I think if you ask most basketball fans, and while that might not mean Cleveland Cavaliers fans, I would think most basketball fans in general would say this past NBA season was a good one; not a great one, but good. The usual favorites were dominant in the Eastern Conference, and in the Western Conference it was competitive in every game. The playoffs, on the other hand, have been incredible.
Trae Young became a superstar in front of our eyes during the Atlanta Hawks’ playoff run. The Phoenix Suns, thus far, have proved that building through the draft is possible. On top of that, the Milwaukee Bucks are two wins away from winning a title.
When you take a look across the landscape of the NBA right now, you see different teams doing different things to try and become contenders. That said, there are some mistakes that some teams have made that the Cavaliers can absolutely learn from.
Granted, it’s the NBA so anything can happen, but the Cavs should take a look at some of the mistakes made by NBA teams this past season.
What the Cavs can learn from the Golden State Warriors: Draft the best player available
I know a lot of Cleveland fans don’t really want to even think about Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors anymore. But even so, the Warriors made one crucial mistake this past offseason that the Cavs can and, hopefully will learn from.
Somehow, the Warriors ended up with the number two pick in last year’s 2020 NBA Draft. Anthony Edwards was favored to go first overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he did. However, that left the Warriors with a tough decision to make.
Do you draft James Wiseman, who might help contribute to their championship window now? Or take LaMelo Ball, who most scouts agreed had the most star power in last year’s draft. The Warriors unfortunately went with Wiseman. While it’s true, Wiseman may have helped them contend right away, the better pick would have been LaMelo Ball.
The man from Memphis only played in 37 games for Golden State this year, and averaged just over 11 points per game. Ball, on the other hand averaged 15.7 points per game while adding in six rebounds and six assists for the Charlotte Hornets. I think most agreed around this time last year, Ball was probably the best player coming out, but some questioned how quickly he could adapt to the NBA. Turns out he was more than fine.
Ball did suffer a broken wrist that nearly ended his season, but we saw enough of him to know that he should have gone right after Edwards, if not before. On top of that, the Warriors knew Klay Thompson would be out all, or most of the year.
Ball being the primary ball-handler, while probably the best shooter in NBA history (his brother is better) comes off screens? That seems like an ideal scenario for Golden State.
So the lesson to be learned here is simple. Draft the best player available. While I’m not high on Evan Mobley and do believe Jalen Suggs could help the Cavaliers in a variety of ways, if Mobley’s there at three, you have to take him, given his potential.