Cavs going International?

BY foxsports • May 11, 2011

An NBA lockout appears certain, and it's already having an impact on the draft. Not only have some top prospects returned to college, but teams may be altering their approach on whom they'll select.

That includes the Cavaliers, one of two teams with two lottery picks (Utah is the other).

According to league insiders, the threat of a lockout is causing teams to place more of their focus on international prospects. That makes sense, because international prospects are already playing overseas. So if the league shuts down, nothing would change for them.

On the other hand, American draftees would be sitting … and sitting … and waiting … for their rookie seasons to start.

"As far as the Cavs are concerned, there seems to be more emphasis on looking at European players, like (Jonas) Valanciunas, (Jan) Vesely and (Bismack) Biyombo," an NBA scout told FOX Sports Ohio. "I think the Cavs and most teams are going to favor international players in the draft with the lockout looming. Euros will stay where they are. But what will the American kids do?"

Valanciunas is a center from Lithuania, Vesely a small forward from the Czech Republic, and Biyombo a forward-center from the Congo. Each is expected to be selected within the top 14 picks. But because of the lockout situation, each may have moved into the top six or seven.

The scout also predicted that the second-round, in particular, will be packed with international names. Again, it's because teams can keep guys stashed, and active, overseas.

Then again, it's not like the Cavs are guaranteed to take a non-American player. They finished with the second-worst record in the league behind Minnesota, which means they have the second-best shot at the No. 1 overall pick -- and best chance to draft No. 2.

The scout listed the top four prospects (in order) as Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, Arizona forward Derrick Williams, Valanciunas and Kentucky center Enes Katner. He said the fifth prospect is still up in the air between Vesely, Connecticut guard Kemba Walker, Kentucky guard Brandon Knight and Lithuanian center Donatas Motiejunas.

In other words, if the Cavs land one of the top two picks in Tuesday's lottery, they're still likely to buy American.

"It all depends on where they draft," the scout said. "In a perfect scenario, they'll take Kyrie Irving. That's who they want most."

He was somewhat less certain about Williams.

"J.J. Hickson makes you think the Cavs don't have to take a Derrick Williams," the scout said, comparing Williams to New Orleans forward David West. "The Cavs could still (draft Williams), but then they would have to figure out what to do with J.J., and decide whether he's still part of their foundation."

Around the NBA

* Washington introduced some cool new uniforms, and now there's talk of a name change. It seems most fans are considerably less-than-thrilled with "Wizards." Owner Ted Leonsis said the team will remain the Wizards for now, but left the door open for a new nickname down the road.

* One blogger from Washington suggested the nickname be changed to "Monuments." Makes sense. Aside from the landmark in our nation‘s capital, the Wizards' ownership group just changed its own name to Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

* Philadelphia team president Rod Thorn on the 76ers' performance vs. Miami in the first-round of the playoffs: "You can make the case that we were every bit as competitive as the Celtics against them."

* Still, the Sixers will be among the many teams looking to improve via trades this summer (assuming the lockout doesn't shut down such transactions) -- and swingman Andre Iguodala continues to be at the center of all rumors involving the team. "We have a high-character team and with the coach we have (Doug Collins) we can get a lot out of them," GM Ed Stefanski told Philly.com. "But we have to add more people that are big and physical."

* Houston has interviewed Kevin McHale for its vacant coaching position. They also told former assistant coach Jack Sikma he is no longer in the running.

* The University of Kentucky's John Calipari is now being mentioned as Phil Jackson's successor with the Lakers. You can probably count on that talk continuing until someone officially shoots it down.


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