The Cleveland Cavaliers will pick at no. 14 in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery next June.
It’s not a surprise–that’s precisely where the Cavs were slated to land.
And in all likelihood, President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman already has a shortlist of guys who could be available at the end of the lottery.
Guys like Malaki Branham, Ochai Agbaji, and Dyson Daniels all could make for strong Cavs players next season.
This list features none of them.
In fact, it features the exact opposite.
Here are three players the Cavs should avoid like an early 2023 playoff exit:
1. Walker Kessler
Don’t get me wrong, Kessler is good and should excel in the pros.
The Auburn big man is an excellent shot blocker and interior scorer who uses his body to his advantage on both ends of the floor.
He’s also fairly nimble and lithe, able to move his feet quickly despite his seven-foot, 255-pound frame.
Auburn Tigers sophomore big man Walker Kessler
🏀9'5" standing reach#NBADraft
— No Ceilings (@NoCeilingsNBA) May 18, 2022
Kessler gobbles up rebounds for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a nice dessert coffee afterward.
If these attributes sound familiar, they should.
They belong to a guy already rostered on the Cavs: Jarrett Allen.
From what we saw this season, the twin towers experiment with Allen and Evan Mobley worked really well.
But adding yet another paint clogger?
Not so much.
It’s true that the Cavs are in need of a quality backup center, and since Kessler shares some of the same attributes as Allen, he might be a nice option off the bench.
But at no. 14, the Cavaliers should be looking to fill more pressing gaps, like an additional starting playmaker or wing.
Lacking any real explosiveness, as well as shooting less than 22% from three last season isn’t going to cut it.
So why wouldn’t the Cavaliers want to add last season’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year to its already stout defensive lineup?
Because Kessler, on this squad, is redundant.
2. Mark Williams
There’s a shot Williams isn’t even available to the Cavs at no. 14.
The Charlotte Hornets, who pick one slot ahead of the Cavs at no. 13, are in dire need of a center to pair with LaMelo Ball.
But what if Williams slides to no. 14?
The Cavs should make sure he slides right on down to no. 15.
That’s because, like Kessler, Williams is redundant on this squad.
In fairness, the ceiling for Williams is much higher than Kessler’s.
The seven-footer has decent hands and vision, and there are signs his shooting could take off at the next level.
But unless the Cavs think Williams’ ceiling is higher than Allen’s, they should stay away.
That’s because trading a known (and uber talented) commodity for something completely unknown is a massive gamble.
Instead of creating that level of instability through subtraction, the team should be looking to build by adding players to its strong starting core.
Williams is far too good to take and bench, and at no. 14, the Cavs should prioritize other needs.
3. Jalen Duren
Noticing a theme yet?
If there’s anything the Cavaliers don’t need, it’s a player who, according to The Ringer, “struggles with simple things.”
And “[l]acks passing accuracy and discipline out of the low post.”
Or one who “struggles with shooting.”
Duren, like Williams, might not be available to the Cavaliers at no. 14.
Yet if he is, the Cavaliers should certainly look the other way.
How do you think DeAndre Jordan would fit in the current Cleveland lineup?
If you answered “yes” all of the above, you’re correct.
Jalen Duren vs UCF game highlights:pic.twitter.com/QpSaRqftQA
— Connor Dunning (@CDunning929) March 12, 2022
If Duren is available, it might mean other should-be Cavs targets like Agbaji, Daniels, and Ousmane Dieng are off the board.
In that case, the team is better off exploring a trade for a center-needy team like Memphis rather than just taking him because he’s the best player available.