One of the hardest things to do is to admit when you might have overreacted a bit, especially to the point where you might have been… gasp… wrong. But, after digesting things over the past week and seeing the last move the Cavaliers did before that damned lockout happened, I might have been a bit premature in labeling Tristan Thompson such a bad pick at no. 4 in the draft.
Thompson, a promising power forward who was the Big 12 player of the year in his rookie season, was a confusing pick to me at the time because Cleveland had such a glut at the power forward position. They had Anderson Varejao (who will prob go back to playing center if not dealt). Antawn Jamison, Samardo Samuels and (I presumed) their franchise forward in J.J. Hickson.
Why draft at power forward when you have that position pretty secured?
Apparently because you planned on trading away at least one of them, which is what the Cavs did hours before the lockout started. They traded the talented but inconsistent J.J. Hickson to the Sacramento Kings for another talented but unproven player in forward Omri Casspi as well as a lottery protected number 1 pick.
Said like that, it's a head scratcher as why would the Cavs trade a forward for a forward, but the key to this deal is that Casspi is a small forward with upside who can shoot the 3 pretty well. Currently, Cleveland has no real talent at small forward so Casspi fills a need as well as gives Kyrie Irving and Baron Davis a target in the corners to kick out to when they drive.
More importantly, however, this trade frees up precious minutes for Thompson and the promising Samuels as well as keeps Cleveland financially viable moving forward. Hickson was in the last season of his rookie deal and was already making waves about wanting a huge salary, something he hadn't shown he earned up to this point.
With a huge cloud of uncertainty surrounding the NBA at this time, it may be a while before we can see if these moves by the Cavs were good ones or not but if I had to judge them right this second, and hell, why shouldn't I, I would give them a more positive grade than I did draft night. Cleveland is in a rebuilding mode and it looks like they are taking their time and doing it right, the smart thing to do in their situation.
The smart thing, even if I don't immediately jump on board with every move.
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