2012 NBA Draft Grades: Mavs Trade Tyler Zeller to Cleveland at No. 17

Dallas Mavericks trade with Cleveland Cavaliers | Last Season: 21-45 (13th in Eastern Conference) | Draft Picks: 4, Traded 24, 33, and 34 for 17

Season Summary: The Cleveland Cavaliers started the Kyrie Irving era off in a way that you would expect. Basically, the team was not very good for most of the season. There is some talent on the team, but injuries hurt the team. Depth was not a strength, which meant players who should not be playing were playing big minutes. Not exactly a recipe for success in today’s NBA. At least Irving was fun to watch when he was healthy.

Draft Needs: The Cavs are another team in need of talent. Outside of point guard, a lot of their positions are still open. They could go a lot of different ways with their first pick. They could also package their other picks together to pick up another high draft pick. I expect the Cavs to look for a shooting guard or a small forward. There is a certain guy from Kentucky who is known by his initials that would fit in perfectly with Irving.

#17 Pick: Tyler Zeller| C | North Carolina

The ACC player of the year, Zeller nearly average a triple-double last season with 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds.  Zeller can get up and down and score inside and out.  He may never be a star in the NBA, but he will most likely have a long, productive career at the next level.  The Cavs gave up the 24th, 33rd, and 34th pick for Zeller.  A confounding decision considering that have multiple needs.

2012-2013 Outlook: The Cavs will not make the playoffs, but they are certainly on the right track. Another year of development will help Irving and adding more NBA talent around him can only help. The Cavs might upset a couple teams along the way but I think they are at least two more years away from the playoffs.

Check out all of Rant Sports 2012 NBA Draft Grades from the 1st Round.