Pat Tregoning’s Big Board: NBA Preview With the 2013 NBA Draft fast approaching us (Thursday Night

, 7:00 pm, ESPN and WatchESPN), the Cleveland Cavaliers are the team that everybody will be watching. Chris Grant, Dan and Nick Gilbert and company took home the first overall pick once again for the third time since 2003 (2003, 2011, 2013). In this draft, the Cavaliers will be drafting at numbers 1, 19, 31 and 33 (first and third picks in the second round). Unlike drafts in years past, there is no individual player that is a consensus number one like the previous years the Cavaliers picked first (LeBron James in 2003, Kyrie Irving in 2011). So the question is now, who should the Cavaliers select on Thursday Night? Should they accept a trade down to pick later in the Top 10? As of right now, it looks like if they do make a trade it won’t be until draft night. Until then, here is a sampling of players I think Chris Grant needs to take a serious look at with the first overall pick. (Players listed in alphabetical order) 1. Alex Len, C, University of Maryland, 7’1 255 lbs, Sophomore Season Stats: 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.1 BPG, 53.4 FG%, 68.6 FT% Awards and Accolades: None Strengths: When it comes to Len, many scouts are touting him as one of the most NBA ready bigs in this draft class. He can use his height to his advantage and he can stand down in the paint with the best of them. With a 7’ 4” wingspan, he has great physical potential. He has great agility for a big man of that size. Many scouts say he is one of the players with the biggest “ceiling” regarding the development of his game, particularly his game in the paint with his back to the basket as well. Weaknesses: When you look at Alex Len’s offensive game this past season at Maryland, it is kind of underwhelming. This is a negative that is raising red flags with NBA GM’s and scouts as well. This raises the question that “if you can’t dominate in college, how can you dominate at the next level?”. The other weakness about his game is that he is a man of “limited resources” when it comes to playing with his back to the basket.

2. Ben McLemore, SG, University of Kansas, 6’5” 190 lbs, Freshmen

Season Stats: 15.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 49.5% FG, 42% 3PT, 87% FT Awards/Accolades: 2013 All-Big 12 First Team, 2013 Consensus All-American Second Team Strengths: When it comes to Ben McLemore, many scouts see Ben as the best shooter in this draft (ala Bradley Beal last season). McLemore has one of the smoothest shooting motions around. He has truly outstanding athleticism that demonstrates good quickness and size for his position. Possesses a good vertical leap and length which allows him the ability to get up for the ball and crash the glass to pull down rebounds. He is also a great free throw shooter as well. Weaknesses: “B-Mac” has a couple of weaknesses that are sticking out to NBA scouts. To be a successful two guard in the NBA, you need to be able to get to the basket and create your own shot. This is a skill that McLemore is still needing to improve upon right now. Many scouts also see him as a bit “undersized” muscle wise for a shooting guard, so scouts are wanting to see him put on some more weight. The other weakness is that Ben McLemore at times “disappeared” in the Kansas offense this season, including the NCAA Tournament. McLemore needs to simply be more aggressive in the offense. He can light up the stat sheet, he just needs to be more aggressive to do so. 3. Nerlens Noel, C, University of Kentucky, 6’11” 206 lbs, Freshmen Season Stats (only played in 24 games due to ACL tear): 10.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 4.4 BPG, 2.1 SPG, 59 FG%, 52.9 FT% Awards: None Strengths: Although he only played in 24 games this past season, there are plenty of things that scouts see as strengths with Nerlens Noel. The number one ranked recruit coming out of high school, he is an athletic big man that can get up and down the floor. He has insane shot blocking ability, breaking the blocked shots record in only 24 games. Before he went down with the ACL tear, he was starting to show some development of an offensive game, averaging 13.0 PPG and 12 RPG shooting 65% from the field over the final 3 full games before the injury. Weaknesses:

Two simple words; his ACL. Many people are saying that Noel will probably not be ready to go until Christmas/New Years and even that is a speculation. His offensive game has a very long way to go, even with the improvement before his injury. The particular spots of his game he needs to improve include his free throw shooting and his perimeter game as well. The other weakness behind his game is his size. Many scouts believe that a center that is 206 lbs (and that is a friendly number, to be honest) is going to get eaten alive in the paint by NBA centers. Plain and simple he is a player that is high risk but also high reward as well. 4. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana University, 6’5” 215 lbs, Junior Season Stats: 13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.2 SPG, 59.9 FG%, 44.1 3PT%, 74.6 FT% Awards: 2013 Consensus First Team All American, 2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, 2013 All Big Ten First Team Strengths: I am really high on Oladipo. He has a high motor with insane athleticism that has explosiveness up and down the floor. He is drawing comparisons to Dwayne Wade in Miami because of his ability to attack and get to the rim. Also because they were both coached by Tom Crean as well. He has a tendency to be very clutch in crunch time (see Indiana-Temple from the NCAA Tournament, the famous call “OLADIPO!”). He is truly everything a coach would want in a player. Oladipo is not afraid to play defense. Weaknesses: Although his offensive game is getting better, he still needs to develop a consistency in his offensive game and perimeter shooting. He also needs to work to improve his ball handling so he can be able to cut down on his turnovers as well. 5. Otto Porter Jr, SF, Georgetown University, 6’8” 205 lbs, Sophomore Season Stats: 16.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 48%FG, 42% 3PT, 78%FT Awards: 2013 Big East Player of the Year, 2013 Consensus All-American First Team, 2013 All-Big East First Team Strengths: Otto is one of the most “NBA ready” players in this entire draft right now. He is a player that can get the job done on both the offensive and defensive sides of the floor. He holds a high basketball IQ as well. He has strong ball handling skills for a small forward as well. He has good basketball fundamentals; he knows how to handle the ball and distribute the ball as well. Very unselfish player.

Weaknesses: Undersized to a degree for his position. Scouts would like to see him bulk up just a bit more. He can also develop a more consistent 3 point shooting game as well. Scouts also think he could improve his ability to create his own shot as well.

So now that we took a look at some of the players to watch, here is my take. I think there are great options here to improve the Cavaliers. In the end though, here is my big board: 1. Victor Oladipo 2. Otto Porter Jr. 3. Nerlens Noel 4. Ben McLemore 5. Alex Len I think Oladipo would thrive in a system under Mike Brown which calls for strong defense. His ability to buckle down and play defense is something that the guard play for the Cavaliers last year lacked at times in my opinion. There you have it, now we wait to see what Chris Grant and company decide to do with the number one pick. They must know this, they need to get this pick right because if not, this could mark the end for the Chris Grant era here in Cleveland. Young Nick Gilbert said it best in a text message he sent to Chris Grant after they won the lottery, “I did my job, now you do yours”.