Chris Grant Doomed By Draft Record


VIDEO: The Lakers beat the Cavs, 119-108

Somebody had to take the fall Thursday for 16-33 and losing the night before even as the Lakers ran out of bodies. It certainly wasn’t going to be owner Dan Gilbert, and it wasn’t going to be players – when getting traded away from the Cavaliers is a reward, not being held accountable. That left general manager Chris Grant to get the termination notice.

In the real perspective, we’re not close to knowing the actual damage of Grant as head of basketball operations, particularly with the draft, and maybe not close by years. If it turns out Dion Waiters really is more problem than production, it is not just a miss in 2012, it’s also the current scrutiny on 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett compounded because the Cavs will have known they had a problem at shooting guard and passed on Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore. A bad decision is one thing, something that happens to every team, but not reacting to it would be the real blight.

It is not too soon, though, to see that the draft was his downfall. Signing Andrew Bynum went bad but was pretty low risk with the chance for a huge payout, hiring Mike Brown as coach may have been more Gilbert and the latest in the infinite timeline of GMs taking the hit for an owner, and trading for Luol Deng could still work out as long as Deng re-signs. This is about June decisions.

That would be the case even with staying judgment on 2013. Bennett has had a historically bad start – 30.1 percent from the field the first 38 appearances – but writing off a prospect before the All-Star break of his rookie season, after an injury, while in that atmosphere, is just too knee-jerk. If he’s this bad a year from now, pile on. But Bennett was regarded by many front offices as a top-three talent before the draft and deserves more time, and it’s not exactly like this was a field overflowing with good options, as 2013-14 is proving out for a lot more teams beyond the Cavaliers.

Even with that benefit of the doubt, the unavoidable truth is that Grant had every break, had four choices in the top four the last three drafts, and still delivered one standout, Kyrie Irving, and one other starter, Tristan Thompson. Grant got an unprotected pick from the Clippers in a trade that beat long odds to draw to No. 1, he was the benefactor of another lottery win two years later in an amazing sequence of luck, he got Deng because the Bulls were looking to pare salary and the Cavs had Bynum as a trade chip, but still 16-33 at the time of the firing.

In the 2011 draft:

No. 1: Irving. Grant got the obvious one right. No matter how many tried to create late buzz for Derrick Williams as a possible alternative, Duke point guard Irving was clearly the guy.

No. 4: Thompson. This was an obvious intersection moment at the time that continues to this day. The Cavaliers could have had Jonas Valanciunas and were in better position than anyone to wait the extra year Valanciunas would spend in Europe, with Irving in the fold as a sign of progress in addition to a feeling of resilience around the franchise in wanting to bounce back from the open-heart surgery without anesthesia performed by LeBron James.

Thompson was not a terrible choice, a hard-working 23 year old and already in a second consecutive of flirting with a double-double. But Valanciunas would have been the answer at center, a tougher position to fill than power forward. The Cavaliers have been playing catch up ever since, trading three picks, though none of consequence, to take Tyler Zeller at No. 17 in 2012, then trying for Bynum, and now getting inside production from Anderson Varejao.

The Grant disclaimer is that it has turned out to be a bad lottery for a lot of people with mistakes almost every other direction he could have turned – the top 10 was Irving, Williams, Enes Kanter, Thompson, Valanciunas, Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo, Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette. It really has played out as Thompson or Valanciunas in a draft flooded with misses, with Klay Thompson lasting until 11, Kawhi Leonard to 15, Nikola Vucevic at 16 and Kenneth Faried at 22, not to mention Chandler Parsons at 38.

In 2012:

No. 4: Waiters. Anthony Davis (Hornets/Pelicans), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Bobcats) and Bradley Beal (Wizards) were gone. A lot of teams had Waiters around the middle of the lottery, so it’s not like moving two or three spots up from the consensus is a reach by the Cavaliers. Waiters was seen as a talented scorer who could fit well alongside Irving to cement the Cleveland backcourt for the next 10 years.

Not only has he not worked out, but Harrison Barnes (No. 7 to Golden State) was still on the board and in that range in what would have been an answer at small forward, likewise Andre Drummond (No. 9 to Detroit) at center. And that’s removing Damian Lillard (No. 6 to Portland) from the conversation because Cleveland was set at point guard.

And, 2013:

No. 1: Bennett. Bringing a player who needs shots to be effective to a team that would have Irving and Waiters commanding the ball was an invitation for trouble from the beginning, apart from Bennett’s other troubles. Those became part of the Cavaliers’ troubles that this week landed on Grant as part of a troubling draft record.

22 Comments

  1. #30 says:

    A lot of potential/talented players in the roster

    BUT

    -Incompetent coaching staff
    -Spoiled brat basketball system
    -GM with low basketball IQ
    -Over Acting commentators

    Totally MESS

  2. Richard says:

    It has been a mess for the Cavs since James left. Irving was a no-brainer but i agree on the Thompson pick. Valanciunas could’ve been that guy. They could have strengthened both ends of the court at PG and C. Though there wasn’t much setback with Thompson, he’s hardworking attitude did elevate his game. But you can never teach height, and obviously, he’s undersized at the power forward position. I think Waiters was a bad pick. Why does Grant love to pick undersized players at their position in the first place? This is the NBA, size does matter. Harrison Barnes could’ve fit well into the lineup. And Bennett, it think he just needs time. He’s got tons of potential. He’s got good size and shooting stroke. He’s got a big body,. he could be very complementary at the 3 spot and rotating as a stretch four sometime. I think the Cavs needs to reboot the system back in Cleveland. They have the talents already. They should work with it like how Oklahoma did it in the past.

