Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin believes the team got "appreciably better" through the 2014 NBA Draft.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers set out to get tough, smart, talented basketball players that fit within the confines of what the front office wanted on both ends of the court when the offseason started.
By adding small forward Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick and Joe Harris with the No. 33 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Cavaliers general manager David Griffin feels he has accomplished that mission in step one of the offseason talent-acquisition phase.
"This is a night where the Cavaliers got appreciably better, the kind of night you really look forward to in our business, when you can go home and know that things are going to get a lot brighter from here," Griffin said.
"You're either all the way in or all the way out, and Andrew Wiggins is all the way in on Cleveland, and we're really excited about having him. I don't know that I've talked to a player that's more joyful with where he's gone. I also know that he's made contact with Kyrie Irving, who reached out to him directly. Kyrie's very excited about adding him to the mix and where our family goes from here. We've had a really, really good night."
Wiggins, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound native of Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, and product of the University of Kansas, was an early entry into the NBA Draft, after he averaged 17.1 points, pulled down 5.9 rebounds and handed out 1.5 assists over 32.8 minutes in 35 games for the Jayhawks.
He shot 44.8 percent from the field, 43 of 126 (34.1 percent) from three-point range and hit better than 77 percent of his free throws.
"We were really pulled to Andrew because of the two-way player concept," Griffin said. "Coach (David) Blatt very much believes in a system, defensively, that's predicated on length and athleticism, and this certainly gives us a great dose of that. Andrew's a player that we thought had the most upside in the draft. He's also a player that we're very excited to have be a part of our family."
Wiggins was a second-team All-American, Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and first-team all-conference selection after setting freshman scoring records for points per game, points scored (597), field goals attempted (422), free throws made (176) and attempted (227). He also scored a freshman record 41 points at West Virginia, which made him the first Jayhawk to score 40 or more points since Terry Brown tallied 42 on Jan. 5, 1991.
"He's very much a team guy," Griffin said. "Andrew's not a 'me' guy. He's a 'we' guy. He was doing what needed to be done within the system that was there. They weren't running plays for him to go do his thing. He was taking what was there, and that fits us very well.
"When you've got that level of athleticism, you need to make your presence felt more often than he understood how to. That was something that we did have issues with, and we talked very openly and candidly with him about that. I think Andrew understands there's another level to his game that we're expecting him to find, and he really, really wants to achieve it. He knows he's got more in the tank."
In four years at Virginia, Harris, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound native of Chelan, Washington, averaged 12.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 30.3 minutes in 135 career college games. He shot 44.5 percent (568 of 1,276) from the floor, and 263 of 646 (40.7 percent) from three-point range.
A two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference player, Harris ranks first in Virginia history with 135 games played, second with 263 three-pointers and 11th with 1,698 points scored.
As a senior, Harris ranked second on the team with 12.0 points per game, third in assists, and scored in double figures in 26 of 37 games. He twice eclipsed the 20-point mark in games against Florida State and Hampton, scored 19 against Maryland, stole a season-best five passes against Boston College and corralled seven rebounds on four separate occasions.
Known for his "very good basketball IQ," Harris is considered an "elite" spot-up three-point shooter with talent to hit shots in pull-up situations, according to his NBA Draft prospect profile.
"Joe Harris is a very good complementary piece for us as a shooter, somebody we had rated very highly, much higher than 33 overall, and somebody that we believe is one of the better, if not the best shooters in this draft off of screen action and movement," Griffin said. "That's a big part of what Coach Blatt likes to do.
"From a fit standpoint, he's ideal. From a human standpoint and a working standpoint, he's going to be everything we want our culture to be about, very, very similar to a (guard Matthew) Dellavedova, an overachieving, gritty kid who's going to leave everything he has on the court. Those are the types of qualities we care a great deal about. It's a really, really good night to be a Cavs fan.
"He's a hell of a pin-down shooter, really good off the screens. He's a very tough kid, an overachieving personality. He's somebody that we really have high hopes for in terms of his ability to produce, maybe under-promised and over-delivered."