Monday, July 27, 2009

They Didn't Have Draft Picks

I agree but disagree:

9. Russell. Jeff. Ed. Larry. I really love your band. I think the song "Fever Dog" is a big step forward for you guys. And you guys producing it yourselves instead of Glyn Johns, that was the right thing to do. And Russell, Russell, the guitar sound ... is in-sin-diary. Incendiary. Way to go.

To Sam Presti, GM, Zombies. Love the restraint. He's letting this baby breathe (see above) by building around good chemistry guys, preserving his cap space, avoiding potentially dangerous contracts and building a young foundation around Durant. (In other words, he's doing everything Cleveland didn't do for LeBron these past six seasons.) The Zombies will be $9 million under the cap this season and have $10 million worth of expiring contracts. For teams getting hammered by the economy that need to shed high-salaried contracts, Presti is their first, second and third calls and he's probably in F-You mode every time he answers. If only he were on Twitter.

Sounds reasonable, right? The Sonics have surrounded Durant with a ton of young guys and the Cavs totally should've done that with LeBron. Why the hell would they keep adding vets as opposed to building through the draft?? (note: Simmons has also criticized GM Danny Ferry and the Cavaliers for going this route in his podcasts-fairly certain one with Rich Bucher).

Let's look at the Cavs recent draft history, eh?:

2003 - 1 - LeBron James
2003 - 31 - Jason Kapono
2004 - 10 - Luke Jackson
2005 - X - NO PICK
2006 - 25 - Shannon Brown
2006 - 42 - Daniel Gibson
2006 - 55 - Ejike Ugboaja.
2007 - X - NO PICK
2008 - 19 - J.J. Hickson
2009 - 30 - Christian Eyenga
2009 - 46 - Danny Green

Now let's see what the Zombie Sonic's recent drafts have looked like:

2007 - 2 - Kevin Durant
2007 - 31 - Carl Landry
2007 - 35 - Glen Davis
2008 - 4 - Russell Westbrook
2008 - 24 - Serge Ibaka
2008 - 32 - Walter Sharpe
2008 - 46 -Trent Plaisted
2008 - 50 - DeVon Hardin
2008 - 56 -Sasha Kaun
2009 - 3 - James Harden
2009 - 25 - Rodrigue Beaubois

Let that soak in for a second. Cavs drafted LeBron James in 2003 and since that pick then they've drafted eight other players. The Sonics drafted Kevin Durant in 2007 and they've drafted ten other players since. The Cavs had eight picks in seven years while the Zombie Sonics had ten picks in three years(!!).

Now, is some (most) of this the Cavaliers fault? Sure. They let Carlos Boozer walk, they left Kapono unprotected in the expansion draft and they passed on guys like Al Jefferson (!!!), Josh Smith, J.R. Smith and Jameer Nelson to select Luke "I played 46 games my two seasons in Cleveland" Jackson.

But I can't blame Ferry for not stockpiling young talent through the draft; twice they had no picks ('05 and '07) and twice more they only had one ('04 and '08). Plus, his first year they had that cap-space that they used on the Hughes-Marshall-Jones trio (which did help them get to the Finals).

Plus, the Cavs NEVER had seasons where they were "Top 5 Pick Bad" like the Zombie Sonics (picking 2nd, 4th and 3rd in consecutive years), though that would've been sweet (the top five in 2004 were Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Shaun Livingston and Devin Harris, in 2005 they were Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Deron Williams, Chris Paul(!!) and Raymond Felton). Also, the Cavs never had anyone near the stature of Ray Allen that they could dump for an additional Top 5 pick.

And with theZombies move, their franchise had a couple years (their last in Seattle and first in OKC) where it didn't matter if they stunk or not. By the time Ferry was brought on board, the Cavs had barely missed the playoffs two straight years, they got a new owner and coach and the clock was loudly ticking on LeBron's first extension (meaning, there's no way Ferry could've come in, stripped the team of vets and stockpiled picks- he didn't have the time nor the picks to start fresh).

Don't get me wrong, I love what Sam Presti has done with his squad. I would've loved the Cavs to be able to do something similar.

But the situations aren't analogous. Saying that the Cavs (and Ferry in particular) should've done what Presti has done is comparing apples and oranges.

Oh, and this team is coming off a 66 win season. Just sayin'.


Anonymous said...

Spot on!

Please send all of the above in an email to Bill. Its a terrific analysis of the differences in the two situations.

Graham said...

Its certainly a fair argument. However, the front office is ultimately responsible for drafting - no matter where they draft. Ferry certainly shouldn't be held to the same standard in terms of drafting (on the flip side, much of his success as a GM is due to the fact Gilbert allows him far great flexibility in terms of spending and going over the cap than almost every other GM - that being said, I like what he's done this offseason).

Its hard to draft that late though, there's no doubt about. To be honest, we have no idea really how good or bad Ferry is at drafting.

On another note, love the Moon signing. He might be better for this team than Parker in the long run. Its too bad Hickson is hurt and will lose valuable practice time. This year would/could be a great opportunity for him to get better.

Ben said...

Its just that the Cavs didn't have the option of gutting the team, sucking for a few years and grabbing more Top 5 Picks. Seattle had guys to trade for high picks (Ray Allen) and sucked enough to get their own high picks.

The Luke Jackson pick just killed the Cavaliers. That was their last chance at a high pick and they whiffed big time. Lord, if they had taken Al Jefferson...

I like Moon too. I'd love to see a lineup of West, LeBron, Moon, Hickson and Varejao. That'd be awesome...

Geoff said...

Ferry can't be blamed for the whole Lebron era when he hasn't been around for the whole era. We had a couple years of John Paxson turning 1st round draft picks into 2nd round draft picks. Also, don't forget the Boozer thing: The Cavs had him under contract for another year if they would have picked up his contract, and even after that he would have been a restricted free agent after that year, but they simply let him become a free agent for no reason and then ended up losing him for nothing. Ya he was injury prone in Utah, but the Cavs actually had a legit all-star next to Lebron

Anyway, back to Ferry - he made some bad signings (Hughes, Damon, Donyell) but he has done a good job with signing people since then (see West, Gooden, Gibson, Parker, Andy-twice, Sasha).

Geoff said...

oh and the Tribe better trade Lee. He is a guy who caught lighting in a bottle last year, and sell while his Stock is high. He is already 30, who may have several good years left, but I have a sneaky feeling that he can lose it as quickly as he found it. Remember, he wasn't even on the roster when the tribe were in the playoffs in 07. Sell sell sell!

Ben said...

My point is simply that it's hard to add good young talent when you A) don't have your own draft picks and B) don't have all-stars to trade for high picks.

The Cavs have done a fantastic job via trades.

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