On the Valanciunas buyout

June 21st, 2011 by John Krolik

Well, things have just gotten more complicated. According to Chad Ford, there are some buyout issues with Jonas Valanciunas, who most mock drafts had going to the Cavs with the #4 pick and whom I’d kind of fallen in love with. Obviously, things are now more complicated than they were. As I see it, the Cavs now have the following options:

1. Draft Irving at the #1, Draft Valanciunas at the #4, and wait a year for Jonas to come to these United States of America. This would be what I would want, but it appears unlikely the Cavs will pursue this option.

Here’s my justification: Do I think that Valanciunas will be a better player in the 2012-13 season than Kanter or any other non-point guard player who will be available at the #4 spot? I do. Do I believe the Cavs are ready to make a serious playoff run in 2011-12? I do not. Given those two conclusions, I think it makes sense to take the best player, wait the year, and not settle on a lesser player because of impatience.

Top-5 picks do not come often. And if the Cavs end up being horrible again and getting another high-lottery pick next season instead of flirting with the 7th or 8th slot, I think that would ultimately be for the best. The variable here is that we never know exactly how buyouts will go — the Cavs certainly wouldn’t want to risk a Rubio, or, dare I say it, Fran Vasquez situation.

2. Take Irving at the #1 spot and take Kanter with the #4 if the Jazz go with Knight. If the Jazz go with Kanter, you take a risk on either Vesely, Leonard, or Biyombo with the #4. I like Kanter a LOT less than I like Valanciunas, because I worship at the altar of Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler and think Al Jefferson is the most overrated player in basketball. This DX tidbit is pretty much a deal-breaker for me on Kanter:

This lack of experience shows up first and foremost on the defensive end, where Kanter was incredibly ineffective in the film we watched. His fundamentals, instincts and positioning leave a lot to be desired. He can often be found standing straight up in the paint with his arms down, putting in little to no effort. He rarely boxes out his opponent and generally looks disinterested in anything that has to do with defense. He rarely bends his knees and often fails to get back in transition–doing very little to protect the paint when he does.

From DraftExpress.comhttp://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Enes-Kanter-5168/#ixzz1Ptfnq191

Yikes. Thanks, but no thanks.

Vesely is a huge question mark. I don’t know much about Leonard, but he seems to scream “need pick.” I could actually sell myself on Bismack. He would be considered a MASSIVE reach, but it looks like he’s the best defensive player in several drafts, and the team DESPERATELY needs a defensive identity.

Varejao’s high-post skills actually do exist, he’s a natural 4 on defense, and both Varejao and Biyombo are great post defenders as well as great help-side/rotation defenders. There are worse default options than being able to roll out one of the best defensive frontcourts in the league. And a Biyombo/Hickson froncourt could actually work defensively, even though I think Hickson’s high-post skills aren’t good enough to make that frontcourt really click offensively.

3. Take Williams with the #1 and pick either Knight or Walker with the #4. I don’t love this. I’m 95-100% sold on Irving, 75-80% sold on Williams, and maybe 50% sold on Walker and Knight. Maybe they’ll become the next Durant and Westbrook, but I’m of the Moneyball theory of scouting to some extent — pro basketball isn’t a great place for guys to remake themselves. Knight and Walker weren’t efficient in college. Irving was hyper-efficient. Williams was hyper-efficient, but he doesn’t have a defensive position and the Cavs desperately need a defensive identity.

This draft is about building from the ground up. I think that starts with a guy who can definitely run an offense (Irving), and a guy who can help give the Cavs a defensive identity at the 4. I don’t know if an offense can be built around Williams, and in this scenario, the Cavs don’t address any defensive concerns. I don’t like that.

4. Try and pull off a trade with the #4 and land Irving and Williams. I actually have mixed feelings about this (DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE), but Williams is certainly a hell of an offensive player, and an Irving/Williams tandem would give the Cavs something to build around offensively.

The question here is whether it can actually happen. I have no idea what it would take to get that #2 pick. If it’s Hickson, Baron Davis, and the #4, done, although I would honestly have some reservations about giving up on Jonas. For the love of Pete, he’s a true 7-footer who loves defense and rebounding and shot 70% from the field and 90% from the FT line. Defense and efficiency incarnate. I LOVE defense and efficiency, which is why I hate Antawn Jamison.

Those are the options as I see them. We’ll see which one the Cavs go with on Thursday. For now, I’m sad that Cavs: The Blog’s official man-crush on Jonas Valanciunas seems like it will end before it ever really got a chance to begin. I shall weep for thee, Jonas. By the way, a pox on the house of Harrison Barnes, unless the Cavs are really bad again next season. (I actually might have taken Jonas over Barnes. I’m telling you, I am/was a man obsessed.)

Also, any time Sasha Kaun wants to come over, that would be very nice.