The Cleveland Cavaliers landed the 5th pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Although this is disappointing given that the Cavs shared the best odds to land the #1 overall pick with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, the 2019 draft class is loaded with top quality prospects. Also owning the 26th pick in the draft via a trade with the Houston Rockets, this means that the Cavs will still end up with two excellent young players on their roster for the 2019-2020 season (just no Zion Williamson).
The 26th pick, and all other non-lottery picks for that matter, have been given little attention with this year’s star studded lottery talent. However, Cleveland can utilize this late first round pick to draft a crucial piece of their future. Analyzing their needs, other than scoring, one thing is certain; the Cavs need a big man. With Tristan Thompson entering the waning stages of his career and no clear heir to the rebounding throne, this is where the 26th pick could prove invaluable. UCF’s 7 footer Tacko Fall and Georgia’s Goga Bitadze are two likely options. As one of the tallest draft prospects in history, Fall clearly fits the bill. As for Bitadze, the 6’11” big man has proven he can space the floor in addition to collecting boards. A final question to think about; should Cleveland draft Purdue’s walking bucket Carsen Edwards? THAT would be a shocker.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will almost certainly not be able to draft the likes of Duke stars Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett as well as Murray State’s outstanding point guard Ja Morant. With the Los Angeles Lakers selecting just ahead of them, the Cavs must be prepared to draft multiple prospects. Likely to fall between picks 4 and 8 are Virginia SF De’Andre Hunter, Texas Tech SG Jarrett Culver, Vanderbilt PG Darius Garland, Duke SG Cam Reddish, and North Carolina PG Coby White.
Based on the current make-up of their roster, the Cavs must decide what they’re looking for. With PG Collin Sexton entering his sophomore campaign after showing flashes of brilliance at the end of the regular season, the question becomes, “What do we do with him?” Although Sexton began to average over 20 points during the last stretch of games, his assist totals weren’t exactly eye catching. This leaves the Cavs an interesting option; move Collin Sexton to shooting guard. With top-tier playmaking in PGs Darius Garland and Coby White likely available at pick #5, the Cavs could afford to move Sexton to the 2 and have a young, blindingly fast backcourt with a veteran frontcourt in Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.
The Lakers are in desperate need of quality big men, and all signs point to De’Andre Hunter going to LA at pick #4. That said, should he fall to #5, whether or not the Cavs draft him depends on their stance with All Star PF Kevin Love. With Love’s name constantly whirling in and out of trade rumors and his signing of a massive contract extension, there is no reasonable way to speculate on Cleveland’s intentions if Hunter were to be available at pick #5.
Another option is to draft a high volume scoring guard, and Duke’s Cam Reddish and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver both fit that criteria. Although clearly the third wheel behind Zion and RJ, Reddish still managed to put up over 18 PPG for the Blue Devils. Jarrett Culver drastically improved his draft stock with his play throughout March as he too averaged over 18 PPG for the Red Raiders. Either of these two could find themselves in the Wine and Gold come next season, and rightfully so.
We’ll just have to wait and see.