Many have made much ado about this year’s NBA draft and how there really are only 3 players that are worth drafting. This comes as unfortunate news for the Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans who hope this year’s near-last place finish will culminate in a reinvigorated roster with promising young talent. So is this draft really only a 3 player draft? Is there any player in this NBA draft that could help make the Cleveland Cavaliers relevant again? Who should the Cavaliers take with the 5th overall pick?
For reference, the current first five picks of the draft are ordered as follows:
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Memphis Grizzlies
- New York Knicks
- New Orleans Pelicans (via trade with Los Angeles)
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Many project the Pelicans to take Zion Williamson, the Grizzlies to take either Ja Morant or RJ Barrett with the Knicks selecting whomever the Grizzlies don’t select given they have needs at all 5 positions. The 4th pick and later seems to be where the confusion, intrigue or variation occurs. With the Cavaliers hoping a player like RJ Barrett would fall to them at 5 (which is highly unlikely given Barrett’s perception as a safe bet), it has left little room to imagine the value and possibilities surrounding their pick.
One option that could become enticing is the prospect of moving back in order to acquire more picks in future NBA drafts. While 5 isn’t the top of the draft, it still is a lottery pick so the Cavaliers could trade with a team looking to add one missing element to their team in hopes of a title run. Given that picks 4-12 seem to be up in the air, moving back in this year’s draft could prove to be the best play especially given the possibility of landing a higher pick in the 2020 NBA draft.
Aside from trading back for more draft capital (of which the Cavaliers were left bereft thanks to the LeBron induced and now-focused trades), the Cavaliers have many question marks on the roster. Who would be the best fit to play with Kevin Love? Should the Cavaliers continue to invest in Colin Sexton and build around him or replace him for more upside? One of the needs that is apparent is on the wing. The Cavaliers need to target a player that can create another threat for defenses and stretch the floor to give Love and Sexton room to work.
If the Cavaliers are sure they have seen enough from Colin Sexton, the obvious choice would be Darius Garland from Vanderbilt. His ability to create offense as well as shoot from beyond the arc makes him a type of player in the same vein as Damian Lillard or Trae Young. If the Sexton experiment has yet to be concluded and point guard isn’t a need, then putting a player like Cameron Reddish from Duke with Love and Sexton might be a better bet given how the 5th pick might be a decent place to take a risk on a player with lots of upside after a disappointing campaign with the Blue Devils. Reddish may not have fit with RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, but given the right system and given more attention in Cleveland might help awaken his talent that was on display in High School. As it seems with Sexton, one season of not meeting expectations shouldn’t dictate someone’s career.
One final solution given Sexton will have the ball in his hand is to place him with someone who has the ability to score in a variety of positions. Selecting Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech and pairing him with Sexton could prove to bring out the best in both as their styles of play seem to compliment each other’s weaknesses and strengths.
Whatever the Cavaliers deem to be the best fit it is a tough pill to swallow as anyone not named Zion seems to be a consolation prize in the 2019 NBA draft.