Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 6/29/12
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The praise was effusive and the smiles brought to mind those gigantic cartoon grins where the mouth is stretched far beyond its normal limits.Think Bugs Bunny, from beyond ear to ear.Thats how good the Cavs felt about introducing their two draft picks Friday, how good they felt about bringing Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller in to join Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, last years top picks.In part this is standard operating procedure. If a team doesnt like its draft picks, it probably ought to be in the potato chip business.But the Cavs were genuinely beaming about taking a guy higher than many expected and about giving up three picks for another guy.Coach Byron Scott said Irving and Waiters can be a dynamic duo. He said the only negative for Zeller, the 7-foot center, was that he was a senior.We just feel like we got two of the better players in the draft, Scott said.If they didnt, theres trouble in burning river city.When a team has the first, fourth, fourth and 17th picks in consecutive drafts, its not a luxury to come out with good players. Its a necessity. Team fortunes depend on the selections, as does the job security of those making the picks.The worst position in the NBA is the dreaded middle. Thats where a team gets stuck making the playoffs in the sixth or seventh spot. The team isnt good enough to advance in the playoffs, but it wasnt bad enough to get top picks to improve. Salary cap space is capped out, which makes things double-tough.Washington used to have that spot reserved. Philadelphia now seems like its living there, which might be why the 76ers seem willing to trade Andre Iguodala.The Cavs simply cant wind up there as they rebuild from the sinkhole created by the darling of Oprah.Which is why Waiters and Zeller had better be good.The team hit on Irving a year ago, but the jury still deliberates on Thompson. He needs to come through, just like Waiters and Zeller.In Waiters, the Cavs feel like they have a guy who will take some of the scoring burden off Irving while pairing with him effectively. Fans balked at his choice because he was a sixth man at Syracuse, but Scott rightly pointed out the fact he started meant far less than the fact he finished games. And had the ball in his hands when he finished.There was no game he was involved in where the moment was too big, Scott said.Waiters said all the right things, while making it plain and clear he was nearly overwhelmed to be taken fourth. He also had a good response when it was mentioned to him that some of the predraft chatter said he lacked a jumpshot.If they say I dont have a jumpshot its up to me to go out there and get 1,000 jumpshots up every day, he said.Syracuse guards dont really have a great history in the NBA, especially shooting guards, but the Cavs lovefest was unaffected.In Zeller, the Cavs have a big man with some impeccable credentials. He shot 81 percent from the free throw line, averaged 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds. He played four years and was Academic All-America of the year and Player of the Year in the ACC.All at North Carolina, one of the nations top programs.Carolina has a tradition started by Dean Smith of setting aside a specific amount of practice specifically for big men where fundamentals -- like not bringing the ball lower than your head after a rebound -- were stressed.Zeller said Roy Williams continued the tradition, teaching simple post moves, trail jumpshots, little things. Those little things make a difference, though, and can help.Zeller will need to add strength to his upper body in the NBA, but the starting point seems solid.Will it work? Nobody knows, not even the Cavs. But GM Chris Grant and his staff put endless work into the picks, and they believe it will work. And when a guy with Scotts pedigree likes the choices it carries weight.It can work, and if it does it would be exciting to watch a team grow together.The Cavs best hope it does.Job security has come down to far less important issues.
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