Heading into the 2019 NBA draft , the Cleveland Cavaliers hold the 5th and the 26th pick which guarantees they will acquire one of the more heralded prospects in the 2019 class.
Cleveland endured a torrid season following the departure of LeBron James, posting a 19-63 record. This gifted them with a 14% chance to win the first overall pick equal to the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns but all three controversially missed out to the New Orleans Pelicans who won with 6% odds.
All hopes of a new era with Zion Williamson quickly evaporated with that result and forced Cavs fans to settle for a lesser prospect. Although they could prove to be a success, the Cavs will always wonder what could’ve been.
Despite the disappointment, the Cavaliers enter the draft clouded by questions. The majority centred on the future of All-Star Kevin Love and whether the Cavs would like to commit to a full rebuild. 1st year Head Coach John Beilein currently has a roster in transition and is already languishing towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Many experts anticipate that Cleveland will endure another season of struggle in 2019-20. However, this provides Beilein, a rookie Head Coach to find his feet in uncharted territory and will give the Cavs an added incentive to develop a young roster with an improving core of Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr and Cedi Osman.
This could also prove to be the opportunity to take the franchise into the future alongside the 8th overall pick in 2018 Sexton. Whether Bellein and GM Koby Altman decide to pursue a backcourt partner for Sexton or whether they opt to bolster their frontcourt, one thing is certain the Cavaliers have options.
Another option for the Cavs to explore would be a Love trade. It has been rumoured to the New Orleans Pelicans are interested in the player former GM David Griffin traded for in 2014 and would be willing to offer the fourth overall pick. This would give the Cavaliers one of the best young cores in the NBA. One guarantee is tonight will be interesting
Here we take a look at who the Cavaliers could target.
Reddish was once part of the heralded Duke “big three” alongside RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson has seen his stock fallen at the expense of the former two.
The forward could well have fallen out the lottery due to his performances. However, many will question whether it was his reduced role on offense that impacted his play.
This will likely mean that a top ten will gamble on improved performances from the former Duke star. Reddish averaged 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists. All while shooting 45.9% from the field. More importantly Reddish has room to grow.
However, Reddish must improve to be effective at the NBA level as he lacks explosiveness and isn’t as effective as teams would like at the rim. Reddish will also need to develop as a playmaker but that could prove to be motivation as he was unable to showcase his talents to the fullest playing for the Blue Devils.
Despite this, Reddish has an NBA ready body and will look to be a regular contributor almost immediately. His role as a third option and as consistent threat on the perimeter at Duke will prove beneficial in his early NBA days to produce in a similar role.
This could prove valuable for Cleveland due to their need at the small forward position. Reddish could immediately come in and contribute a reasonably high level. The former Duke star would provide an immediate perimeter threat and would compliment Sexton and Osman very nicely.
Despite enjoying a torrid injury run last season. When Garland played a mere five games he still ranks as one of the better prospects in the 2019 seat.
This means that Garland will be regarded as one of the biggest wildcards in the draft. Despite this it is predicted Garland will go in the top ten as Phoenix and Chicago are deemed to be among the neediest teams when it comes to the point guard position.
Nonetheless, Garland still ranking as such a well regarded prospect reflects his status as such an immense talent. Garland could quite easily be an immediate contributor in the NBA.
During his five games he played Garland averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The former Vanderbilt man demonstrated signs that he was a mature player beyond his years and ran the offense in a composed fashion proving his ability as a natural leader.
The former Vanderbilt man possesses great shooting range, can score in a variety of ways and has the ability to fulfil a role as a playmaker often finding his bigs with devastatingly accurate lobs.
Like other prospects there are worries. Garland has health concerns which could make teams reluctant but more importantly, Garland is often a liability at the defensive end. In order to fulfil his sky high potential, the former college star must work on his weaknesses.
Although the Cavaliers are believed to have their point guard of the future in Sexton, they could look to double down. Garland has the ability to revert to shooting guard due to his range and could create one of the most dynamic and young backcourts in the league. But Garland must work on his defense in order to be effective as a shooting guard.
Hunter is regarded as the best prospect in the draft outside of the “big three”. Although Hunter hasn’t provided the same level of excitement, he could easily be the prospect that contributes most effectively in 2019-20.
The Virginia man has a skillset to admire and his three-and-d game fits perfectly in the positionless Basketball the NBA currently thrives on. Hunter is a highly skilled defender and can quite capably guard a number of positions with his length and intelligence.
Hunter averaged a solid 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2 assists per game for Virginia and was instrumental in guiding the Cavaliers to the national title. During the championship game, Hunter showed he can truly be regarded as a composed leader nailing two pivotal shots to give Virginia their first national title.
The forward was truly efficient at college level last season, averaging a sensational 48.3% clip from downtown. If Hunter could average anything close to that in the NBA he will become one of the premiere deep threats in the league for a long time.
Hunter added an element of the pull-up jump shot last season to his ever growing offensive arsenal. However, whether the former Cavalier can replicate his threat off the dribble is a story for another day.
The good news for Cleveland is that, should they take the former Virginia star he is a player that can make an instant impact. If Love is to be traded, Hunter could prove to be an instant replacement and form one of the best young one-two punches in the NBA with Sexton.