If you have paid any attention to the Cavs this season, you know that they are in ultimate tank mode. There are no playoff goals or hopes of winning as many games as possible. Our goal is to lose the most games in the NBA.
Even though I understand the reasoning and necessity of tanking, it is still a weird thing to say. However, the Cavs need the first overall pick. After losing LeBron in free agency, this team is at a loss. At the very beginning of the season, there may have been some hopes for a good season with Kevin Love. Instead, the Cavs were the last team to earn their first win and Love has been out the majority of the season. So, besides trying to lose on the court, what have the Cavs been doing to help with tanking and developing the team for the future?
A lot of it has been trades.
Let’s look at the Cavs rebuild so far this season from trades. They traded away Kyle Korver, George Hill, Rodney Hood and Sam Dekker. Korver, Hill, and Hood are solid players, but they shouldn’t on teams that are trying to lose. Korver and Hill are older and don’t want to be wasting their time tanking, so getting them to a contending team is a much better situation for them. Not only were the Cavs able to help them out, but they got plenty in return too. For these four players, the Cavs have received a 2019 1st, 2020 2nd, 2021 1st and 2nd, two 2022 2nd and 2023 2nd round picks. On top of these draft picks, they received John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova, Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss.
If all those picks are used to draft players and not used in trades, that’s 11 players in and four players out. I’m not the best at math, but I would say that’s a lot more players in return. The two first-round picks are from Houston and Milwaukee, so they won’t be lottery picks most likely, but getting a first-round level player can still be beneficial. Luckily, with the Houston pick, it’s lottery protected – so the Cavs would lose it if it was a lottery pick, anyways. These picks most likely won’t all be used to draft players, but instead, some will be used in trades. Having a plethora of picks to use in trades is always vital when it comes to trade discussions. I mean, just look at the Boston Celtics, for example.
When it comes to the players the Cavs got in return, there is some value there, too. We all know about our guy, Delly. He might not be the guy to lead you to victories, but he is perfect for a Cleveland team that is tanking. He can teach the young guys to be the ultimate team player and fan favorite. Best of all, he can help to sell tickets, which is difficult when you are expecting to see a loss. Henson is an interesting return. He has yet to play a game for the Cavs, since he is still recovering from a wrist injury. He also hasn’t been much of a scorer or rebounder as a big man in his six-year career. He does have plenty of potential, so the Cavs may be banking on that. However, a player that isn’t playing and doesn’t score much is great for tanking.
Similarly, Knight has been kind of disappointing in his career. The only difference is that he has proven to score. He can score, but doesn’t add much value to a team, making him perfect for tanking. Lastly, Chriss also has lived up to his eighth-overall pick value. With him being so young, though, there is still some hope that he can develop into a solid player. Otherwise, he will be able to help the Cavs lose.
The trades that the Cavs have made this season are nowhere near the ones that we have been used to in the past few years with LeBron, but they can still be helpful for our future. The multiple picks the Cavs accumulated will be important in building the team through the draft and future trades. The players acquired will be great at helping the team lose and continue the journey towards drafting Zion Williamson.