The Cavaliers have an outside chance to reach the play-in tournament this year, and that certainly should be a goal for the guys on the floor and in the locker room. Winning is always something that should be a priority for the roster, even if it isn’t always the case for the front office (in Cleveland, or elsewhere).
With that said, the more likely outcome is that the Cavaliers end up in the lottery for the third straight season and have the fate of the franchise decided by ping pong balls that have been kind to it, historically.
Moving forward, here at Fear The Sword, we’re going to do one 2021 NBA Draft Lottery Simulation per week over on Tankathon.com and ask what some of us here would do with the pick.
In true Cleveland Cavaliers fashion, the first lotto simulation of this exercise came up the only way the Cavs ever expect it to: with the first overall pick.
Editor’s note: The simulation was done on April 5, so the Cavaliers had not yet beaten San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
Here’s what a few of us would do with the pick:
Danny Cunningham: Cade Cunningham is the correct answer here, and I don’t expect the Cavs to overthink it. Right now, the franchise doesn’t have anyone talented enough on the roster to mean that a certain position or type of player is passed over. Even with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, the Cavaliers are still in a position to draft the most talented player on the board, and at this spot it’s Cunningham. He should be able to step right in and help the team offensively. As a freshman at Oklahoma State, the stage never looked to big for him, and he always played with a smoothness and calmness that should translate to the next level. He’s not yet the player he’s capable of being, but with his size (6’8, 220 pounds), court vision and basketball IQ, the sky is the limit for him and he can fit in on any team.
Chris Manning: The answer here is really easy. It’s Cade Cunningham. He’s a big creator — the best thing to have when you’re building in the modern NBA — and he should fit with and amplify a lot of what the Cavs already have in place. If you’re the team, you go through the process and consider a bunch of options a No. 1 just to cover your bases and be sure that your pick is 100% right. But with Cunningham, there’s just not a compelling case for anyone else. Take the 6’8 creator who can do it all and build from there. He can be the center of everything Cleveland wants to be.
Leah Nemeth: With positions 1-3 locked up on the Cavs, I am going wayyyy against the grain with the hopes that Cavs pick Small Forward Jonathan Kuminga at No. 1. In terms of needs and fit, Cleveland should look to bolster the forward/wing position in this year’s incredibly stacked draft and Kuminga, at 6’7, looks like a solid gamble with enticing upside and extreme athleticism. From high school to the G League, Kuminga is explosive at the rim averaging 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the G-League Ignite. This is obviously an extremely unlikely scenario if the Cavs pick first, but don’t be surprised when Kuminga excels in the NBA.
Evan Dammerall: They should take Cade and trade Collin Sexton.