Sunday, November 17, 2019 Elyria 27°

Jim Ingraham

Commentary: Drafting well is the name of the game in the NBA, just ask the Cavs

  • 24393289

    The late Robert "Tractor" Traylor dunks against the Atlanta Hawks during a game in Atlanta in 2004. In the Cavs' NBA Draft history, "Tractor" fits in nicely with Austin Carr and John "Hot Rod" Williams.



For the Cavaliers, the NBA Draft has been the best of times (LeBron James, first overall, 2003), the worst of times (Anthony Bennett, first overall, 2013) and the Sir Dominic Pointer of times (second round, 2015).

It’s that time of year when the Cavs are liable to go poetic (Bagley and Magley, first and second rounds, 1982) or phonetic (Potapenko and Ilgauskas, first round 1996).

Curiously, Sir Dominic is not related to Bobby Sura (first round, 1995) nor Donald Royal (third round, 1987).

The Cavs have drafted a Buzz (Peterson, seventh round, 1985) and a Boozer (Carlos, second round, 2002). Because, as we all know, everybody loves some player sometime, which is probably why, in the 10th round in 1973, the Cavs drafted Dean Martin.

They probably got a kick out of that pick, but they got a Foot(s Walker) out of their third-round pick in 1974.

Contrary to popular belief, although the Cavs have had some slapstick picks over the years, they never drafted Larry or Curly. But in the second round in 1976 they did draft Moe Howard.

Why, I oughta …!

In the second round of the 1975 draft the Cavs tried to fit a Roundfield (Dan) into a square court.

But seriously folks, the draft, as we all know, is no laughing matter, a fact the Cavs brazenly ignored in the fourth round in 1973 when they selected Luke Witte.

The beauty of the NBA Draft is that there is one every year, so if you don’t like your team’s picks, you only have to wait a year to not like them again. In the Cavs’ case, if you can’t stand the Kinch (Chad, first round, 1980), draft a Hinchen (Vince, fifth round, 1984). In the second round in 1985, the Cavs drafted Hot Rod Williams, whose name wrote its own headline late in his career when he signed with Miami. Apparently Hot Rod could stand the Heat.

The Cavs drafted Austin Carr first overall in 1971. Hot Rod and Carr not only should have played together, but Tractor Traylor should have been on that team also. When the three of them were looking for a place to park their cars they could have flipped their Randolph Keys (first round, 1988) to Carl Lott (fifth round, 1987).

Speaking of Elisha McSweeney, the Cavs drafted him in the 10th round in 1976. “Elisha McSweeney” sounds more like a song title than a power forward, but, hey, in the 10th round in those days, teams would draft the owner’s nephew, or the coach’s baby sitter’s boyfriend.

Elisha McSweeney played his college ball at that basketball factory Minnesota State University at Mankato, which the Cavs apparently heavily scouted that year … and apparently haven’t since.

The lone Granger drafted by the Cavs was Stewart (first round, 1983). In the first round in 1989, the Cavs liked John Morton’s stake in the game so much they drafted him in the first round. He should have played on the same team with Cooke (Joe, sixth round 1970) and Waiters (Dion, first round 2012).

The real draft fun, however, was found in the late rounds in the 1970s. For example, in the 10th round in 1978 the Cavs drafted Gary Winston from West Point. I’m guessing he was a gunner. Grambling’s Joe Cannon (18th round in 1970) certainly was.

The draft wasn’t televised back then, but it is now, which gives us all the chance to see what all the top picks are wearing. That wasn’t the case during the fourth round in 1984, when the Cavs made their pick. But no one was caring what Art Aron was wearing.

Through the years the Cavs have drafted everyone from a Haywood (Brendan, first round, 2001) to a Haymore (Mark, eighth round, 1979), which goes to show that what goes around comes around, unless what goes around is named Hank Siemiontkowski (fourth round 1972). He’s on his own.

As the rebuilding Cavs make their picks tonight keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rome WAS drafted on this day, however. Clemson’s Stan Rome was taken by the Cavs in the fourth round in 1978, but Rome, Rome had no range.

In the 10th and final round of the 1984 draft, the Cavs selected Northeastern Illinois University star (if there is such a phrase) Darrell Space, for whom the term “spacing the floor” was coined, although I have absolutely no proof of that.

Since entering the league in 1970 the Cavs have taken part in 48 NBA Drafts. Through the years they have drafted an Oak, a Joke and a Mope. I’m only at liberty to reveal the Oak: Charles Oakley (first round, 1985), but they immediately traded him — yikes! — for Keith Lee.

Hopefully they’ll do better tonight, so we can toast them with, if not some bubbly, some Bubbles, (Harris, 14th round, 1971).

Contact Jim Ingraham at and follow him @Jim_Ingraham on Twitter.

Click to view comments
To Top

Fetching stories…