drummond). So, there is a valid argument there.

    Thompson has been way better than any at the time expected. I don’t know if anyone had Faried as high as #4 overall though (personally, I had him 12th). And, I loved Kawhi and had him in the top5 for the Cavs, but, yeah, I had Jonas above him too. Tristan was outside the top12 for me because he was brutal on offense for Texas and I saw a ton of the Longhorns here. He just couldn’t shoot whatsoever. He has proven me (and alot of others) wrong and he’s continued to improve and is among the best of his class.

  • mgbode


    best on the Cavs in simple rating of players with decent minutes. if he’s not playing well, then noone on the team is either 🙂

    and, yes, I do agree he has a ways to go, but he’s been playing relatively well for what he was and the growth is encouraging in the small sample size thus far.

  • Steve

    I’m pretty much on board with you but, as you probably know, I was a big Drummond fan, I would have taken him #2 overall.

    I think Thompson is perfectly fine. Not a bad pick, but I wouldn’t get upset at anyone for going “shucks, there were some better moves to be made”, with some of them being perfectly legitimate top five picks, though, as you mention, this would exclude Faried.

  • Steve

    As you mention, too small a sample, and like I said “hesitant”. The defense has improved, and a lot more quickly than I expected, and that goes for a lot of the roster (huge kudos to Brown here). Are those 3’s going to continue to fall too? I thought he would end up a decent outside shooter, but he’s topped 40% so far this year.

  • mgbode

    well, hopefully, he gains in his 2pt% and FT% for anything he loses in 3pt% (those are terrible this year, which is why his TS% is so low). I do realize that would likely be an overall loss in efficiency from this start, but my hope is that he can get his 2pt% back to where he was last season while some of the gains from this 3pt stretch are real (he seems to be getting more open looks this year).

    add that into the defensive and rebounding improvements we have seen and that is a nice year of progression.

  • mat underwood

    Yup, that’s right – Sh*t on the fans, teammates and the city. I hope he gets run over by a bus.

  • ch

    People were freaking out over O.J Mayo. Started terrible and worked his way up. Tons of those slasher, spotty shooters have to come into their own.
    And I love T-T.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Unfortunately, non-Cavs fans don’t know much about our team except that we’ve sucked since Voldemort left. Every pick has been a bust (Kyrie can’t stay healthy, we took Thompson over Jonas V, we took Waiters over Barnes, etc…) And those non-bandwagon non-Cavs fans (especially at BS-PN) continue to throw the same tired comments out there. They highlight everything that our players do wrong (except Kyrie) and highlight everything the other guys we “should have picked” do right.
    The same thing was happening when there was still a public debate on who was better between Kobe and Voldemort. They highlighted every Kobe make…while blasting every time Voldemort failed to get something right…even when the stats showed for years that Voldemort was better.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Or they think so because they don’t follow the Cavs and just go with what BSPN’s tired lines of we should have taken Jonas V over Thompson. But yeah…it must be because of Gilbert Hatred…

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I’m with you Jeff. Regardless of how he did us wrong, I’d take a shot at bringing him in. A lineup that had TT, Lebron, Dion and Kyrie in it just seems so exciting. Three legit ball-handlers in Lebron, Dion and Kyrie. With Kyrie and Dion already starting to learn how to play off of each other, it adds a whole ‘nother dynamic to the offense to add in a guy as talented as Lebron.

  • BenRM

    It’s hard to disagree with Ford regarding last year’s draft. It sucked. It was bad.

    I think the Bennett pick boiled down to this: He’s not a big man with a serious lower body injury (see: Ming, Zydrunas, etc.).

    Honestly, as much as I like Waiters and his attitude, the Cavs probably should have gone with Barnes last year so they could reasonably draft Oladipo this year. I think they’d have been much better for it.