The Cavaliers have three picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Next June, the Cavs will pick at no. 14, no. 58, and no. 39.
And while maybe that lottery pick at no. 14 will eventually translate into a starting-caliber player someday, the chances that a second-rounder will are much slimmer.
Despite that, the second round has yielded some surprisingly good talent, especially lately.
Talen Horton-Tucker, who has become the Lakers’ biggest young trade asset, was a second-rounder in 2019, as well.
If you haven’t heard of those guys, then a) you aren’t watching Puerto Rican pro basketball and b) you aren’t alone.
The second round is usually for back-end roster filling.
Most of the players taken here won’t earn multi-year, mega deals with their club.
They’ll likely bounce around the G-League for a bit, maybe dabble overseas, or maybe, just maybe, they’ll fill out the team’s roster on rest nights.
Because of that, teams need to look for real steals; not diamonds in the rough, but more like the semi-rare black onyx buried three miles into the Earth’s lithosphere.
Anyway, here are three players you might get to see playing for the Charge next season:
1. Alondes Williams, Wake Forest
If you thought top-3 draft pick Paolo Banchero was ACC Player of the Year, you might be forgiven.
If you have never heard of the actual ACC Player of the Year Alondes Williams, you probably would also be forgiven.
Alondes Williams flashing that bounce with a nasty tomahawk. pic.twitter.com/cOzyTM2ZJq
— Josh Codinera (@JoshScoutEm) May 19, 2022
Williams was the heart and soul of an upstart Wake Forest squad that surprised many in the ACC.
The Oklahoma transfer is an excellent athlete and rim-finisher, necessary traits to be a successful guard in the pros.
But Williams lacks consistent catch-and-shoot potential, which is not so great if one wishes to be a successful guard in the pros.
But if the Cavs want someone to embrace the scrappy, blue-collar ethic of the city, Williams is certainly that guy.
2. Keon Ellis, Alabama
Wing defenders are always nice to have around.
And Bama’s Keon Ellis has shown flashes of such potential.
With the Crimson Tide, Ellis was named to the All-SEC Defensive Team and led the squad in steal rate (3.7%).
But Ellis is also a decent shooter, slashing 58/37/88 as a senior.
Ellis isn’t a massively imposing defender–his slender frame is a boon to his athleticism, but it isn’t the most formidable defensive mold.
And the shooting came on relatively low volume–Ellis was primarily a supporting scorer on Alabama’s offense.
But maybe that’s a red herring, considering his excellent free throw percentage.
Is Ellis the next 3-and-D virtuoso?
But he might be good enough to log some minutes on a pro floor without leaking defensively, which is precisely what the Cavs should look for here.
3. Andrew Nemhard, Gonzaga
If you watched Gonzaga’s loss to Arkansas in the NCAA tournament a few months ago, you might want nothing to do with Nembhard.
He looked lost against a strong Arkansas defense; even worse, he couldn’t take care of the ball, committing five turnovers.
That said, the initial reports out of the draft combine are promising.
Andrew Nembhard had the single-most impressive performance of the NBA Combine thus far with 26 points, 11 assists. Made all the right reads out of PNR and had his floater and pullup game working all game long. pic.twitter.com/3qdBlQnZUh
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 20, 2022
Nembhard’s IQ and playmaking were never a question.
The issue with the former four-star recruit is questionable athleticism and scoring ability.
One reason to keep an eye out for Nembhard: his size.
The Gonzaga senior is a point guard but stands at six-foot-five.
His size alone will give him an advantage over the league’s smaller floor generals.
And the future of the league appears to be taller playmakers; the Chris Pauls of the world are a slowly vanishing mold.
If Nembhard falls, the Cavs might put a lot of stock in their ability to develop young talent, and take a chance on the 23-year-old.