NBA Draft Notes & LeBron Thoughts

By Kenny Roda

The Draft

I spoke recently with a number of NBA sources including a front office exec from one NBA team. Here’s some intel that I gathered:

Kyrie Irving is the logical number #1 overall pick, if he’s healthy. He’s a good kid, with a high basketball IQ. While he may not be great at one thing, he’s very good at a number of things. He shot over 50% from the field, 45% from 3-point country and 90% from the free throw line. He’s great mixture of a pass first point guard and a scoring point guard. There’s a big difference between he and Brandon Knight talent wise, if, and this was pointed out to me a number of times, ‘IF” Irving’s healthy! That’s up to the Cavs doctor’s to find out.

Derrick Williams is a 4, or a power forward! He wants everyone to believe he’s a 3, but in almost all NBA circles he’s viewed as a 4. He doesn’t have the handle to be a 3, to create his own shot, and won’t be able to keep up defensively. Also one NBA exec told me that Williams just needs to shut up and play wherever his next coach tells him to play.

Jan Vesley is a on the move up the draft charts. The reason his stock is rising is because he has played at a high level recently, he’s a bit older than the other Euro’s in this draft, and oh yeah he’s 6”10 –220, can finish strong at the rim, and his outside shot is more than average with good range. An NBA comparison that was given to me, a combo of Tom Chambers and Andrei Kirilenko! Cavs fans keep an eye on Vesley come Thursday night. I love what I’ve seen and heard about him!

Jonas Valanciunas seems to be the leader in the clubhouse amongst the “BIGS” in the Cavs eyes. While he needs to get stronger and is a bit raw offensively, his upside is much greater than that of the other center the Cavs are considering, Enes Kanter. “V” from “Z’s” home country of Lithuania, plays more above the rim than Kanter due to his length and 7’7 wing span. He’s a great offensive rebounder, giving his team extra possessions and isn’t afraid to mix up for a 19 year old Euro. “Z” was more offensively skilled at that age, but “V” is a far better defender at this point. Plus his footwork is good and is athletic for a 6’11 center. Defensively Valanciunas plays like Joakim Noah and has more offensive potential. He also has good hands! Kanter is more ready to play now, and is more physical. I was told Kanter’s NBA comparison is a more skilled Za Za Pachulia.

The one hang up with “V” may be his contract over seas. If that becomes a major sticking point, the Cavs and some other teams could pass on him. The Cavs can pay up to $500,000 dollars towards the buyout, but then Valanciunas must pay the remaining portion of the buyout.

I’ll be keeping an eye on 2 teams that might be willing to trade in the lottery, Minnesota and Sacramento. The Timberwolves want some veteran help instead of a draft pick, while the Kings are looking to save money by dumping salary and not taking on any more. That’s where that trade exception could come in to play for Chris Grant and the Cavs! If it’s Minnesota, that’s where the Cavs could hit the daily double in getting both Irving and Williams. Also don’t count out owner Dan Gilbert and him possibly buying another 1st round pick somewhere. Other players to keep an eye on Cavs fans, either in the 1st round or in the 2nd round are: Marshon Brooks, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, JaJuan Johnson, Donatas Motiejunas, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic.

LEBRON THOUGHTS

One NBA executive told me that he wasn’t surprised that LeBron James struggled in crunch time of the NBA Finals. He pointed out that, didn’t we see the same thing last year in the playoffs against Boston? In other words, LeBron didn’t quit last year, he just choked, or froze, or panicked, or all of the above! I was told LeBron is an anxious, high anxiety kid all the time, not just in crunch time, but that’s when it’s magnified! And boy doesn’t that look to be accurate and true.

Another source told me that LeBron has just as much trouble handling losing, as he does handling pressure. He just tries to block out the disappointment of losing as if it didn’t happen, or it’s no big deal, so he can forget about it, so it won’t bother him. That attitude reportedly did not go over well with his Miami teammates following their loss to the Mavs in this year’s NBA Finals. He was reportedly called out about it by one of his prominent teammates.

Hey LeBron maybe you should ask for some help, instead of thinking you can do, and solve everything yourself. And I’m not talking “LRMR” help. I’m talking a sports psychologist help. Or find a mentor to learn from. Sydney Crosby has one, and his name is already on the Stanley Cup. Rory McIlroy got some advice from the “Golden Bear” and he just won his 1st “Major” and did so in record fashion. Just some advice from a guy who’s on that list you’ve been keeping.

 

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7 Comments

  1. I’ve been saying this ever since the end of the finals. LeBron needs to find his own personal Mr. Miyagi, head off to some remote location and work all summer on his game, both mentally and physically. That is, if he actually wants to get any of those rings he predicated for “himself” and the Heat.

  2. Good thoughts, Kenny. You always do a great job and I love your support for Cleveland teams while also being pretty realistic. I’m excited to see what the Cavs will do at the Draft, but I have no clue about any of the foreign players and a lot seems to be rumor. Then again, it’s that time of year.

