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Year after drafting LeBron, Cavs need Jameer


June 4, 2004 | ESPN.com's NBA Finals coverage

The Cleveland Cavaliers don't have the luxury of picking No. 1 one in this year's draft, as they did last year when they took LeBron James No. 1 overall. Cleveland is sitting at No. 10 this year. It's an important pick as the Cavs try to add another piece of the puzzle en route to building a contender.

Jameer Nelson
Jameer Nelson could've provided immediate help for several NBA teams that chose high schoolers instead.
The Cavaliers have brought in a number of players to audition for a backup point-guard slot. They have a serious need for someone to be able to step up behind starter Jeff McInnis. To me, they can solve that problem easily.

Hear me out, coach Paul Silas and GM Jim Paxson: Have the guts and confidence to pick the talented guard from Philadelphia -- that's right, look to Hawk Hill on the Saint Joseph's campus in the the City of Brotherly Love, and take point guard Jameer Nelson in the first round.

Don't listen to the naysayers who say he's too small and can't defend anyone on the perimeter. Forget about that nonsense, because Nelson would be the answer to many of your team's problems. He's a true leader on the court, bringing tremendous enthusiasm and excitement as he makes his teammates better. Remember, opponents will have to guard him too!

His quickness, his upper-body strength and his ability to make shots all make him something special. Nelson has a unique tenacity and mental toughness. All of his life, he's heard critics question his size. But he had a brilliant career at St. Joe's, doing a phenomenal job for coach Phil Martelli and winning most of the big national player-of-the-year awards.

Nelson handled all the pressure as his Hawks went through the regular season undefeated. He carried the load as his team made it to the Elite Eight. Clearly, he was the engine that made St. Joe's go.

Nelson will be a solid player in the NBA. He's a winner, and his special winning mentality and court sense will make him a key asset to the team that drafts him. LeBron's ability would go up another notch with a guy like Nelson on the floor with him.

The art of making shots is often lost today in the game of pro basketball. That is one of Nelson's skills, the ability to convert and make baskets under pressure. He'll be a handful for anyone trying to guard him on the perimeter.

At No. 10, Jameer Nelson would be a great pick for the Cavaliers.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he has been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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