Better Know a Draft Pick: Christian Eyenga

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In part three of the "Better Know a Draft Pick" series, I'll look at the Cleveland Cavaliers' first-round selection, Christian Eyenga.

The Good
Well, I've never actually seen Eyenga play. Hailing from the Congo, Eyenga is a 20-year-old, 6'6" small forward. Judging from this video, Eyenga is a young, athletic prospect who can dunk, if nothing else.

The Bad
Eyenga played in the Spanish ACB League with DKV Joventut last year. That's the same program that produced Ricky Rubio, but reports say that Eyenga played for what amounts to the JV team. With Cleveland in position to make a run at the 2010 NBA championship, it's hard to imagine Eyenga seeing much playing time. The Cavs could have taken a more proven commodity with the 30th pick such as Pitt's DeJuan Blair or Sam Young, Arizona State's Jeff Pendergraph, or Arizona's Chase Budinger.

The Unknown
Very few people know anything about Eyenga's game. Although the Cavaliers clearly saw something they liked, you have to wonder what it was judging by DraftExpress' critique of Eyenga: "Not likely to develop into a big-time prospect, Eyenga’s athleticism makes him moderately intriguing as a defensive-oriented small forward (who plays bigger than his size) with—hopefully—a decent outside stroke."

The chances he'll see playing time for the Erie BayHawks
90 percent. Condsidering the fact that the Cavaliers sent rookie Darnell Jackson down to Erie on two separate occasions last season, it seems likely that they'll at least take a similar stance with Eyenga, although it's quite possible that a player with as little experience as Eyenga could actually spend most—or all—of his rookie season as a member of the BayHawks, honing his skills for the NBA at the D-League level.

Final Thoughts
I don't think anyone outside of the Cavs' war room expected to hear the name Christian Eyenga when David Stern announced the 30th pick. When you factor in the Cavaliers' legitimate title hopes next season, it seems very likely that Eyenga's initital impact may be felt more significantly in Erie than in Cleveland.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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