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ESPN projects the Cavaliers to draft Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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The Cavs appear to be targeting a point guard with the eighth pick.

Buffalo v Kentucky Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We are just two ways away from the 2018 Draft and some clarity towards the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the amount of uncertainty surrounding the direction of the Cavs, they approach draft night as a major wildcard.

You can’t have the words “Cavaliers” and “wildcard” in the same sentence without there being a Canadian prospect they value higher than expected. On the latest mock draft for ESPN, Jonathan Givony has the Cavs taking Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out of Kentucky:

One of the draft’s most interesting storylines will be seeing when the first point guard comes off the board. Gilgeous-Alexander is quietly picking up steam as potentially being that guy, which is somewhat unexpected after being projected behind Trae Young and Collin Sexton for most of the year.

He hasn’t worked out for the Cavs -- we’re hearing he’s angling to be picked by the Hornets or the Clippers -- but that might not matter much, as Cleveland’s front office appears to be enamored with him. The Cavs are in dire need of a young ball handler, whether LeBron James returns or not. Although not a big-time scorer, Gilgeous-Alexander is talented enough to take the keys as the PG of the future if LeBron bolts, yet versatile enough to coexist with James and add value with his length, feel, skill and instincts if he stays.

So there’s a lot to unpack here, but it appears as though the Cavs are zeroing in on taking a point guard at No. 8.

Gilgeous-Alexander is an interesting player that fits into the George Hill mold. He isn’t a player that appears to have star potential, which is one of the reasons he wasn’t highly touted coming into this season. But at 6’6” with a 7’ wingspan, he could turn into an absolute terror defensively.

He also was the catalyst for Kentucky as they turned their season around. It was a flawed roster without much spacing, but Gilgeous-Alexander found ways to make plays for himself and others.

The other aspect of this that could be in play is that this could be a smokescreen to facilitate a trade down in the draft. Many teams that are picking after Cleveland have been rumored to be enamored with Gilgeous-Alexander. The Toronto Raptors in particular are reported to be willing to give up any player on their roster in order to take him with a top 10 pick. Perhaps the Cavs are looking to make a deal with the Clippers to acquire both of their picks at No. 12 and No. 13. At this time of year, every report has a double meaning.