There was no magic for the Cavaliers on Tuesday at the NBA Draft Lottery.
The 2022 #NBADraftLottery presented by State Farm:
8 LAL (to @PelicansNBA)
12 LAC (to @okcthunder)
— NBA (@NBA) May 18, 2022
I mean, there was plenty of “Magic,” but not the kind that the Cavs were probably hoping for.
As expected, Cleveland will pick at no. 14 next month.
Naturally, there were some other shockers across the lottery.
Of note, the Pacers and Blazers slid, the latter all the way to no. 7, despite a 37% chance to move into the top four.
But with nothing major happening for Cleveland, the front office can now focus on evaluating talent it was already likely planning for.
Here are three options for the Cavs at no. 14:
1. Malaki Branham
Expect to see Malaki Branham in many, many mocks leading up to draft night.
In some ways, it’s a puzzling pick: the Ohio State frosh is a small forward, and the Cavs appear replete with forwards.
But Branham provides something the team desperately missing from its current crop: capable shooting.
Down the stretch last season, Branham shot 41.6% from three and showed flashes of playmaking.
2. Jaden Hardy
One of the biggest mysteries in this draft is guard Jaden Hardy.
How could Hardy be available at no. 14 for the Cavs?
Surely the team would have to move up?
Hardy opted for the G-League, passing up offers from Kentucky, Michigan, and LSU.
It might have been a decision that will cost Hardy a pretty chunk of coin.
His poor play in the G-League left scouts wondering about Hardy’s true ceiling, summed up best by, once again, The Ringer:
“Is he just a volume scorer or can he become efficient? For the most part, iso scoring has always been his calling card. Teams wonder whether he’ll ever develop any other NBA skills.”
But hear me out on one, maybe not-so-minor point.
Every year, there is a player that slips in the lottery, despite being a top high school recruit.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) May 18, 2022
All of those names were five star’d by ESPN in high school.
But each one slid on draft night.
And yet, each one has shown to be a starter for and major contributor on their respective NBA team.
At no. 14, a team is probably hoping for a solid bench or rotation piece, not a high-end starter.
Why not take a chance on a former five-star recruit who has shown effectiveness in the pick and roll?
It may not work out, but hey, a guy earns five stars for a reason.
The Cavs should be aggressive.
When everyone is healthy, Cleveland has a team ready to compete at this very moment.
At no. 14, the Cavs could stand pat and take a role-player, and that would be perfectly fine.
Or they can have fun and let loose a little bit.
Cleveland has never been a major free agent destination, even with LeBron James.
Why shouldn’t the front office scour the NBA landscape, looking for potential trade partners.
Or, does Damien Lilliard look at the Blazers drafting seventh and decide it’s time to move on?
Depth is nice; stars are fun.