Unless the Cavaliers pull off a major move, they will pick at no. 14 in the draft in just a few weeks.
As it stands, the draft pool is generally divided into several tiers.
At the top are the trio of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, and Paolo Banchero.
Each of those guys figures to go one, two, and three in the draft in some order.
After that, tier two opens up drastically to include guys like Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe, and AJ Griffin.
And barring one of those guys falling or the Cavs shaking things up, all of them will be long gone by the time Cleveland announces its pick.
Nonetheless, there is a strong group of players available outside of that top tier, as this draft figures to be one of the deeper ones in recent memory.
Thus Cleveland might very well be able to find the perfect fit by staying put at no. 14.
Who could it be, though?
The Cavaliers have a few major needs heading into next season.
For starters, the team could use a backup big man and depth at point guard.
As we saw, Collin Sexton’s injury wasn’t season-ending for Cleveland, thanks to stellar play from Ricky Rubio.
Cavaliers' draft strategy to ignore needs/fit paying off this year. Took Garland despite just drafting Sexton. Didn't hesitate on Mobley after trading for Allen. Trust your best player available.
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) January 25, 2022
But Rubio’s injury did send Cleveland into a partial spin, highlighting the need for depth.
And though Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are both excellent fives, neither one is Superman.
That said, these positions can be filled out in free agency or via trade.
Cleveland instead should use its lottery pick to find a higher-end rotational piece or potential starter.
In that department, Cleveland could use another shot creator and a 3-and-D wing.
While Sexton is a solid shot maker, he lacks some of the tools to create his own looks.
Instead, he will likely have to continue relying on Darius Garland.
And while Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert are decent enough defensively, neither one is lighting it up beyond the arc.
Fortunately, this draft figures to have plenty of wing depth, some of whom could even be available for the Cavs at no. 14.
The one name the Cavs could (and should) target at no. 14, one who would be a great fit, one that gels with Cleveland’s timeline, is Ochai Agbaji.
If there was any prospect who looked ready-made for this Cavaliers team, it’s Agbaji.
The Kansas wing shot 41.1% from three this season, averaging just under 20 points a game (19.8).
Kansas wing Ochai Agbaji said he has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Knicks and Hawks. Agbaji worked out for the Wizards this morning and said he previously worked out for the Hornets, Thunder, Bulls and Cavaliers.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 10, 2022
He could slot in next to Garland at the two, or even possibly take over some of Isaac Okoro’s minutes, converting Okoro’s lackluster offensive minutes into something more productive.
But even more than that, the Cavs wouldn’t need to sacrifice anything defensively.
Agbaji’s length means he can bang with guys at almost every position, an integral part of the Cavs being able to survive switch-heavy offenses in the East.
Despite his numbers, there are some concerns about Agbaji’s strength as a shooter.
But he steadily improved his shooting every season with the Jayhawks, culminating in a great senior year.
More than that, Agbaji can play off-ball.
His dynamism and movement mean that even when guys like Mobley or Garland have the rock, Agbaji can keep the game flowing.
Agbaji might not have limitless star potential, but, in the words of one analyst from The Ringer, he can certainly be “[s]omeone whose play uplifts a star.”
And with Garland and Mobley, there is no shortage of future stars in need of uplift.
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