Grant wraps up Cavs' season
INDEPENDENCE -- Random thoughts from Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant’s season-ending press conference Monday:
1. League rules forbid Grant from commenting on prospects until after the draft, but the Cavs are likely less-than-thrilled that talents like North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger have decided to return to college. But so is everyone else who owns a lottery pick, for that matter.
2. That said, the Cavs also seem to share the philosophy of a few other league executives, who told FOX Sports Ohio there is still plenty of talent in this draft. “Anyone who says this is a weak draft, or that those guys going back to school makes the draft a lot worse, really hasn’t been paying attention,” said one Eastern Conference exec.
3. Also, Grant did give the best response he could, implying the draft doesn’t really ever change. “Every year, we know one thing: There are 10-15 good players (entering the draft),” he said.
4. As Grant later added, it’s up to the Cavs “to identify and get as many of those guys as we can.” He also said “we can’t control who's in the draft,” and the Cavs “are in a good spot” regardless -- owning two lottery picks and a $14.5 million trade exception.
5. Needless to say, it’s always easier to have a sunny disposition at this time of year. But Grant isn’t just blowing smoke. It would be hard to find a non-playoff team with more assets than the Cavs. And while Grant has never so much as hinted at this, you can always trade draft picks for young or veteran talent (although, again, there is no indication the Cavs are exploring such a move).
6. Basically, the point in all this is Cavs fans don’t need to panic over who’s in and who’s out of the draft. Of course, they will anyway, because that is just what Cleveland sports fans do. If you’re a Cavs fan, you’re probably convinced the team will end up having to draft two 5-foot-9 shooting guards from Guam.
7. For those of you who still want to cry over Barnes, consider what a few GMs told NBA.com. Most said Barnes is making the right decision, because he’s probably not yet ready to help an NBA team.
8. GM No. 1: “He doesn’t do enough things to wow you. I haven't seen it. Even when he scored those 40 points (against Clemson in the ACC tournament), I was like, ‘He's doing it effortlessly from the perimeter but he's not doing much else.’”
9. GM No. 2: “As a shooter, his percentage is pretty mediocre. He doesn't beat people off the dribble at all. But he can play. I do think his shooting will get a lot better.”
10. This isn’t meant to trash Barnes, because most in the league rave about his upside. Rather, it’s just to show he’s not likely an NBA franchise-changer at this point.
11. The Cavs need help everywhere, but it’s clear they are mostly lacking at the swing positions of shooting guard and small forward. But as Grant wisely said, the Cavs aren’t going to “pass on potential to fill a position.”
12. With guys like Barnes returning to school, others such as Connecticut guard Kemba Walker and BYU guard Jimmer Fredette are moving up in the draft. It could also be good news for guys like Cleveland State guard Norris Cole, who was considered an early second-rounder. Those fringe types may now be late first-rounders.
13. As you know, the Cavs have their own pick, and that belonging to the L.A. Clippers. If the ping-pong balls fall perfectly, they can end up with the first two selections. The worst the Cavs can do is No. 5 and No. 11. But again, the latter is an absolute worst-case scenario.
14. Grant also discussed the trade exception, saying the Cavs would “like to use it” before it expires on July 1. But “there are worse things” than letting it expire. “We don’t want to take on a bad contract,” Grant said.
15. Finally, the GM conceded that no one on the current roster is untouchable. “There isn’t anybody we wouldn’t trade,” he said. “But there are a few guys that would be very difficult for us to move.”
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