The Cavaliers currently hold the no. 14 pick in the lottery, the very last of the bunch.
But that doesn’t mean the squad is stuck in that spot.
On the contrary, the team now has a host of options it can choose from.
The team might very well want to trade out of that pick.
Given a field of potential trade candidates and an unusually deeper draft, the team should strongly consider a move out of no. 14.
No. 14 isn’t a spot known for producing the most high-end NBA producers and stars.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) May 18, 2022
Here are the last five players to go at no. 14:
2021: Moses Moody
2020: Aaron Nesmith
2019: Romeo Langford
2018: Michael Porter, Jr.
2017: Bam Adebayo
That’s not the worst crop of players; Adebayo is an All-Defense candidate who some could argue is the third-best center in the Association.
But Adebayo took several years to develop in an already excellent Heat system and Porter has appeared in only 125 games through three seasons.
Langford is already on his second team, and both Moody and Nesmith have been DNP’d seven times in this season’s playoffs.
All of this to say, picking at the end of the lottery is not a surefire guarantee of talent.
At best, the team is looking at a regular season minutes eater who can develop into a solid starter.
Is that really what a team set on winning now would (or should) want?
The first choice is obvious: go star hunting.
Cleveland is not generally considered a premier free agent destination, so a trade might be the best chance to bring in a title-tilting star.
Bleacher Report’s trade idea:
Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Bradley Beal
Washington Wizards receive: Collin Sexton (sign-and-trade), Lauri Markkanen, No. 14 pick (can't be traded until after the draft) and 2025 first-round pick pic.twitter.com/RHjXr8fPIv
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) May 18, 2022
But perhaps that’s not what the team is looking for.
The Cavaliers have shown an excellent ability to find value as trade facilitators, rather than the focus of the trade itself.
Take the Jarrett Allen trade; that deal was only made possible because Cleveland acted as a third-party facilitator between Houston and Brooklyn so that the Nets could land James Harden.
18 months later and the only unquestionable winner in that deal was Cleveland, who landed a franchise cornerstone Allen.
So maybe the no. 14 pick is used to facilitate, say, a Mitchell deal to the Knicks or a Beal sign-and-trade to Philadelphia.
It may not be the most exciting move in the world, but which would you rather have: a player who is proven to contribute in the league or a guy who might suit up for another team in less than three seasons?
The team could also try to adjust their draft positioning.
It probably makes more sense to sacrifice future capital to move up a few slots, given how deep the draft is even after the top tier of Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith.
Then, Cleveland has even more options at its disposal–it could stand pat and draft a higher-upside player, or even parlay the higher pick into a trade for a better pro.
Given the team’s timeline, the Cavaliers should consider all of their options, including moving out of no. 14.