|ESPN.com: Draft 2012||[Print without images]|
|Cleveland fans panned the pick, but the Cavs' brass got the player they wanted in Dion Waiters.|
“When the draft started, Grant and his team had to rely on all the work they had already done and have the discipline to keep to the decisions that that work had led them to. By their very nature, draft nights can quickly go from organized to chaos because of the pressure and time constraints. The Cavs had five minutes to make their pick once the Washington Wizards made their selection at No. 3. Simply, there's never time to wish you'd taken more time. "You've got to try to take the emotion out of it; it can be easy to act like a drunken sailor," Grant said. "It can be easy to lose patience. You have to trust your process." That process played out in a narrow boardroom down the hall from Grant's office. Considering it's within the team's palatial $25 million practice facility, the team's austere draft room actually seemed a bit out of place with its utilitarian setup. A simple long wooden table was surrounded by four white walls all made of dry-erase board. There were markings and magnets with information everywhere like some sort of executive kindergarten. The table was covered in color-coded charts and notes, the product of thousands of man hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars all to help the team, and specifically its head of basketball operations, make these tough yet vital decisions. Decisions, so the plan goes, to be executed without emotion. Two months ago, when the team really started its draft process, there were about nine players who could've been its first pick. (Then several dozen or so more possibilities for the second pick, No. 24 overall.) By Thursday night, it was down to about four. There were numerous opinions and each scout and coach had slightly different lists. But it was pretty clear there were two names at the top once everything had been culled: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky and Dion Waiters of Syracuse. The Cavs were also quite high on Bradley Beal of Florida and Harrison Barnes of North Carolina. They had done exhaustive research on all four players. There wasn't much separating them. That's the real edge of any draft: Even with so many trained eyes and objective measurement tools, there's always an uncomfortable uncertainty. This is generally accepted if not at all embraced. The Cavs' rankings did not totally jibe with what many outside the room felt. Especially on Waiters, a prospect who was not highly regarded in many mock drafts because he came off the bench in his two seasons at Syracuse and, more likely, because he'd shut down pre-draft workouts a month ago. He did not come to Cleveland for a private workout and meeting, for example, even though the Cavs and other teams had wanted to host him. Waiters had gotten a promise from a team that it'd pick him and he and his agent, Rob Pelinka, were content to skip the normal process. There's a belief this promise came from the Phoenix Suns with the No. 13 pick, though Waiters and the Suns have so far refused to talk about it. As a result, Waiters was not ranked highly and many fans did not read or hear much about him in the days leading to the draft. There had been some buzz about the Cavs' interest but only if they traded back. But looking for an aggressive and tough scorer, the Cavs had done highly detailed work on Waiters and he kept impressing them. "I just couldn't get him out of my mind," Grant said. Trent Redden, the Cavs' director of college personnel, had been to Syracuse's campus several times to see and gather information on Waiters. Grant spent three days there watching Waiters practice and play and attended a couple of the Orange's NCAA tournament games. Several of the team's other decision-makers had watched Waiters extensively as well. In addition, the Cavs had talked at great length with Syracuse's coaching staff. Grant has known Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins since they were both in high school.
You've got to try to take the emotion out of it; it can be easy to act like a drunken sailor. It can be easy to lose patience. You have to trust your process.” -- Cavaliers GM Chris Grant
|Dion Waiters averaged 12.6 points per game at Syracuse last season.|
|After some dealing by GM Chris Grant, Zeller became a Cav.|