Like Wizards, Cavs after scoring forwards

Like Wizards, Cavs after scoring forwards
May 29, 2013, 10:30 pm
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There is a team owning a very high selection in the upcoming NBA Draft reportedly willing to trade the aforementioned high selection for a point-producing forward. 

In this instance, we are not referencing the No. 3 picking Wizards but the team in Cleveland currently on the NBA Draft clock.

In his latest mock draft, SI.com's Chris Mannix has the Cavaliers selecting Kentucky center Nerlens Noel but adds, "The Cavs have acknowledged that they will listen to offers for the top pick, and rival executives say they are looking for an established scoring forward in return."

Sound familiar

Now, Noel is frequently projected as the top pick despite the reality that a torn ACL likely keeps the shot blocker out of action until December. As a long term play, the slight 6-foot-10 center makes sense for the Cavs and Wizards, but both teams have more immediate and somewhat similar needs elsewhere, specifically, at small forward. Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. is arguably the top 3-man in the draft class and is often linked to both teams (Mannix has the Wizards selecting the Hoyas' leading scorer while other pundits have suggested Cleveland could go with Porter at one). 

However, Porter is not a dynamic scorer and no rookie will bring the NBA experience Cleveland and Washington desire, which brings us back to the trade speculation.

First, there are quite a few similarities between the two Eastern Conference squads beyond looking for scoring help. The Wizards have a young and potentially dynamic backcourt with John Wall and Bradley Beal while Cleveland starts Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Nene is Washington's top interior presence. The Cavs can counter with their own Brazilian big man in Anderson Varejao. The Wizards have other usable or potentially interesting big options with Emeka Okafor and Kevin Seraphin while the Tristan Thompson rounds out Cleveland's current core. Both Okafor and Varejao could be playing their final seasons in Washington and Cleveland respectively, which is why Noel is an option for both teams even though he will not help with generating offense.

Another similarity: Until the Wizards re-sign Martell Webster, neither team has an clear-cut scoring small forward, though Trevor Ariza trumps anything on Cleveland's roster.

Dan Feldman with ProBasketballTalk notes nine NBA small forwards averaged at least 15 points per game last season: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Rudy Gay, Paul George, Luol Deng, Danilo Gallinari, Chandler Parsons.

In terms of a one-for-one deal, there is not an obvious fit for the first (or third) overall pick. After moving past no chance options James, Anthony, Durant and George, the others are either not worthy of a straight up trade, are too costly or simply older than either of these retooling organizations need based on the trade cost. 

The Cavaliers have four picks in the draft, one more than the Wizards, meaning both teams have draft day pieces to package in addition to players currently under contract. Even then the odds of a deal taking place are slim because the odds of any deal taking place is slim, but especially if the target is as narrow as a scoring small forward (the Wizards can take on other positions assuming the player can put the ball in the basket with efficient regularity). Perhaps the real takeaway is that others are also after what Washington needs, including those with a higher pick.

Click here to read Mannix's entire mock draft.