Cleveland Cavaliers 2006 Draft Preview
(Sports Network) - LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers took a huge step in the 2005-06 season, as they won 50 games and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1998.
Cleveland won its first playoff series since 1993 in the first round, as it knocked off Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards in six tough contests. The Cavaliers fell in seven games in the conference semifinals to the Detroit Pistons.
James is the incredible player that the Cavaliers believed he would be when they drafted him No. 1 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. The 21-year-old James led the club in scoring (31.4 ppg) and assists (6.6 apg) during the regular season. He was third on the team in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and has become the leader that the franchise hoped he would become.
In his first postseason action, James shined on the NBA biggest stage. He averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The 6-8 James has single- handidly put Cleveland back on the NBA map.
Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry has surrounded James with a solid supporting cast. Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Donyell Marshall and Anderson Varejao give the Cavaliers versatility in the frontcourt, while Larry Hughes, Damon Jones, Ronald Murray and Eric Snow combine to give the Cavs depth in the backcourt.
Hughes played just 36 games because of a finger injury and averaged 15.4 points in his first season with Cleveland, while Gooden led the club in rebounding (8.4 rpg). Ilgauskas scored 15.6 points and grabbed 7.6 rebounds in 78 contests and Marshall, who also completed his first season with the Cavaliers, averaged 9.3 points and 6.1 boards in 81 games.
The Cavaliers will simply pick the highest rated player on their draft board. The 25th overall pick will hopefully get them someone who can contribute in the future, which is very bright in Cleveland.
Key Player(s): Drew Gooden (Forward), Larry Hughes (Guard), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Center), LeBron James (Forward/Guard), Damon Jones (Guard), Donyell Marshall (Forward), Ronald Murray (Guard), Eric Snow (Guard), Anderson Varejao (Forward).
Team Needs: A big man who can rebound and block shots and a point guard for the future.
Draft picks: 1st round (25th overall), 2nd round (42nd overall), 2nd round (55th overall).CLE