Cavs in need of new foun­da­tion

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Matt Ep­pers

With LeBron James gone, seem­ingly for good this time, the Cava­liers are in full-on re­build­ing mode again. With a young and dis­jointed ros­ter, the Cavs are a fran­chise in need of a foun­da­tion player. They’re in need of star power.

En­ter Zion Wil­liamson. The pre­sump­tive top pick in June’s draft would ben­e­fit ev­ery team. But he’d make an im­mense, im­me­di­ate im­pact on a floun­der­ing Cavs team in search of a con­crete di­rec­tion for­ward. Wil­liamson would in­stantly be­come the clearcut cor­ner­stone piece around whom to build.

Collin Sex­ton, drafted eighth over­all last year, has shown prom­ise while fight­ing through the typ­i­cal ups and downs of a rookie sea­son. How­ever, he’s bet­ter suited for a com­ple­men­tary role around a star. As the best col­lege prospect to en­ter the league since An­thony Davis, Wil­liamson is that star.

Be­yond his box-of­fice draw, Wil­liamson fits well with the Cavs’ other pieces.

Cleve­land has ex­pressed in­ter­est in po­ten­tially trad­ing Kevin Love, 30. But with four years and roughly $120 mil­lion left on his con­tract, find­ing a trade part­ner could be dif­fi­cult. If the Cavs elected to keep him, Love pairs well with Wil­liamson on pa­per. Love’s abil­ity to stretch the floor and shoot from the perime­ter would al­low Wil­liamson the space to wreak havoc in­side with his 6-7, 285-pound frame. Wil­liamson’s pass­ing needs work, but col­laps­ing de­fenses would leave shoot­ers like Love and Sex­ton open on the out­side.

Wil­liamson also needs to im­prove his play­mak­ing abil­i­ties, but he has shown the raw tal­ent at Duke and has the ath­leti­cism to do so. He has the tools to be a sec­ondary, and even pri­mary, play­maker to com­ple­ment Sex­ton, who has shown a tenac­ity that would pair well with Wil­liamson’s all-out style of play.

It’s cer­tainly unfair to com­pare Wil­liamson to an all-time great like James be­fore he’s played an NBA game. But he would get the fan base buzzing again and in­ject hope into the fran­chise on its road back to rel­e­vance.

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