Cavs fans should enjoy stroke of luck

BY foxsports • May 18, 2011

Random thoughts on Tuesday’s NBA lottery:

* Let me start by saying I forbid any Cavaliers fan from declaring that this draft stinks. When you have the No. 1 and No. 4 pick, it never stinks. Accept that now, and we can move on.

* Plus, you don’t know how good or bad a draft is until three years down the road. So just enjoy it, Cleveland. It sure beats finishing second and eighth, or worse, fifth and 11th.

* As Tom Withers of the Associated Press said, you can count the number of great nights in Cleveland sports on one hand. This is definitely one of them.

* I admire Cavs general manager Chris Grant for refusing to indicate who the Cavs will pick first. Grant was being wise for several reasons. First, a lot of things can happen between now and draft night (June 23), especially when it comes to workouts and physicals. So it’s way too early to put all your faith in one prospect. Second, Grant is doing the smart thing by keeping everyone else guessing. The Cavs have all the power right now. Why not hold onto it?

* That said, it’s interesting how former Duke guard Kyrie Irving has already become a favorite in the hearts of Cavs fans. If the Cavs were to put jerseys with Irving’s name on the back in stores, they would already be sold out.

* I too am enamored with Irving, and I do indeed think that’s who the Cavs will take with their first selection. Let’s forget about his stellar game for a minute. He’s known as a classy kid through and through, a bright young man with lots of personality and a knack for saying the right thing. It’s extremely obvious he’s also a kid who isn’t too in love with himself. Quite the opposite.

* San Antonio is the model for every small-market team that longs for dynasty-type success. When the Spurs were in Cleveland this past season, coach Gregg Popovich was asked how it's happened. “We tend to draft guys who have gotten over themselves,” he said. That seems to be dead-on when describing Irving.

* DraftExpress.com wrote, “Productive, efficient, unselfish, exciting -- there's really no shortage of ways to describe (Irving). He's managed to take an NCAA Tournament championship team and make them even better, acting as their main facilitator, shot-maker and go-to guy.”

* Irving really did look like all those things and more as the best point guard in the college game this past season. He exhibited the type of speed and court savvy that kept defenses off-balance and unable to stop him from driving to the basket. He probably isn’t as quick as Derrick Rose or Chris Paul, but Irving will enter the NBA as a better perimeter shooter than either of those two did.

* That is why Steve Nash is the first name that comes to my mind when making comparisons. Like Nash, Irving can control a game without ever forcing a thing, but has the skills to take over. He can play either up-tempo or half-court basketball and remain a threat. As DraftExpress wrote, “Dominant when needed, but still deferential enough to keep all of Duke's many other options happy.” Now that’s a true point guard.

* Obviously, there are concerns about the fact Irving  played in just 11 games during his one year of college. But so what? It’s really no different than him entering the league straight out of high school -- something the game’s biggest stars (Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James) used to do all the time.

* We will have plenty more about the Cavs, the lottery and prospects other than Irving on FOXSportsOhio.com between now and June 23. So be sure to stay tuned. Heck, I haven’t even gotten into what the Cavs might do with the fourth pick yet!


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