Let’s for a moment assume that the Cleveland Cavaliers will be selecting the No. 4 pick overall. Because, they most likely will be. Teams look at this draft and are not giving up actual quality to move up.
There are now multiple reports (including the Morning Journal) that the Cavaliers are leaning heavily toward picking Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas with that pick. Especially if the pick comes down to Valanciunas or Turkish big man Enes Kanter.
ESPN’s Chad Ford was asked to compare the two during a conference call last Friday.
“I think if you picked Kanter, you’re picking because he is a bit more polished offensively right now, and he has a better NBA body right now. If you pick Valanciunas, you’re picking upside. You’re picking a guy who I know many NBA scouts feel in five years could end up being the best player in this draft, but he’s got a long way to go to get there.”
There are concerns about Valanciunas’ buyout with his European team, but most around the league expect that issue to be resolved. Valanciunas is 6’11” with a long wingspan but he needs to put on some weight (he’s listed at 240 now, he’d be giving up at least 25 pounds to most true NBA centers). He has soft hands is good as the roll man from the high post. There is a lot of raw talent there and there is a real good motor — he puts out the effort every time down.
But we are talking a guy that is a few years away from us really knowing how good he can be. Right now he makes energy plays but he needs a lot of work on his footwork, jumper, ball handling, passing. The skills are there, but they are raw. It’s hard to tell exactly how good he can be… but it could be very good.
The Cavs are a team rebuilding; they can wait to find out. It’s a good risk for them to take — if you’re gambling on a prospect anyway, take the one with the highest ceiling.