Much of the focus for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ draft needs focuses on the fifth overall pick. That’s the Cavs’ best chance to add talent, especially in a weak draft. But they also have the 26th pick, and the Cavs could stumble into a decent rotation player if things break correctly. The team probably isn’t going to add star talent this year, but they also are missing a lot of basic pieces that go into creating a winning roster. And while the class isn’t deep with NBA-ready rotation players, there are players who could be improvements over the current roster situation.
In particular, the Cavs need to add shooting from the wing; they need defensive help, basically everywhere; and adding a secondary playmaker that can compliment Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson and help facilitate ball movement. We’ll be covering each of these skill markets in the lead up to the draft, starting with shooters.
The shooting strength of this class isn’t ideal, with the main shooting threats coming from less than ideal athletes, and most of the athletic wings not offering confidence as shooters off the catch. That means that most of the shooting class is going to be for the most part one-dimensional, which isn’t necessarily enticing. But the Cavs need shooting help, especially from the wing, where Cedi Osman was often on his own as a shooter last year. As such, here are five potential options for the Cavs to address that need in the back half of the draft.
Cam Johnson, SF, UNC
Johnson is the best off-movement shooter in the class, especially when you factor in his size at 6-8.5” in shoes. Johnson has great footwork off the catch, and his upper body release is fluid and snaps forward very quickly, allowing him to get his release off quickly under the gun.
Johnson’s good at both coming off screens and relocating around the perimeter, and his high release lets him shoot over bigger players, which he’ll likely need to be able to play the four as a pick-and-pop weapon. He also has a long history of shooting well on volume, shooting 40.7% from three on 616 attempts through his career at Pittsburgh and UNC. Adding in strong team defense and transition finishing, Johnson is probably the best bet for the Cavs to get a legitimate volume-shooting weapon out of this draft.
Ty Jerome, PG, Virginia
Jerome is a 6-5.5” combo guard who is a sound decision-maker and passer, but his shooting value off screens is probably his best NBA skill. Jerome doesn’t have as quick of a release as Johnson does, but outside of Wofford guard Fletcher Magee (who isn’t a realistic target for Cleveland), Jerome is the best player at transferring momentum into his jumper coming off screens. He’s reminiscent of Kyle Korver in his ability to shuttle around the perimeter and maintain balance.
He would be a nice fit next to Collin Sexton, as an off-ball mover that can bring up the ball and initiate sets, and then offer an outlet for Sexton’s on-ball actions or act as a decoy. Jerome may not be the best athlete, and he may not be strong or quick enough to survive as a defender. But his shooting threat is very real, and he’d be a good fit for the Cavs at 26 as well.
Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont
Windler might be a reach, but he’s another quality shooting option on the board. Like Johnson, he hit a good percentage (42.2%) on a high volume of attempts (488 over his last three seasons), and he has good size as well at 6’7” with a 6’10” wingspan. His high release and ability to quickly hop into a shot off movement is promising, and while he’s not the same level of off-movement shooter as Johnson, he’s still solid in terms of moving and gathering on pick-and-pops.
Windler might not have the best body, and he’s not the best ball-mover, but his shooting is a solid weapon. He is probably one of the one-dimensional shooters we discussed, but he’s very good at that one dimension.
Deividas Sirvydis, SF, Lithuania
Sirvydis is the most raw shooter on this list, but it’s hard not to like his mechanics paired with his size. Despite shooting just 32.5% from three in the LKL this year, Sirvydis shows good form as a shooter, with a fluid motion and some hints at that expert momentum transfer that makes Jerome so intriguing.
Sirvydis projects as a three that will be a volume three point shooter, but it’s going to take him awhile to get there. He needs a lot of development, but he’s also the youngest player on this list by two years. He’s not going to be the best player on the board at this spot, but he might have the highest ceiling outside of Johnson.
Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova
Paschall is the option if the Cavs don’t mind drafting a full-time four to address their shooting needs, as he’s a talented shooter from NBA range. Paschall took 163 NBA threes this year, hitting 39.3% from there. His jumper doesn’t have ideal form, but he’s consistent, and he has a high release that lets him shoot over taller bigs.
Paschall could be an intriguing fit for the Cavs as a big body that can defend the pick-and-roll and shoot off the catch. He doesn’t have a high ceiling and feels like a player who is more of a G-League type, but his shooting is a legitimate threat.