Anderson Varejao is having, without question, the best year of his career. He’s the league’s leading rebounder, and it’s not close. Varejao is pulling down 15.3 boards per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Zach Randolph, who’s sitting in second, is at 12.7.
On top of that, Varejao is also averaging 15.1 points per game. His previous career high was 10.6 points per game last year.
Varejao is pretty much a guaranteed double-double every night. He’s going to be on the wish lists of a lot of teams as the trade deadline approaches. In fact, he may be the most coveted prize of this year’s trading season. In the past, the Cavs have been willing to part with the eight-year veteran, but they’ve asked too high a price.
This year the price might be worth paying, but ironically, it might not be what the Cavs want. Cleveland has always asked for a lottery pick (or a couple) for Varejao, but no one wanted to give up that much for a big man who was just going to put up eight and eight. Now that those stats have almost doubled, there could be a couple of contending teams willing to part with a few draft picks to land the veteran center.
The problem is that now things have changed for Cleveland as well. They’ve spent the last couple years acquiring young talent. Last year they had the first and fourth overall draft picks which they used on Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. This year they had the fourth overall pick and drafted Dion Waiters. They’re also currently starting second year point guard Jeremy Pargo (while Irving is out with injury) and fourth year small forward Alonzo Gee.
Basically, they’ve got the young talent they need. At this point acquiring more lottery picks might set them back more than it would help. They need some veteran leadership, which is what they’re getting from Varejao. I really think if the Cavs want to succeed, they need to keep the team they have intact and just grow together. Adding in more young talent might seem like a good idea, but it’s just another year that they need to spend acclimating new players.
In short, keep the big guy and start focusing on now instead of planning for way down the line. The Cavaliers are capable of being a playoff team sooner than you might think.
Image: Sheridan Hoops