Cavaliers 2008 Draft, and Beyond

The Cleveland Cavaliers should follow the blueprint of the San Antonio Spurs.  The Spurs have, for a number of years now, been able to win championships, as well as develop the future stars of tomorrow through the NBA Draft.

Dan Gilbert sees this team as one who can be like the Spurs, and because of this, has hired Mike Brown as head coach and Danny Ferry to be General Manager with both having ties to the Spurs.  Dan Gilbert wants to bring Cleveland championship while trying to be a dominant team in the East just as San Antonio has done in the West.

For the last 10 years, San Antonio has had a knack of putting winning teams on the floor as well as developing young players.  This has occurred with the drafting of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and this philosophy continues today.  Tony Parker was the last pick of the first round in 2001 (28th).  Players like Rodney White, Kirk Haston, and Michael Bradley were all drafted ahead of Parker, but none in the first round has had the success that Parker has had.  Since being drafted, he has started at point guard for San Antonio and has led them to 3 championships in the last 8 years.

For Ginobili, he played in Europe for many years and received many accolades before coming to the NBA.  Like Parker, he was overlooked by many teams and was drafted 57th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft.  He, however, did not play immediately and chose to play in Europe for the next 2 seasons.  But in 2001 he was ready for the NBA and he made an immediate impact to the Spurs.  He has won numerous awards since joining the NBA and was most recently named the 6th man of the year.

Dan Gilbert sees this team as one who can be like the Spurs, and because of this, hired Mike Brown as head coach and Danny Ferry to be General Manager.  Both have ties to the Spurs.  Dan Gilbert wants a championship and wants to bring one to Cleveland and he went to the most dominant team for the last decade to take their top young talent.

In order for this to happen, the Cavaliers need to do a better job of drafting talent and playing the best players that are on the team, not just coaches favorites.  Coach Mike Brown likes to play veterans over the younger guys, and because of this, the best 5 players are not always on the floor for the Cavaliers.  With one more quality run by the Cavaliers in 2009, the Cavaliers have the potential to become the San Antonio Spurs of the East by being able to develop talent from overseas (a la Ginobili) and having these players continue get quality minutes overseas. Once they have grown and matured, that is when the team should bring them to the big lights and sounds of the NBA and have them fit in as role players to fill the void of players who leave via free agency, trade, or retirement.

The future can start now.  ESPN.com recently held their first version of the NBA mock draft.  They have listed the Cavaliers, with the 19th pick overall in the 2008 draft, picking Kosta Koufos from Ohio State.  Kosta, from Canton Glen Oak High School, left after his freshman year to follow Mike Conley and Greg Oden who also left Ohio State after only 1 year in 2007.  Kosta is compared to being a younger version of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and only time will tell if this Ohioan can continue to bring success to the Cavaliers.