CLEVELAND — First the Cleveland Indians and now the Cleveland Cavaliers, thanks to securing the top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery, it is a great time to be a Cleveland sports fan.
The Cavs, with a record of 24-58 pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in nabbing the No.1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, despite having the third worst record and a 15.0 percent chance to do so.
In winning the lottery, Cleveland has now won the lottery for the second time in three years, fourth overall, most among all teams since 1985, per ESPN Stats & Information. Going into the lottery, the league-worst Orlando Magic has a 25.0 percent chance of landing the top pick.
While there is the school of thought that the Cavaliers should trade down for more picks and grab the likes of Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr, Indiana power forward/center Cody Zeller(younger brother of current Cavalier, Tyler), Maryland center Alex Len or UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett, this pick could be the last—hopefully—for a long time for the Wine & Gold in the lottery.
Make no mistake, Cleveland really needs to nail this pick, which is why this writer personally feels that this choice comes down to the oft-injured—yet talented and energetic—Anderson Varejao.
Varejao, who averaged a double-double with 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds in the 2012-13 season, has played a combined 50 games in the last two seasons and since 2008-09 has seen his number of games started decrease from 81 to 76 in 2009-10, 31 in 2010-11 and 25 in both 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively.
While Varejao is a solid and border-line All-Star, his injury-prone past, may be the reason the Cavs go for their new center/shot-blocker of the future in Noel. Noel, the 6’11, 206-pound SEC Freshman & Defensive Player of the Year while at Kentucky, averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocks a game, whereas the Cavaliers top player in Zeller averaged 0.9.
One must also consider that Cleveland ranked 25th in points allowed at 101.2 and 22nd in rebounds with 41.0, areas where Noel could mightily contribute to immediately once his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury, which would cause him miss nine games.
Another factor to consider is that with the re-hire of Mike Brown, the Cavaliers will look to focus more on playing in the half-court and interior defense, as opposed to running up and down in transition, which is why the choice of Noel by the Cavaliers makes the most sense.
With a projected return date for sometime in the middle of the 2013-14 season, do the Cavaliers roll the dice on a potential blue-chip prospect in Noel or go in a complete direction and trade down?
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Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] follow me on Twitter @RC_TheInscriber and follow The Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber