I just ran across an interesting story by Brian Windhorst detailing the Cavs draft day experince. Despite rumors suggestingt that they had simply pulled his name out of a hat as payment on a lost bet, the Cavs actually wanted to draft Dione Waiters this past Thursday evening. Through some mysterious process (extensive research including conversations with his college coaches, standard scouting of practices and games, and analysis of advanced statistics), the Cavs front office came to the conclusion that Waiters was at least the 4th best player in this year's draft. They were therefore excited when he was still available with the 4th pick.
I know it may seem like I'm harping on some stale agenda, but I'm a little perplexed by the back lash that Cleveland's gotten from these past 2 drafts. When a team does something unexpected, it's easy to assume it's due to lazy half-asses not doing their jobs or the fical whims of one percenters out of touch with reality. I know all of us secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wish we were NBA execs, wheeling, dealing, and finding the best value for our teams on draft day. Stories like this bring a little more insight into that process, and allow us to judge the product with a little more clarity. Here's a few tasty gems from the article:
Two months ago, when the team really started its draft process, there were about nine players who could've been its first pick. (Then several dozen or so more possibilities for the second pick, No. 24 overall.) By Thursday night, it was down to about four. There were numerous opinions and each scout and coach had slightly different lists. But it was pretty clear there were two names at the top once everything had been culled: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky and Dion Waiters of Syracuse.
When it was Kidd-Gilchrist whose name was called by Charlotte, Waiters was aligned to be a Cav. Barnes was under consideration, yes, but Waiters was the consensus pick. This wasn't known outside the room, which was the point, and certainly not very expected at the Cavs' draft party in downtown Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena. The fans there, unfamiliar with Waiters because of the limited discussion about him before the draft, booed when the pick was announced.
There was no false pretense; the executives and coaches were genuinely elated. They'd gotten a player they felt better about the more time they put into making the decision.