Grading the draft is pointless and we won’t know for sure about anything for at least two or three… blah blah. Yes. We all know that grades thrown on a draft or a draft pick have nothing to do with what they end up accomplishing. I for one still want to hear opinions.
So here is a quick look around the internet to see what some national pundits are saying about Cleveland’s selections and the draft as a whole.
Chad Ford, ESPN-
“Analysis: The Cavs kept everyone in suspense for six weeks. They talked trades with everyone. They wrung their hands over whom to take. And then they shocked just about everyone by taking Bennett with the No. 1 pick. I understand the reasoning. Cleveland wanted a pick-and-roll partner for Kyrie Irving. Bennett has the potential to be a 20-and 10-guy, perhaps the only one in the draft.
On the other hand, I think Noel, Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter were better prospects, and I would have liked their fit in Cleveland as much as or more than Bennett’s. With the No. 1 pick, the Cavs needed to get the best talent, and I’m not sold on the idea that they did.
I loved the Karasev pick. They needed a shooter with a high basketball IQ, and I think he has a chance to be a solid player in the NBA. That’s all you can ask for at No. 19. Felix is a tough defender and should be able to get minutes coming off the bench. He’s not an upside player but should play right away.
Adi Joseph, USA Today-
“No one expected this. That said, it’s not bad. Bennett ranks right behind Noel for most upside in this draft, and he gives the Cavaliers a scoring complement to Tristan Thompson. They should be able to play together, either in small lineups with Thompson manning center or big ones with Bennett sliding to small forward. Noel is much more similar to Thompson than Bennett is. Karasev may be the best shooter in the draft, and Felix may be the best one-on-one wing defender. Neither was a great pick, but they could both have roles off the bench next season. The Cavs also came out with two future second-round picks in a trade of the No. 31 pick. This wasn’t a great draft for the Cavaliers, but they were in a tough spot and came out OK.
Matt Moore, CBS Sports-
“Anthony Bennett: I like a lot of what he provides. Good instincts. Size is gonna be an issue. However, if you put Bennett with a great point guard, he can be elite. Grade B.
Sergey Karasev: I think he has questions, but he can come in and contribute right now at this level. It’s also a really good pick for the Cavaliers from a position standpoint. Grade A-”
Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo Sports-
“Bennett: It didn’t take long for the first surprise of the draft to happen. Cleveland, which had been thought to be choosing between Nerlens Noel and Alex Len, instead selected UNLV forward Anthony Bennett. Though Bennett hasn’t received the buzz some of his peers did, the Canadian-born forward may be the most talented prospect in the draft. He averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 boards in his lone college season, showcasing his versatility by scoring with ease in transition, from the perimeter and from the low block. The concern about Bennett is his work ethic. He’ll need to shed weight, improve his stamina and stop taking plays off defensively to fully tap into his potential and make Cleveland’s gamble look shrewd.
Karasev: Unlike some of the other top international prospects in this draft, Sergey Karasev will enter the NBA polished. The son of a coach and former player, Karasev has already appeared in the Olympics for Russia and led the nation’s premier basketball league in scoring. He impressed scouts at the Nike Hoop Summit earlier this year with his high basketball IQ and prolific perimeter shooting. His deep range and NBA readiness should be an asset to a Cleveland team clearly eager to emerge as a playoff contender next season.
Felix: Having already landed the most talented forward in the draft and a pair of sweet-shooting wings, Cleveland addressed its defense with its fourth pick of the night. Arizona State’s Carrick Felix is a long, athletic perimeter stopper capable of choking off passing lanes and scoring in transition.”
Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated-
“Winner: Anthony Bennett. There will be plenty of time for the pressure and expectations to sink in and the doubters to crow at full volume. In this moment, it surely must be an amazing feeling to have shocked the world. “I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett admitted.
It’s not yet clear how he will function in the same frontcourt as Thompson or if the roster will get a freshening up now that Mike Brown is back in the saddle. Before worrying about those questions, Bennett need only concern himself with savoring the most pleasant of surprises before getting himself 100 percent healthy.”
Kevin Pelton, ESPN-
“25. Cleveland Cavaliers, -2.3 (Expected: 5.2, actual 2.9) Given the lack of star talent in this draft, assessing the Cavaliers based on the typical No. 1 overall pick seems a bit unfair. However, Noel would have scored as a positive pick by this method. Anthony Bennett (2.1) is much worse than the average No. 1 choice. Cleveland’s rating is also hurt by second-round pick Carrick Felix (-1.2), a late bloomer in college who wasn’t on the NBA’s radar until this year. Those choices overwhelm an excellent value pick at No. 19 in Sergey Karasev (2.0).”
Ryan Petzar, NJ Star Ledger-
“Cleveland kicked things off tonight by surprising pretty much everybody when they selected Anthony Bennett. The 6-foot-8 power forward from UNLV has a great mix of skills: He can move the ball, he’s got speed, he can rebound and he’s got a great shot from 3-point land. Dave Rice, the freshman’s coach at UNLV, praised him by saying “[t]here’s not much he can’t do on a court.”
With their other first-round pick, the Cavs drafted Sergey Karasev, a 19-year-old small forward from Russia. Karasev played for the Russian Olympic team last year in London and is praised for his good passing and a solid left-handed shot. But while he’s a great shooter, his athleticism leaves a lot to be desired. He’ll probably never be a star in the NBA but he has what it takes to carve out a role for himself coming off the bench.
Cleveland also nabbed Arizona State SG Carrick Felix with the No. 33 pick, and traded No. 31 pick Allen Crabbe to Portland in exchange for two future second-round draft picks.