Cavs still debating No. 1 pick
Eight days before the NBA draft, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott told Yahoo! Sports the franchise isn’t close to deciding whether to use the No. 1 pick on Duke guard Kyrie Irving or Arizona forward Derrick Williams.
The Cavaliers have the first and fourth picks in the June 23 draft in Newark, N.J. Who they decide to take with the top pick could be determined by whether they decide to pursue another guard like Kentucky’s Brandon Knight or Connecticut’s Kemba Walker at No. 4 – or whether they receive an enticing trade offer, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Cavs also have workouts scheduled for early next week that will factor in their decision.
“The main reason is we want to do our due diligence on the other guys as well,” Scott said on why a decision hasn’t been made. “We have a few more workouts we want to get in before we really want to start evaluating on who we think is the best possible pick at No. 1 and who we think is the best at No. 4. So, by no means, has anyone in our organization who has been to our workouts said, ‘Derrick Williams is our first pick’ or ‘Kyrie Irving is our first pick.’
“We’re all keeping an open mind and understand we have a few more workouts to go through. Both of those guys are very, very good basketball players in our minds. Both are going to have a long career, but no way are we set on a guy.”
Scott said one of his friends called recently to suggest the Cavaliers draft Williams first and Knight fourth. Such a move would be risky because Knight is getting consideration from the Utah Jazz with the third pick. Sources said Cleveland has already worked out Turkish center Enes Kanter and Texas forward Tristan Thompson, and has heavily scouted Czech Republic forward Jan Vesley and Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas. They also have a workout scheduled with Knight.
“When you have to go through the process of re-loading with what we’re doing as a basketball team, it’s always great when you can start with two of the top five players in the draft,” Scott said. “They’re going to be young. Hopefully, they’re going to be hungry. We feel that there are 10, 12, 15 guys in this draft that are going to be very productive in this league if not next year, two years down the line or something.
“You’re going to have some guys that are going to surprise people in this draft. I don’t think it’s as weak as everyone says it is.”
Irving worked out for the Cavs in Cleveland last week while Williams worked out on Tuesday. Scott said he also was impressed with both players after having dinner with them.
Irving averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists as a freshman for Duke while playing in just 11 games because of a toe injury. Scott also was positive about Irving’s size (6-foot-3, 190 pounds).
“He has his head on right,” said Scott, who coached the New Orleans Hornets before he was hired in Cleveland. “He reminded me so much of my initial contact with Chris Paul(notes). Kyrie was a lot like him. The thing that stood out to me when I met him was he was a lot bigger than I thought. He’s a good-sized point guard. He’s 6-3 and a legit 6-3, not 6-feet or 6-1.
“In our general conversation, he was a very, very intelligent young man and a very mature young man. He has a lot of confidence in himself. He didn’t answer like, ‘Uh, well.’ He answered pretty matter of fact. That impressed me about him.”
Williams averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds as a sophomore with Arizona last season. Scott believes Williams (6-9, 250 pounds) can play both forward positions.
“Very strong, great athlete, can get his shot off as well,” Scott said. “He’s a guy that people say is a tweener, but I think he can play both. He’s going to obviously have to get better on the defensive end, but he’s just a great athlete, and if we were to have him, he’d give J.J. [Hickson] and those guys a run for their money [at power forward].
“He’s a very good kid as well, very mature. He had a good understanding of himself and the game.”
Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski contributed to this report.