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Around the Association: 2010 NBA Draft previews - Cleveland Cavaliers: If You Leave

30 days until the NBA Draft! Here at GSoM and with your help, we'll take a look at the draft needs of all 30 NBA teams, one per day, leading up to the Draft.

Let's start slow. First, according to my research (which I readily admit could be flawed, so feel free to help me in the comments), three teams do not have draft picks in the 2010 NBA Draft: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, and Charlotte Bobcats.

Yet, who knows, they may make a trade and find themselves in the thick of it all of a sudden. We should be prepared for this.

So, after the jump, let's take a look at our first team: the Cavs...

The plight of the Cavs is best summed up by fanblog Waiting For Next Year. [Heh, funny how it's all relative, isn't it? Try waiting to merely get into the playoffs, folks! Only after waiting thirteen years can you find yourself in a Golden State Of Mind!]

In a post entitled Where Do The Cavaliers Go From Here?, the WFNY blog takes a look at what's left after the Boston Celtics series carnage. Looking at the worst-case scenario, here's whom they have committed by contract, and not, for the 2010-11 season:

pg Mo Williams
Sebastian Telfair
sg Daniel Gibson Delonte West
Anthony Parker
sf Antawn Jamison LeBron James
Jamario Moon
pf Anderson Varejao Jawad Williams
Leon Powe
J.J. Hickson
c Shaquille O'Neal
Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Yikes. Just like when you're putting your rec league team roster together, you want your two or three star starters to be committed, then fill in the blanks with guys who are at least adequate fillers. The Cavs are 180 degrees from that right now. If this were a rec league team, trust me, they wouldn't be registering their team anytime soon. They'd miss the deadline to signup and have to wait until next season.

There's no way Shaq is coming back, regardless of LeBron. It follows that, without LeBron, you basically have a roster full of rotation players, with an aging Jamison as the only "star".

But you can't really blame the Cavs. They went for broke. Last year's draft where they added shooting guard Danny Green (of UNC championship fame) and stashed Christian Eyenga overseas at no cost, was pretty much irrelevant. Green was clearly an insurance pick at the shaky 2 spot, which Parker won over Gibson. Thus, the Cavs' 2009-10 roster was built through free agency and that blockbuster Jamison trade.

The guys at WFNY lament...

Had Danny Ferry known this would be the result, I’d imagine he would have done things differently. So as much as it’s tempting to say shame on him for putting the Cavs in this position, it’s fundamentally and factually wrong for us to do so. Ferry gave LeBron a great roster. He gave LeBron the best regular season team in basketball. And almost everyone bought into it, from fans to the media. Everyone thought the Cavs were a great team who would be facing off with Orlando to fight a great battle to see who got to play for a title. I hope LeBron can remember that as well.

Is that OMD's "If You Leave" playing in the background?

In short, the Cavs are one irrelevant team when it comes the 2010 NBA Draft, but that gets balanced by the overwhelming drama of the LeBron saga.

Speaking of which, after analyzing the state of the Cavs above, I must conclude that if LeBron leaves Cleveland, he will leave that franchise in shambles. They will be unable to attract a top free agent, and will instantly have the worst roster in the NBA, with no first- or even second-round draft picks to boot.

Ferry and owner Dan Gilbert should play the pity card with LeBron. And if the Delonte-slept-with-Gloria rumors are true, it's hard for me to picture LeBron leaving his hometown destitute like that. He'll have to look in the mirror and say, "Hey, they actually tried. And if I leave, they've got nothing."

Would any meaningful percentage of Cleveland despise him if he leaves? I think if there's at least 20%, 1-in-5, of Cleveland fans who would hate him for leaving the city with a roster like that, with guys who have fragile nerves when it comes to the playoffs, who are doomed if they face the 2010-11 season without their leader, then the guilt factor comes into play.

Yeah, I know. What a way to kickoff the 30 Days 30 Teams excitement of the NBA Draft coming up on June 24th!

Normally, I'd encourage some banter about today's team from a Draft perspective, but since that appears to be a void for the Cavs this Draft, feel free to start the rants about where LeBron is going to end up.

Btw, props to HoopsHype's NBA salaries database for the Cavs.

Next up: the Denver Nuggets.

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