Cavaliers can take positives out of 2011-12 season
Cleveland, OH, United States (AHN Sports) – It wasn’t an easy season and the Cleveland Cavaliers struggled down the stretch but there are still plenty of positives to take away from their 2011-12 campaign.
Cleveland finished on a down note, losing eight of their last nine to finish 21-45. Youth, injuries and inexperience took their toll and the Cavaliers used eight D-League players this year – the most in the NBA.
The Cavaliers are young and will be that way next season as well with four picks in this June’s NBA Draft.
The Cavaliers will find out their first round pick in the draft lottery and also have the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks on June 28.
The last draft yielded Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Irving is the favorite to win the league’s Rookie of the Year award while Thompson led all rookies in total rebounds.
“This offseason is big for us – especially for the current players and the guys we’re drafting,” said Thompson. “We have four picks so it’s going to be interesting. We have a young nucleus going on right now and it’s going to be fun.”
Irving played just 11 games in his only season at Duke and there were some questions regarding just how big an impact he would have this season. He answered those questions by leading all first-year players in scoring and finishing second in assists, three-point and free-throw shooting.
“If I do get (Rookie of the Year), it’ll be a great accomplishment for the city of Cleveland, my teammates and myself,” said Irving. “I couldn’t have done it without them. The confidence they had in me allowed me to be myself and play my game.”
“The progression of Kyrie from game 1 to game 50 probably exceeded everyone’s expectations,” coach Byron Scott said. “I don’t think anyone expected him to do what he did this season.”
The Cavs will have two first-round picks, and general manager Chris Grant estimated the team will be nearly $20 million under the salary cap.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Scott said. “It’s still going to be a long process, guys. We’re probably not going to be there this coming year, but if we hit home runs in the draft it puts us in a position to get much better quicker.”