The Cleveland Cavaliers have recently surged as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference after LeBron James’ homecoming after being pretty much the league’s laughing stock for most of its history, contending just when LeBron single handedly lead them to the finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
And considering how poorly this franchise has fared since pretty much the very first day of their existence, it’s not a big surprise to see them mightily struggle throughout their history to become a serious contending team.
Truth to be told, if they hadn’t drafted LeBron over a decade ago, they wouldn’t even be a team people talked about, and the same goes for Kyrie Irving, being the lone another Draft pick they’ve actually nailed.
So today, we’re going to remind you about the top 5 draft mistakes the Cleveland Cavaliers have done over the past decade, so you know what could’ve been of them if they’d pick otherwise.
5. JJ Hickson (2008 NBA Draft)
The Cleveland Cavaliers were in need of a big man back then in the 2008 NBA Draft, so they decided to go with this guy, a seemingly walking double-double with high ceiling regarding post defense that isn’t even in the league anymore after 3 seasons with the Cavs and some failed stints at Sacramento, Portland, Denver and Washington.
Hickson, coming out UNC, seemed like a lock to succeed at an NBA level, going at pick 19 in one of the most talent loaded Drafts, but had they been wiser, they could’ve gone with Nicolas Batum, DeAndre Jordan, or even Serge Ibaka.
4. Dion Waiters (2012 NBA Draft)
Back then in 2012, the Cavaliers trusted Dion Waiters out of Syracuse with their 4th overall pick as a second scorer to form a very dynamic and terrific backcourt with Kyrie Irving, something that could be quite interesting had Waiters found consistency and maturity instead of just being jealous of Irving and tried to hero ball his way to stardom.
Waiters was one of the main reasons why this team was so dysfunctional a couple of seasons ago, and he’s proven to be nothing more than a streaky shooter, while the Cavs could’ve drafted Andre Drummond or Damian Lillard for Christ’s sake.
3. Jae Crowder (2012 NBA Draft)
Yes, Cleveland actually screwed it up twice during the very same NBA Draft after messing things up taking Waiters with their 1st rounder and landing Jae Crowder at 34 out of Marquette just to immediately deal him to the Dallas Mavericks.
And what makes this move even worst is the fact that they could’ve actually drafted a standout prospect out of Michigan State to came to the league to become a nightly triple double threat and a top 3 defender, Draymond Green.
2. Tristan Thompson (2011 NBA Draft)
Tristan Thompson didn’t seem much worthy of a big paycheck until he became friends with LeBron James and he hooked him up, as he’s nothing more than an elite offensive rebounder, but he’s not actually a dominant presence in the paint and there isn’t much room for improvement in any area of his game.
Of course, he’s been a very productive player for them and was a key piece during their Championship run, but they could’ve done a lot better at number 4, passing on Jonas Valanciunas, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, and even Kawhi Leonard.
1. Anthony Bennett (2013 NBA Draft)
Things didn’t go much better for Dan Gilbert and his squad the very next year, as they actually passed on Victor Oladipo (mostly because of Dion Waiter’s presence) and wind up getting perhaps the worst 1st overall pick in the history of the NBA Draft, Anthony Bennett.
This pick made absolutely no sense and Bennett seemed lost and desperate through his entire rookie season, and he’s not even part of an NBA roster anymore despite being drafted 1st overall, but what makes this even stupider is the fact that they could’ve landed Otto Porter, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, CJ McCollum, Rudy Gobert and even Giannis Antetokounmpo instead.