CLEVELAND — Chris Grant has a tendency to surprise everyone with his early selections in the NBA Draft, and according to a story in the Washington Post, he may be preparing to do it again.
Grant is the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who own the No. 1 overall pick after winning Tuesday’s lottery.
While plenty can happen between now and the June 27 draft, one thing we know for sure is Grant has started the process of figuring out his summer moves. It all starts with the top pick.
Most mock drafts have the Cavs choosing either Kentucky center Nerlens Noel or Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, and those two are indeed in play. However, they may not be alone.
The man slotted to go no higher than third by many experts, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter, could be moving on up.
“A source with knowledge of the Cavaliers’ thinking said Porter is under consideration to go No. 1,” according to the Post.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a major shocker, as FOX Sports Ohio sources have said the Cavs are less-than-enamored with Noel, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in February and is expected to miss all of training camp and part of the 2013-14 season.
On top of that, Noel is 6-foot-11 but weighed in at just 206 pounds at the draft combine.
After winning the lottery, Grant told reporters there is no “clear-cut, obvious, no-holds barred” choice with the first overall pick. While not naming names, he also pointed out that there are some medical issues involved with this draft.
As for McLemore, a lot of folks wonder what the Cavs would do with both him and Dion Waiters, their starting shooting guard for most of his first season and a member of the first-team All-Rookie team. McLemore faded at the end of the college season and did not impress at last week’s combine.
Meanwhile, Porter fills a need, as the Cavs would supposedly prefer to have current starting small forward Alonzo Gee coming off the bench.
Grant drafted Waiters with the fourth overall pick last summer, which was higher than many had Waiters pegged. Grant also selected power forward Tristan Thompson at No. 4 (again, higher than projected) the year before that.
Entering that same draft, there was some debate among fans and media over whether the Cavs would choose Irving or Derrick Williams with the first overall pick. But it has been said Grant was heavily leaning toward Irving all along — and that’s who Grant chose, with Williams going second to Minnesota.
Porter is 6-8 and averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds this past season as a sophomore with the Hoyas. He shot 48 percent from the field, including 42 percent on 3-pointers, and is viewed as a strong defender and solid passer who played well within Georgetown’s fairly disciplined system.
That last part might make Porter particularly intriguing to Grant because the Cavs are “incorporating the San Antonio Spurs model for team building, focusing on fit and character as much as, if not more than, talent,” the Post reported.
The Cavs are expected to begin bringing in prospects for individual workouts within the next few weeks.
Porter said at the combine he views himself as a versatile player who warrants consideration near the top of the draft.
“I definitely see myself up there,” he said.
And it’s Grant and the Cavs who are in the position of determining who goes at the very top.
“The Cavaliers are reportedly open to moving the pick, but they also have an obvious need at small forward, which makes Porter a possibility to join Irving in Cleveland,” the Post reported.