Found May 22, 2013 on Fox Sports Ohio:
CLEVELAND -- Chris Grant said theres no clear-cut, obvious, no-holds-barred choice with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Grant should know. Not only is he the Cavaliers general manager, hes also a devoted scout, studying college games and prospects like a marine biologist researching whales. So this draft isnt like 2011, when Grant has to choose between Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. He pretty much knew Irving was the man the entire time, and boy, Grant sure made the right call on that one. If the Cavs keep this particular top choice, you can have faith Grant will do so again. After all, a quick look at Grants notable transactions entering his third draft, shows Grant typically makes the most of his opportunities: First of all, he drafted Irving over Williams. That wasnt what a lot of Cavs fans wanted. But while Grant hears the fans, he knows he has to run the team as he sees fit, and acts accordingly. That may not sound like a big deal, but honestly, not all franchises in all sports handle business that way. Some really do allow media and fans pressure them into making moves. And weve seen how well thats worked for the Cleveland Browns. Secondly, Grant traded J.J. Hickson to Sacramento for Omri Casspi and a conditional draft pick. (No way were getting into the conditions on the pick here.) Granted, Casspis been a bust, and Hickson played well this past season in Portland. But Hickson failed fast and furious with the Kings -- making that trade pretty much a draw. Grant drafted power forward Tristan Thompson with the fourth overall pick in 2011. Some guys selected after Thompson have been better, but not significantly better. And most of those guys were passed on by a lot of teams, not just the Cavs. Meanwhile, the circumstances vary, but Thompson has been better than both Williams (selected second) and Utahs Enes Kanter (third) during their first two NBA seasons. Last summer, Grant shocked everyone by selecting shooting guard Dion Waiters with the fourth overall pick. Waiters proved he could fill it up from the start, and was even better once he learned the pro game and the finer points of shot selection. He was fantastic in February and finished as a member of the first-team All-Rookie team. In January, Grant stole big man Marreese Speights, guard Wayne Ellington and another conditional first-round pick for little-used forward Jon Leuer. The Grizzlies were desperate to shed salary, and Grant stepped in. Even if Speights and Ellington are elsewhere next year, for half a season, Grant was a major winner. Now, none of this is intended to say Grant is the second coming of Red Auerbach or Jerry West. The Cavs have finished last in the Central Division in each of Grants three year, including a 24-48 season this year. And Grant hasnt done very well when it comes to unrestricted free agents. In fact, hes landed just three -- Anthony Parker, Joey Graham and C.J. Miles. But hes obtained tons of draft picks, preserved and even created salary-cap space, and put together a promising young core. That was the idea after LeBron James split town with barely a moments notice. The idea was patience and building the right way. So far, you cant argue Grant has followed the plan. Has there been a few bumps? Well, of course. Thats life in the big leagues. Has Grant done at least as well as Cavs fans could hope, given the circumstances? Youd have to say yes. The winning results may not have come as quickly as fans would like, as persistence is rarely popular. But what choice did Grant and the Cavs really have? Bottom line: No matter what Grant does with the first overall draft pick, history tells us hes not likely to mess it up. That has to be a good feeling for Cavs fans as the team enters this critical summer. Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO
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