  3. okc2014 says:

    You can’t build a championship team with a bunch of 1st round picks. Why do you think King Lebron James left Cleveland to go to Miami?

  4. The truth says:

    They just need to establish order , I mean having players only meetings , negative tension between waiters and Irving they wont co-exist much longer , need to trade them , the coach is a defensive coordinator at best can’t run offense to save his life , and can’t manage egos and coach outside the game of bball , these young players require a mentor as well as a coach. Any chance of lebron returning as vanished , this Cleveland team is dysfunctional . Anthony Bennett is the heir apparent to Kwame brown , don’t blame him when the number 1 pick is not a starter it already sends the player the wrong message and damages his confidence they need to rebuild it now , they don’t have much time to start over they need to build a contender sooner rather then later , kyrie Irving wants to win and u won’t keep him for long if you don’t surround him with a supporting cast , keeping luol deng and Jarrett jack is mandatory they are playoff players , but still it’s going to be tough I think they need stability which will start with hiring a new coach Lionel hollins or George Karl would be great choices who would be able to change things around fast but it’s is important to be quick about it

  5. marty says:

    GM had to go but that’s not the cure.Whole organization in disarray!

  6. lol says:

    Shut the organisation down, not worth trying anymore

  7. javier says:

    Coaching was the mistake they need a NCAA coach or hire Lionel Hollins (fired by mistake by Memphis) learn from Phoenix, youngers players playing a great Basketball (discipline with no ego, everybody together).

  8. Tom says:

    Wrong move, they should have fired Mike Brown, the guy can’t make his team play hard unselfish basketball, If he would give Bennett 25+ min every night then Bennet would play good, he doesnt even play , ether DNP or garbage minutes is not going to help his growth as a no.1 pick . Manager has build a descent team , the problem is the coach .

  9. AI says:

    The Cavs are a mess, and this mess starts at the ownership level.
    They need to establish a culture before they talk about draft picks, trades etc…

    Find a good GM and sign him for a long term deal. Let him drill his culture to this club and the rest will be ok.

    You can’t micro manage a GM and expect a progress.

    Right now this organization looks like its drifting aimlessly…

  10. jonny says:

    they play two pgs all the time with jack and irving, or irving and dellavadova. The Cavs might as well have drafted Lillard to go along with Irving if they’re going to be playing two guards all the time.

  11. Gillsy says:

    When you read the picks who they got and what they could have got. The last two years have been a flop. Irving and Thompson were good pick ups, Yea Thompsons pick could have been better but he is a double double player and producing every night. Waiters hasn’t been the back court player they hoped for and Bennet should have never been taken at 1. He is a undersized player who plays the same position as Thompson. But when you make so many questionable decisions with good picks some ones head has to roll. Brown is lucky he has some good players, but guys like Jack played to their potential in Golden state last year, but are being obviously not utilised to their potential this year. A guy like George Karl who has experience changing young teams would have been a better choice as coach.

  12. Rod Miller says:

    Somebody had to be the fall guy to awaken these players. There is a LOT of young talent on the Cavs and the fact that Grant “hired” them is telling. Those players who dogged it ought to be ashamed of themselves. They did not have Grant’s back as the saying goes.

    As for Bennett — give the kid a break. He is twenty years old and finding his way. After all he has done more for his team than Nerlens Noel has for Philadelphia and Bennett will get much better. Look at Tristan Thompson’s growth and stats. Waiters is an all-star in the making. Typical Cleveland impatience calling for trades etc. will only lead to more chaos and those same people bemoan the fact that Cleveland teams have no stability. You cannot have it both ways.

  13. BigMike(From North Hill in Akron,Ohio) says:

    I really liked the hiring of Brown if we had Lebron back in the fold,however it was too soon.Probably should have kept Scott a coach for this season at least. Irving and Waiters are nice just not on floor at same time. Just like in college,Waiters is best off the bench. Miles and Jack both were nice additions. And when he was healthy and not trying to mess with a coach’s wife, Bynum was a solid sign. It was low risk high reward with him,and he ended up helping us aquire Deng,Bennett has showed some promise,unfortunately not as fast as any Cleveland fan or personell would like.Its hard to waiver success when our team is so young.i always thought that when we drafted Irving that the 2014-2015 season would be season fcr dreaming playoffs. It’s not acceptable to want anything less than a championship,however this is Cleveland,so just progress would be nice!……If Gilbert truly feels that our team is that horrible as this writer feels,then I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to blow up the team and trade players away. However until we sign Kyrie to an extension,I doubt anyone is going anywhere anytime soon!

  14. michael says:

    trade kyrie erving with felton,chandler stodamire and smith or shump this player can do impact in this team.. even we lost a star but we had a good 4 players that can make us win

  15. Durantula says:

    I think where they really messed up is coaching and player development. Bennett should be sent to the D-League, and they really need to replace Mike Brown.

  16. John moves says:

    if the pick goes to Thunder or Spurs, I bet they’ll change the pick drastically. the management’s choice was horrible, lets just see if they pick again this year and they made a wrong move again

  17. Clips fan says:

    Imagine if you knew how good they were I would have Irving then kawhi Leonard. At 2012 get Andre Dummond and at 2013 get victor oladipo
    Irving, Oladipo, kawhi, some good power forward on the draft or free agent market and Dummond. Wait for a couple of year and now look at the team. But who know how good meantime record would have change which means draft slot but just imagine that team.

  18. John says:

    I thought a team of Irving at pg waiters at the 2 with Bennett Thompson and varejo on the frontline was going to be ok. Especially with support from zeller and Bynum and Jarrett jack.
    Something’s not right. Delladova is the only guy who would bleed for the team

  19. dustydreamnz says:

    Draft choices obviously a factor but I think they need to work on team chemistry too.