The NBA Draft is Thursday, and while this has been a big day in the past for the Cleveland Cavaliers, thankfully it matters less this year. With a title in hand, the Draft isn't something that will make or break the future of the Cavs, and they will probably not be much of a factor come Thursday night. Still, though, stuff might happen, so here's a quick primer to explore options.
So the Cavs have the number one pick, right?
No, sadly they did not find a way to get into the lottery and win it for a second year in a row! What do we even pay Nick Gilbert for at this point?
The Philadelphia 76ers will be drafting first.
Sorry, force of habit. So what picks do the Cavs have?
About that. The Cavs actually don't have a pick in this year's draft.
What? Where did they go???
The Phoenix Suns have the Cavs' first rounder, which was originally traded in the LeBron-oriented cap space-freeing Jarrett Jack deal with Boston and Brooklyn in summer 2014. The Celtics then traded it to the Suns in the Isaiah Thomas deal. The Celtics also have another second rounder from the Cavs, dealt in a cap-clearing deal for Keith Bogans later that summer. Essentially, Jarrett Jack, Tyler Zeller, and the 28th pick were traded for LeBron's paychecks. I'll take it.
How can the Cavs get picks?
The Cavs could potentially get into the draft with a couple of moves that are highly unlikely. The first and biggest splash would be a Kevin Love trade, which could net the Cavs picks in addition to players. After all, the Boston Celtics are right there with their eight picks and Jae Crowder. How can you say no to that?
More likely would be the Cavs buying a second round pick, which is routinely a move teams like the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have made when they want young talent. The Cavs could pursue this if they have a guy they like and want to develop. This draft is deep on second round talent, and if the Cavs find a seller, they could throw $1 million or so to a team for something in the 40-60 range. If the Cavs did this, Boston (31, 35, 45, 51, 58), Denver (53, 56) and Utah (42, 52, 60) are likely suitors.
If the Cavs get a second round picks, who are some names to watch for?
Backup bigs and guard depth are probably the most necessary pieces for the Cavs that they could get in the secondround, or even pick up off the undrafted waiver wire. I don't see them spending the money to just draft and stash a guy, so it's more likely they'll stick to college guys who can go to Canton. Here's a quick list of 10 of guys I'd keep an eye on:
Pascal Siakam, PF, New Mexico State - A lengthy, bouncy rim runner who is raw, but brings great energy. Projected 42nd at Draft Express.
Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia - He's 23 already, but a very ahead-of-the-curve defensive wing prospect who can score a touch off cuts and threes. Could actually play right away. Projected 44th at DX.
Kay Felder, PG, Oakland - Felder is 5'10" with the heart of a lion. Won't play NBA defense, but he can create shots and navigate the pick-and-roll well. Could go anywhere in the second round, but DX has him at 55.
Sheldon McClellan, SG, Miami - An excellent corner three shooter. If he can develop other parts of his game, could be a nice fit in the Cleveland offense. Projected as a late-2nd rounder to undrafted free agent.
Marcus Paige, PG, UNC - After Quinn Cook, why not go two years in a row with undrafted ACC point guards with national title game appearances? He's a good decision-maker and can hit shots.
Prince Ibeh, C, Texas - Barely produced at Texas, but you can't teach a massive guy to be that quick. Potential rim protector who could go undrafted.
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF, Florida - Like Brogdon, a solid defender with limited upside. Could develop as a shooter. Projected 58th at DX.
Giorgios Papagiannis, C, Greece - If the Cavs do decide to go draft-and-stash, the 18-year old, 7'2" Greek is a good choice. He sits as the 50th best prospect at DX, but could go anywhere in the second round.
Gary Payton II, PG, Oregon State - A rugged defender and powerful athlete, Payton seems like an excellent potential fill-in for Matthew Dellavedova if he leaves. He's projected to go 50th right now.
Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville - A potential 1st rounder who could slide to the 2nd, Onuaku has a great defensive skill set despite limited offense.
Caris Levert, SG, Michigan - A legitimate first round talent who might go undrafted due to injuries. If the Cavs want the risk, Levert could be excellent in a role similar to Iman Shumpert's.
Georges Niang, PF, Iowa State - Not the best athlete, but can do everything on the floor. A potentially useful Richard Jefferson replacement, projected as DX's 69th best prospect.