Alongside adding Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic, the Cavaliers were able to potentially secure their long-term future by picking up Brooklyn’s 2018 first rounder, unprotected, in their deal to send Kyrie Irving to Boston.
Well, ESPN’s latest mock draft is out, and they’re projecting that the Cavaliers will take Marvin Bagley III second overall with that Nets pick:
Bagley is a fluid athlete with a natural feel for scoring, rebounding and blocking shots, which helps him post elite numbers at the high school and AAU level. He's a terror in the open court and very difficult for opposing big men to stay in front of in one-on-one situations, getting him to the free throw line at an excellent rate. NBA teams will want to see how easily he'll be able to make the transition to the intensity level of the college game and get a better gauge for his defense and outside shooting potential.
This draft is only slightly problematic for the Cavaliers in the sense that the best players all play the three, four or five, but considering that they’re expected to make their fourth consecutive Finals, it’s hard to get too worked up about this. Bagley would battle Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson for minutes once he gets acclimated to the game, but in the meantime, the team would have one of the best big man trios in the entire NBA.
It remains to be seen whether the Cavs will hold onto this pick or not, as DeMarcus Cousins and others have been linked to the team. With that said, LeBron James’ future is still in doubt, so it’s fair to wonder if the team would require a long-term commitment from James before burning away their best future asset on a win-now move.
If James does indeed leave town, and the Cavaliers need to burn this thing down, there are much worse consolation prizes than Bagley or his peers at the top of the 2018 draft class.