The Cavaliers took a power forward last year with the fourth pick in the NBA Draft. They wouldn’t come right back Thursday and take another power forward with the fourth pick, would they?
It’s not likely, but several reputable mock drafts do have Kansas’ Thomas Robinson joining Tristan Thompson in Cleveland’s frontcourt.
Assuming Kentucky’s Anthony Davis goes No. 1 to New Orleans, Robinson in a Cavs uniform could become reality if the next two players taken are Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes — and Cleveland is not super high on the one remaining at No. 4.
It is not known which of the three players the Cavs are least high on, but if that player is the only one left after Charlotte picks at No. 2 and Washington chooses at No. 3, Cleveland could elect to take the 6-foot-8¾, 244-pound Robinson.
Of course, if the 21-year-old Robinson goes to the Bobcats at No. 2, as a lot of experts predict, the Cavs would then have at least two players out of Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist and Barnes from which to choose after Washington selects at No. 3.
Robinson averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds while ranking first in the nation with 27 double-doubles as a junior, when he led Kansas to the national championship game against Kentucky.
“Physically, he’s NBA ready,” Pro Basketball Draft’s Joe Kotoch said.
“He’s a very good athlete and a good rebounder, but he’s a little raw offensively. He needs to develop a 15- to 18-footer, but he’s a winner with good character. He’s very polished.”
Considered solid in most every area but exceptional in none, Robinson was listed at 6-10 by Kansas but measured 1¼ inches shorter — in shoes — at the NBA Draft Combine.
Robinson shot .505 from the field and .682 at the line last season and is a more polished offensive player than Thompson, who, though he already has one NBA season under his belt, is a year younger and considered to have more upside.
“I’d rate Tristan higher because he’s younger and better defensively,” Kotoch said. “You’ll get more from Robinson offensively, but I think the Cavs are better off with Tristan at this point.”
In the opinion of most draft experts, in part because they already have Thompson, the Cavs would be better off with Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist or Barnes with the No. 4 pick.
If Cleveland does take one of those three players, which is likely, there’s a decent chance it could come back and take a power forward if it keeps the No. 24 pick in the first round.
Not even counting No. 1 pick Davis, who is considered a center by some, the power forward position is considered the deepest in the draft.
Guys like Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, North Carolina’s John Henson and Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie are locks to go in the first round, as are a number of other power forwards the Cavs might consider if they are still on the board at No. 24.
In addition to Sullinger, who has a very slight chance of slipping that far, two to keep an eye on are Baylor’s Quincy Miller and St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson.
Miller’s stock has been falling and many think he should have stayed in school, but he may be worth a gamble late in the first round on talent alone.
“He’s got top-10 talent,” Kotoch said. “If he was in last year’s draft, he would have gone in the top 15 for sure.”
Nicholson’s stock has been rising as fast as Miller’s has been falling. He’s a stretch four and might be able to provide some much-needed perimeter shooting to the Cavs, who are losing free agent Antawn Jamison.
“The draft is deep in the power forward spot,” NBA scouting director Ryan Blake said. “There’s seven potential lottery picks, including the No. 1 pick.
“No two power forwards are really alike. There are very different strengths on the table. There will be a lot of guys drafted in the second round, or undrafted, who will probably make rotations.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or email@example.com.
Top power forwards
• Thomas Robinson, Kansas, 21 (6-8¾, 244): Not out of question to Cavs at No. 4
• Terrence Jones, Kentucky, 20 (6-9½, 252): Left-hander strong and athletic
• Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, 20 (6-9, 268): Back issues causing stock to drop
• John Henson, North Carolina, 21 (6-10½, 216): Athletic, but needs strength
• Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State, 21 (6-10¾, 233): Not a star, but could be solid
• WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.
• WHERE: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
• TV: ESPN
• ROUNDS: 2
• CAVS PICKS: 4, 24, 33, 34