  3. I keep hearing this phrase lately “Derrick Williams doesn’t have the handle”? So now I am not suppose to believe what my lying eyes saw in the NCAA Tournament? In college Derrick Williams longed like a man amougst boys creating his own shots, while handling the ball just fine facing double and triple teams… But now he doesn’t have a handle… Hummmmmm? Thanks again Kyrie Nation! Derrick Williams does have a handle and it is called BALLER! I will laugh at ALL OF YOU years from now for passing on Williams and not believing what your now lying eyes showed you! Experts? The experts said the Heat in seven this year. The experts said Darko over Wade and Anthony. The experts told Portland to pick Greg Oden over Durrant and I watch the expert let Paul Pierce drop in his draft to #10. The experts said Charles Barkley was too short to play power forward…. So don’t believe what you saw in Williams in college now and just me men enough later to say… I WAS WRONG AND MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE SHUT UP RATHER THAN TELL DERRICK WILLIAMS TO SHUT UP!

  4. I keep hearing this phrase lately “Derrick Williams doesn’t have the handle”? So now I am not suppose to believe what my lying eyes saw in the NCAA Tournament? In college Derrick Williams looked like a man amongst boys creating his own shots, while handling the ball just fine facing double and triple teams. Yet now, I’m being told “Derrick Williams doesn’t have a handle. Hummmmmm? Derrick Williams does have a handle and the handle has a name…. BALLER! I will laugh at the whole Kyrie Nation for listening to the experts when Derrick Williams becomes a all star in the NBA! I will laugh at you all once again when you didn’t want to believe what your lying eyes showed you because of the so-called experts. Experts? The experts said the Heat in seven. The experts said Darko over Wade and Anthony. The experts also once said Charles Barkley was too short to play poward forward in the NBA. The experts told Portland to pick Greg Oden over Durant and watched Paul Pierce drop in his draft to #10. So don’t believe what your lying eyes showed you because of the experts. THANKS AGAIN KYRIE NATION!

  5. This draft is super important for the cavs for obvious reasons. while im sure kyrie is talented and has potential out the butt and COULD have a great career somewhere. the OIC factor PLUS the duke factor AND the injury scare me. I just have a nasty pit of my stomach feeling about it.

    Without a doubt the best move to make here is take williams then take kemba at 4. I hear alot of people talk about kemba like he is jason terry. I know thats not exactly a diss. I also know that no one thinks he is a fit for the cavs. I see a guard who knows how to win, period. Not a point? the guy avg 5 assists. almost 6 in the best conference in college. he also avg close to 5 boards. not to mention he can score in bunches. In the title game when the whole team struggled he still managed 16 points and 8 boards. meaning he finds extra things to do when his shot isnt there and his teamates struggle.

    and you can still trade or buy or whatever the 8th or 9th pick. might even be able to get a vessely there. or if this V guy falls get him too. by end of next season you could have a starting 5 of baron kemba vessely williams and hickson. bringing andy,sessions off bench as first options with prolly hollins. thats assuming no trades of players happen. eventually baron will go tho. maybe have a kemba iguodola vessely williams hickson starting 5? cant tell me that doesnt make the 7th or 8th seed in the east.
    just my 2 cents…..ok maybe 4.

  6. Unlike most, I’m not so quick to follow public perception. While Irving may be the consensus #1 pick, it doesn’t make him the best pick for the Cav’s. I think the Cav’s feel pressure to select Irving, based on public, and national perception, of what they should do. Williams at times has been dominant. He improved every facet of his game from the previous season. He had a stellar showing in the NCAA Tournament, ousting Irving, and Duke. I think the Cav’s should select Williams, and consider the possibility of getting Knight at #4, or potentially another PG to eventually fill the void of Davis when he departs, later in the 1st round, or the 2nd round. Doing so fills two immediate need, and provides depth. I do not wish for the Cav’s to take on another outrageous contract. Allow what you have to become stars.

    It amazes me how people can watch Irving play 11 games, none in Conference Play, in which he averaged 17 PPG, and 4 AST, which included wins vs Butler, who struggled early, and Michigan St, who finished 19-15. I’m gonna go out on a limb, and say Duke could have gotten off to an 8-0 start without Irving. How this translates to his making everyone around him better, is beyond me. Duke managed to go 22-4 while he was injured. Brandon Knight had the exact same averages at Kentucky, and he played the entire season. What makes Irving’s numbers, any different. or having made more of an impact?

    Please stop with the giving credit to Scott for Paul and Kidd being the premier PG’s they are, they were both pretty damn elite before Scott, and since Scott. If I’m not mistaken both were the top PG prospects coming into the draft, in their particular draft years. Both may have liked Scott as a coach, and their strengths fit his offensive philosophy, but seriously speaking, Scott didn’t make sugar from sh*t.

    The Cav’s can win short term with Davis, and Sessions at PG, the last 15 games or so was a clear indication of that. Sessions could very well be the answer long term, after watching the month he had in February, 20 PPG, 9 AST, 4 REB, no reason to think he can’t put up the same 17 PPG, and 4 AST that Irving put up at Duke, that’s elevated him to super start status. Focus more on the game in the jersey, and not the name on the jersey.

  7. I see u like the euros.i don’t trust them, and how do u have Alec Burks 3rd best sg. u must off missed the Texas game .Burks killed them.


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