According to CSNNE.com, the Boston Celtics may look to move up in next month’s NBA Draft and there are rumors growing that their target is Kentucky big man Willie Cauley-Stein.
And then two days ago, Candace Buckner of IndyStar.com tweets that during his meeting with Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird, he called Cauley-Stein a “$100 million dollar player.”
Indiana has a better chance of WCS falling to them at 11 than the Celtics do at 16 but the likelihood of him falling past 10 is slim.
But how good is Cauley-Stein really?
He’s definitely the most athletic big man in the draft. Probably the best defensive big in the draft. He has very good hands thanks to his days as a wide receiver in high school.
But that’s not where the concerns lie for me.
His offensive game is virtually non-existent. He has no post moves. No ability to take someone off the dribble in isolation. He’s a terrible free throw shooter and there have been some questions about his motor and focus.
So what kind of a player are we really looking at here?
Often times a team will fall in love with a player’s athleticism and Cauley-Stein certainly has a ton of it for a seven-footer. But is one side of the ball just going to be completely disregarded?
I get that he’s raw and of course can develop some offense to his game. But how much do we really expect him to grow on the offensive end? Look at guys like Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan, both are good players who have had nice careers and Jordan looks like he’s about to get paid. But as good as those guys are there are several flaws they present for their teams that can handicap them at times throughout the course of the game and season and more importantly the playoffs.
And who’s to say he’ll even be as good as those two guys? I would think that any team who drafts Cauley-Stein would pray he becomes that good.
So if you plan on trading up for someone as raw as he is with limitations on one side of the ball, what’s the cost you’re willing to pay?
If you’re Boston and you sit at 16, are you willing to include another first-round pick in order to move into the top-10? I wouldn’t. I’d think you’d be insane to do that to be quite honest. Save those picks for a franchise-changing talent if you’re going to move them via trade.
The cost for the Pacers wouldn’t be as much since they already sit at 11 overall. Maybe a couple of future second rounders could be their price to pay. But one thing to consider for the Pacers is why Larry Bird felt the need to tell Cauley-Stein that he’s a 100 million dollar player?
Possibly for Roy Hibbert to hear and pray he decides it’s time to opt-out? Likely a long shot for Indiana but worth a try at the very least.
Nevertheless, the Willie Cauley-Stein hype seems to be growing rapidly, and while the league seems to be trending towards the athletic big man that jumps all over the place, plays great defense and can do nothing but catch lobs and follow put-backs on offense, I’d still be extremely weary on spending a high price for a one-dimensional talent.
Players like that are nice to have, they just need to be at the right price for me to feel comfortable bringing them in. We’ll see just how much the Celtics and Pacers like Cauley-Stein on draft day.