All credit for stats and much information goes to draftexpress.com, statsheet.com and eurobasket.com; three unique and awesome websites. Certainly I worked in an original opinion somewhere though.
Regarding the first round of the 2013 draft, I still think the Cavs benefit best by bringing aboard one player to the active roster next year. Kyrie, Tristan, Dion, 2013 lottery pick, and Zeller need to be surrounded by veteran talent: players to share lessons learned, teach them how to be pros, etc. Based on that thought, the nineteenth pick would be traded, Euro-stashed, or invested in a young player destined for a year of D-League time.
The latter scenarios present interesting opportunities to swing for the fences. The Cavaliers employ the aforementioned crew of youngsters, plus possess a multitude of future draft picks to acquire role players. Why not shoot for the moon with this year’s other first-rounder?
Here are some options.
Tony Mitchell – Over the last two seasons, I have been fairly practical about my pre-draft evaluating. This year, at #19, I say roll the dice; this North Texas sophomore fits that bill. Ranked 18th in the high school class of 2011, he resided above 2012 lottery picks Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross, Meyers Leonard, and Kendall Marshall. As an athletic, long combo-forward, after originally enrolling at Missouri he missed a season due to academic issues. Heading to North Texas, he flashed his impressive skills for one year, before mightily regressing this season, as his squad quit on their new coach. Certainly as the star player, the enigmatic Mitchell carries much blame for the team’s lackluster 13 – 18 record. Currently sitting 21st at draftexpress and 30th at ESPN, check out these per-game averages:
- Freshman – 29 minutes, 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1.6 assists on 57 / 44/ 74 shooting. His PER registered at thirty.
- Sophomore – 32 minutes, 13 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 0.8 assists on 44 / 30 / 68. His PER precipitously dove to twenty-one.
Can one year relegated to the D-League kick him in the butt and help him locate his ceiling? I would be willing to take that chance.
Giannis Adetokunbo – The 6’ – 9” Greek / Nigerian garners a look in the mid-to-late first round. Playing weak competition in the second-level Greek League, he averaged 22 minutes, 9.5 points, 5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 turnovers and 1 block on 46 / 31/ 72 shooting. His team lost in the championship, missing an opportunity to ascend to the Greek first division; Adetokunbo posted a disappointing 4 points, but supplemented it with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. His primary strengths include great length with smooth athleticism; relatively skilled, he frequently ran the team’s offense. Considering his age (basically a high school senior, he started last season at 17 years old) and size, his nearly 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio serves as a credit to his unique skill-set. Next season, he begins a four-year contract with Zaragoza in Spain’s first division, the world’s second-best national basketball league*, reportedly with attainable annual opt-outs (via draftexpress). Given his age, size, athleticism, burgeoning skill set, and chance to nurture in the Spanish ACB for a couple of years, he may be one of the few opportunities to snag a true difference-maker with the nineteenth pick.
Lucas Nogueira – A Brazilian Center with a 7’ – 5” wingspan, his early years were plagued by immaturity and lack of work ethic. Rumor says he improved in these regards, and his production appears to support that. Not turning 21 until July, Nogueira posted a 24.6 PER in over 400 minutes in the ACB this year, blocking nearly three shots per thirty-six minutes and converting 66% of his field goals as an effective pick-and-roll slasher and offensive rebounder. His contract in the ACB runs for one more year, and pairing him with a fellow Brazilian in 2014 – 2015 (Andy, for those not thinking very hard), could serve as a great springboard to rein in this youngster’s elite combination of size and athleticism.
There you have it. Three guys likely to be available at #19, with elite ceilings…of course, they also have floors of solid EuroLeague starter. This is the type of player I think should be targeted at #19 though.
* Apparently, Giannis has passport issues that impacted his ability to travel to the Nike Hoops Summit and could impact his ability to play in the Spanish ACB. This has to get resolved though, right? He can’t be forced to stay in Greece for the rest of his life, right?