As the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to struggle, we’d like to offer you some alternative viewing experiences. The Cavs will almost assuredly be picking at the top of the 2019 NBA Draft, and it’ll be important to keep tabs on all of the top prospects this winter. That might be a challenge this year, as the class could have a lot of fluctuation during the season, especially outside of the top five. That can make it difficult to keep track of everyone.
But never fear — we will be here to provide your weekly watch guide to all of the top prospects. Each week, we will break out the best games of the week for NBA Draft interest, including who will be matching up and where to find the week’s top games in college basketball and Europe. For this week, there aren’t many big games, save for a massive Duke/Virginia rematch on Saturday. Instead, let’s focus on some of the names you may not recognize. The Cavs may not have a second-round pick currently, but they could find one through the trade deadline on Thursday. So, let’s get a look at some options they could have if they find their way into another lottery ticket in the draft.
Boston College vs. Duke - 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
Boston College: Ky Bowman; Duke: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Tre Jones, Jack White
It’s a Duke game, even though this might be one of the less meaningful ones.
St. Johns vs. Marquette - 8:00 p.m. EST, Fox Sports One
St. Johns: Shamorie Ponds; Marquette: Markus Howard
Two of the best shooting point guards in the draft square off, with the undersized Ponds going at the tiny Howard.
Kansas vs. Kansas State - 9:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
Kansas: Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes, Dedric Lawson; Kansas State: Dean Wade
A good chance to watch Wade, a fringe first-round stretch four who is finally back from injury that took him out for the better part of two months. He gets a good test against Lawson at the four spot, while Kansas State’s underrated guards should press Grimes and Dotson.
Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas - 9:00 p.m. EST, SEC Network
Vanderbilt: Simi Shittu, Aaron Nesmith; Arkansas: Daniel Gafford, Isaiah Joe
Two of the more disappointing prospects in the class square off. Shittu’s defense is genuinely horrible, and Gafford quit on the team about three weeks ago. A showdown where two players actively avoid guarding each other on defense should feel familiar for Cavs fans, so this will be a fun watch.
LSU vs. Mississippi State - 9:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2
LSU: Naz Reid, Tremont Waters; Mississippi State: Aric Holman, Quinndary Weatherspoon
Reid hasn’t been particularly challenged this year, but a showdown with the mobile Holman should give him some difficulty given how strong his space defense is.
Olympiacos vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv - 2:00 p.m. EST, Euroleague TV
Maccabi Tel Aviv: Deni Avdija, Yovel Zoosman
A chance to see both Zoosman, a draft-and-stash prospect, and Avdija, a top 2020 NBA Draft prospect that has started getting Euroleague minutes for Maccabi. Getting a chance to see him against one of the top Euroleague teams will be a good opportunity.
Kentucky vs. Mississippi State - 1:00 p.m. EST, CBS
Kentucky: Keldon Johnson, P.J. Washington, Immanuel Quickley; Mississippi State: Aric Holman, Quinndary Weatherspoon
Johnson and Washington get good tests against Weatherspoon and Holman, two strong defensive prospects with more refined skill sets similar to their Kentucky peers. Mississippi State gets the spotlight as the SEC disruptor this week.
Duke vs. Virginia - 6:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
Duke: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Tre Jones, Jack White; Virginia: De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome
The first matchup lived up to the billing, a scrappy 72-70 win for Duke without Jones that featured huge games for Hunter, Williamson, and Barrett. Adjustments in the Hunter/Williamson battle will be important to watch, as Zion did look uncomfortable against Hunter’s length the first time around.
Nebraska vs. Purdue - 8:30 p.m. EST, Big Ten Network
Nebraska: Isaiah Roby; Purdue: Carsen Edwards
Edwards, like Ponds and Howard, is an elite shooter that’s undersized. There have been questions about his ability to finish against NBA length at the rim, so a good test in possible second-rounder Roby looms large.
Utah State vs. San Diego State - 10:00 p.m. EST, ESPN3
Utah State: Neemias Queta; San Diego State: Jalen McDaniels
If you haven’t caught Queta yet, he is a woefully under-the-radar rim protecting prospect who is a legitimate first-round talent. The Portuguese freshman is raw, but he has great technique as a shot blocker and the building blocks of a face-up game. Facing McDaniels, an energy big who is a good rebounder, is one of the best matchups he’ll see this year.
Washington vs. Arizona State - 10:00 p.m., PAC-12 Network
Washington: Matisse Thybulle, Jaylen Nowell; Arizona State: Luguentz Dort, Zylan Cheatham
Three NBA-caliber wings clash in this showdown, with Thybulle rising up boards as a potential first-rounder, and Nowell and Dort looking like second-round prospects. Both teams play zone, so it might not be the most attractive game, but this is a good opportunity to get eyes on Thybulle if you haven’t already.
Partizan Belgrade vs. Buducnost - 1:00 p.m. EST, YouTube
Partizan: Marko Pecarski, Vanja Marinkovic; Buducnost: Goga Bitadze
Bitadze is looking like a firm first-round prospect with his recent play for Buducnost. We should be getting a good challenge for him here, as Buducnost faces Partizan’s high-octane offense. A bonus appearance by Pecarski, a draft-and-stash candidate, ices the cake.
Stanford vs. Oregon - 8:00 p.m.EST, ESPN2
Stanford: K.Z. Okpala; Oregon: Louis King
Two more PAC-12 risers show down here, with Okpala and King both looking like project wings with good size at 6’8” Okpala is the better scorer, but King is a decent shooter with better defensive fundamentals. This is a good showdown to catch both players.