21 September 2020

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Draft Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers had the worst record in the Eastern Conference before the NBA season was suspended. At 19-46, they are currently in position to take the #2 (not taking the lottery into account). 

The Cavalier had a rough season this year, even for them. The Head Coach they had signed for four years, John Beilein, only coached for half of a season before stepping down. There were also points where Kevin Love was about to explode because of his situation in Cleveland. This had led many to believe that Kevin Love likely will not be a Cavalier by the start of next season.

At the trade deadline, they had made a move to acquire two-time All-Star Andre Drummond for John Henson, Brandon Knight, and a future second-round pick. It was a questionable move by both sides but it happened, so here we are. The Cavaliers reportedly plan on re-signing Drummond in the offseason or at the very least, Drummond seems like he’s leaning more and more towards accepting his Player Option this summer.

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The Cavaliers currently have two young, talented Point Guards on their roster in Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. They have a surprisingly solid Small Forward in Cedi Osman and then Love and Drummond. Despite the team on paper looking like a pretty solid one, in reality it’s a dumpster fire. The Cavaliers have the opportunity to help right their ship with this upcoming draft, so here are the top three choices for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

3. Killian Hayes

At 6’5″ with a good handle and a willingness to absorb contact, Killian is projected by some in the NBA to be a 2020 lottery pick.Photo courtesy of NBA Academies

If the NBA lottery doesn’t work in their favor and they fall to six or seven, Killian Hayes would be a wonderful choice for them. The Cavaliers may already have two Point Guards in Garland and Sexton, but them playing together has already proven that one of them needs to go. Now, before anyone says ‘but then why would they add another Point Guard? It’s the same problem,’ remember that unlike Sexton who is playing Shooting Guard at 6’1, Hayes is 6’5.

Killian Hayes was having a great year in the Eurocup before the entire world was shut down. Hayes showed off his potential as one of the better two-way guards in the draft. On offense, he is one of the most consistent scorers in the draft. He’s scoring nearly 12.8 points (which is impressive for international basketball) on 50% shooting from two and 39% from three. He is also an excellent passer averaging 6.2 assists.

On defense, Hayes averages 1.5 steals per game and has shown potential of being an excellent perimeter defender.

The Cavaliers would utilize him to play alongside one of their two guards while the other is likely to be traded. Garland would be a better fit next to Hayes as Sexton relies on having the ball a lot to score, however, he is also more injury-prone and more likely to be traded.

Hayes would still play well with Sexton. Sexton would still essentially play Shooting Guard on offense as Hayes is a better playmaker. On defense, Hayes would switch over to Shooting Guard to defend the taller players. It would be an interesting combination, but a promising one too. Throw in whatever they’d get for Garland and that team could be dangerous.

2. Deni Avdija

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Avdija is a player in the EuroLeague playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He is considered the best international prospect in the draft by many. He is a great scorer who can find the bottom of the basketb from anywhere. At 6’7, he makes a promising wing for any team that drafts him.

The Cavaliers currently have Cedi Osman as their starter. Osman was a wonderful surprise for the Cavaliers after he was drafted 31st overall. He quickly became a key floor spacer on their team shooting 38.3% from deep on 4.9 attempts. 

His defense, unfortunately, is not as impressive. A player like Osman gives off more of a sixth man vibe. He would thrive as a key two-three off the bench that would go out and get some buckets.

He’d be replaced by Avdija. Deni is only 19 years old and has already shown how impressive he is internationally. He’d take Osman’s role as a starter and would hopefully thrive in his role. He’d mainly be a scorer who would get set up by Garland or Sexton. His consistency (if it translates) would be a huge piece for the Cavaliers; Especially if they can keep Love and Drummond.

1. Anthony Edwards

Tony Walsh / UGA Sport

Anthony Edwards is considered the best player in the NBA draft. Coming out of Georgia, Edwards has shown potential to be the best player on a team. 

Edwards is a great scorer. He averaged 19.1 points per game. His inside-the-arc scoring is beyond impressive, scoring 50.4% from inside. It is a result of his remarkable quickness and athleticism to out-speed his opponents and get to the rim. 

His largest issue is his three-point shooting. Despite shooting 7.7 shots from beyond the arc, only hits on 29.4% of his shots. Developing a three-point shot is a necessity for Edwards if he wants to thrive in the NBA. For a few seasons he will be able to get by on his athleticism, but only if he shows solid improvements each season. His playmaking is also a bit of an issue but it’s not as important for a Shooting Guard.

Like Killian Hayes, Edwards would mean either Sexton or Garland would need to go. In this case, Sexton would likely be traded because Edwards essentially Sexton but four inches taller. Edwards and Garland would make for one of the most compelling young duos in the NBA. The two of them are both incredibly athletic, great but inconsistent scorers, and have loads of potential. The two of them together could lead Cleveland back to greatness as Cleveland’s new backcourt.

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