Let’s talk about a rebuilding plan

March 4th, 2011 by John Krolik

Another day closer to the beginning of Baron Davis’ time in Cleveland. I figure this is as good a time as any to talk about the Cavs’ rebuilding plan.

Some quick draft thoughts, which should absolutely be taken with a grain of salt since I don’t really watch college basketball:

– I figure that if the Cavs have a chance to draft Irving, they should do it. He projects as an above-average NBA point guard, and everyone else in the top five is a massive question mark. “Intriguing” forwards will break your heart with stunning regularity, and a power forward’s first job is to be a defensive lynchpin. Sullinger is probably the guy the Cavs will go with if Irving is off the board, and I’m fine with that, although I wonder if he can show on pick-and-rolls hard enough or hit enough jumpers to succeed at the NBA level.

– With the second lottery pick, I like Barnes. He’s inconsistent, but he has more talent than anybody else in that range, and he’ll give the Cavs a much-needed scoring punch. Also, the Cavs currently have a starting SF controversy, and Alonzo Gee is involved.

– This is how I’ve talked myself into the Baron trade: I would take Jimmer Fredette over Mo Williams tomorrow. Mo has proven that his only elite NBA skill is spot-up three-point shooting and his only other passable NBA skill is playmaking. Jimmer will likely go several picks after the Cavs’ pick. As for the money, it’s not my money, and no top free agents are coming to Cleveland anyways.

That’s all I really have on that. Onto the grander rebuilding plan. I think there are three general team-building plans with current NBA models. Here they are:

Model #1: The Miami/New York model

The idea here is to use cap space and the allure of a big market and/or a great climate to lure superstar free agents and become an instant contender. This will not happen in Cleveland unless the Cavs turn their trade exception into downtown Hong Kong.

Model #2: The Oklahoma City Model

Draft a transcendent scorer, keep him from being too good in his first two years, use high draft picks to draft another great offensive player and a solid supporting player, activate transcendent scorer in his third year and unleash his fury upon the league. Fill the rest of the team with solid role players and character guys. Be successful as both a great defensive team with decent offense and a great offensive team with decent defense in consecutive years for no apparent reason. A good model, but it’s tough to bank on hitting two absolute home runs in the span of a couple years.

Model #3: The Chicago Model

My favorite one. Derrick Rose is a great player, but let’s be honest, he’s no LeBron or Dwight Howard. You can’t plug him into any lineup in the league and guarantee at least 50 wins. Chicago’s success is all about the defensive system.

Get a player who can create shots and run an offense, get a guy with a real defensive vision, and find players who are going to fit into that defensive system. Chicago doesn’t need top-level talents to put around their superstar, just guys like Ronnie Brewer and Taj Gibson. Compare the amount of talent the Bulls have needed to become contenders to the amount of talent the Suns needed to become contenders. Kinda crazy, huh? There is no way the Cavs are going to become relevant again unless they are more than the sum of their parts. One unit, one system, focused on defense, with every player having a part in that system. If that happens, this team won’t need to wait for the next LeBron or Durant/Westbrook to become competitive again.