Draft grades are all over the place

Chad Ford from ESPN gives the Cavs an A- (membership required to see link):

For the second straight year, the Cavs took a player at No. 4 who was ranked in the late teens on our Big Board in May. Like Tristan Thompson last year, Waiters had a meteoric rise the last month of the season. Unlike Thompson, his rise happened without ever doing a workout or interview with the Cavs. The Suns shut down Waiters early in the draft process, but it only seemed to start a Waiters feeding frenzy for teams ahead of them.

Waiters is the most dynamic scorer in the draft — his ability to get to the basket is truly special — and a handful of GMs felt that after Davis, MKG and Beal, he was the guy in this draft with the most star potential. He has NBA skill and, together with Kyrie Irving, should create a dynamic backcourt in Cleveland. Some will say taking Waiters at No. 4 was a bold pick, but I think it was a smart one with both MKG and Beal off the board. People said the same thing a few years ago when the Thunder took both Russell Westbrook and James Harden higher than expected.

I’m more agnostic about the Zeller pick. He’s not going to be a great NBA center, but he runs the floor well and can play right away. At No. 17, you can’t really ask for more than that.

Waiters did attend one workout according to one caller on the radio and he apparently dominated against other prospective draft picks. I like much of what I’m hearing about him, though I wish the Cavs had a chance to work him out.

At the other end of the spectrum, USA Today was not impressed, ranking the Cavs last with a D+:

The Cavaliers landed two good players in Syracuse guard Dion Waiters and North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, but they overpaid horrendously. Waiters was the first stunner of the draft when Cleveland took him fourth, ahead of several players who would have been better fits and better talents. Zeller, picked 17th, should be a perfect fit but came at the cost of the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks. The Cavaliers had too many holes to fill to give up so many picks for an injury prone center.

I think this is overly harsh. Zeller at 17 seems like a great value to me, and the Cavs didn’t need to load up on more young players in the second round.

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