As the NBA season gets closer to returning, we know that a handful of NBA teams won't be going to Disney World. There's a joke inside there someplace, so I'll allow your mind to finish it for both of us. Because of the NBA season coming to a complete stop "prematurely" for a number of NBA organizations, we find ourselves fully engaged in draft season. With that in mind, I want to make sure to take a closer look at each NBA organization and what that team might be debating as the draft nears closer each and every day. Right now, let's take a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now as I prep ourselves for the belly of the beast which is NBA Mock Drafts, I constantly run into a pickle with the Cleveland Cavaliers. For Mock Draft purposes, I continue to go "old-school" and just use the order by current standings until "Christmas" is here, also known as Lottery Day to some NBA fans. In all of my years of putting together NBA Mock Drafts, this year might cause the most headaches. There's so much uncertainty in the top 10. Cleveland for example is a team I could see going in so many directions. It's almost going to be easier to project the Cavaliers if they somehow slip on lottery day. But for the sake of this article, let's project that everything stands put, and Cleveland finds themselves picking second overall.
So where does Cleveland go? When you look at this roster, there's no secret that the Cavaliers organization should find themselves in talent acquisition mode. This team doesn't have much of an identity yet, meaning that the front office most likely will look to draft the best player available. The team features a number of young ball handlers that were chosen in the lottery during the last two consecutive drafts. Collin Sexton (3rd overall in 2018) and Darius Garland(5th overall in 2019) are still finding their ways in the NBA. Sexton has impressed during the second half of each of his two seasons in the NBA and Garland showed flashes during his rookie year and will need to provide some consistency in his sophomore season. The rest of the roster is all over the place but there are intriguing pieces. Kevin Love is the star of this team but has also been the subject of trade rumors throughout the last couple of seasons. It will be interesting to see what Cleveland decides to do with Love as they have struggled to find a suitor for Love over the years, due to his contract situation. Andre Drummond was acquired by the team for a washing machine (Semi-Pro movie reference) at last year's trade deadline and has a big decision on his Player Option this offseason. It has since been reported that Drummond intends to accept the PO and Cleveland has expressed the desire to work out a long-term contract with the big man.
When you look at this Cleveland team in a specific "needs-based" discussion, this team needs help on the wings. The team could use a jack-of-all-trades versatile defensive wing or they also could use a floor spacer. Fortunately for Cavs fans, there's a number of intriguing wings that could fit the exact mold of what the Cavaliers could need moving forward. Let's explore some of the options that the Cavaliers organization will have to discuss when it comes to the draft.
THE DRAFT OPTIONS
There's going to be a fair amount of projections across the wonderful world of Mock Drafts that will have Cleveland selecting LaMelo Ball if they have the opportunity to. If that's the route the Cavaliers look to go, the only thing that would make sense in my mind is if the organization decides to move on from one of their two previous lottery selected guards. Personally, I don't believe in giving up on a previous lottery selection after just one year (Garland), so it seems as if Collin Sexton would have to be the odd man out here. But there's also an argument that Sexton plays more of an off the ball role that could complement Ball better than Garland would. Ball is going to be a playmaking facilitator as a rookie in the NBA. His outside shooting is a work in progress, but he would be best in a situation in which he could constantly have the ball in his hands. Sexton has shown the ability to play off the ball. The whole idea of adding Ball to the puzzle is a bit messy, and while it might look enticing for Cavaliers fans...it also is putting a lot of pressure on the front office to make moves on the fly. Personally, I think the best move for the Cavaliers is to stick with this backcourt of Sexton and Garland for at least another year. A golden rule when it comes to young prospects is you want to give them around three years before re-evaluating their value moving forward. Sexton will be entering his third year and it would be wise for Cleveland not to pull the plug just yet.
Now here's another curveball that the Cleveland Cavaliers need to consider. With the acquisition of Andre Drummond at last year's trade deadline...does Wiseman make sense for the Cavs moving forward? As expected, both Drummond and the Cavaliers have come out and expressed the desire to come to an agreement on a long-term extension. Drummond just recently stated that he will be accepting his player option for the 2020-21 season, just north of $28 million. So if the Cavaliers do truly want to sign Drummond to a long-term deal, does drafting a similar type of player make sense in the top 5? There's no denying the amount of incredible potential that a player like James Wiseman offers moving forward. This Cavaliers team has enough bigs on its hands currently, and it would be wise of them to steer their draft day focus in another direction.
This is the area you should be focusing on the most Cavaliers fans. This is exactly what the organization needs to add to the puzzle. Can we please get this Cavs roster some help on the wings. This tweet below from Ben Axelrod reporting on what head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said about the Cavs potential draft "wishes" is something to pay serious attention to...
J.B. Bickerstaff says the Cavs are looking to add players who can dribble, pass and shoot and are Swiss Army knives on the defensive side of the ball. More focused on that than specific positions.— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) June 9, 2020
So if that vision is true for the Cavaliers organization, what prospects could they be considering on draft night. A couple of names that will come to that exact mold include Auburn's Isaac Okoro and Florida State wing Devin Vassell. Both prospects hang their hats on their ability to be versatile defenders and both have untapped potential on the offensive side of the ball. Another name that we can throw into the conversation involves international prospect Deni Avdija, who I personally would love to fall into the laps of the Cavaliers faithful. Avdija offers an intriguing skill set to add to the mix with great size at 6'9" and elite playmaking ability.
Until the NBA Draft Lottery takes place, which is expected to happen on August 25th, Cleveland will continue to be one of the more "intriguing" teams to project for their draft day selection. With a roster that already includes two former lottery point guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, do the Cavaliers look for need this year instead of the best player available? The Andre Drummond question must be answered as well, as this team potentially could look to lock up Drummond and add another position in the draft. The debate for Cleveland will continue to roll on until the lottery gives us a clearer picture. One thing is for certain, the Cavaliers organization has a massive offseason ahead of themselves.