<
>

Did the Cavaliers Unearth a Big Man?

You may have noticed that Brian Windhorst's insight into the Cleveland Cavaliers is all over this site right now. All good reading.

One thing, in particular, sticks out to me: The frontline is in a delicate state. Zydrunas Ilgauskas has a long-term back concern. Anderson Varejao's ankle has been gimpy. Ben Wallace is slowing down and has had his own back trouble. And Joe Smith departed in the Mo Williams trade.

Yes, Lorenzen Wright is on the scene. J.J. Hickson has been drafted.

But as the team gets into playing at a faster pace (eureka, the king will, allegedly, run free!) Cleveland could be in dire need of horses.

Enter second-round pick Darnell Jackson. Windhorst writes:

He's just a rookie, but after four years at Kansas, Jackson and James are almost the same age. He's also a former high school football star. All of it shows. Though respectful, he hasn't backed down once to the veterans even when Wallace started hitting him with elbows in practice to test him or he was required to put on diapers in the locker room as a hazing ritual.

Coach Mike Brown has raved about him day after day in practice and called him one of the best screen setters he's ever coached. He's an undersized power forward at 6-foot-8 and he likely won't see much playing time early on, but there is no questioning the impression he's leaving. Every year there is a second-round pick who surprises and the Cavs are hopeful they've found a blue-collar banger, which they backed up by giving Jackson a three-year contract.

UPDATE: John Hollinger likes Jackson too, based on projections from his college performance.