The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t get any help in last week’s NBA draft lottery, as they will have the 14th overall pick in next month’s actual draft, which is what they were expected to have according to their record.
Although this year’s draft is thought to be top-heavy and not incredibly deep, there still may be a solid contributor they could snag with that 14th pick.
The Cavs finally appear to have a foundation to build on for the first time since LeBron James left town again, meaning they may not necessarily need to select a future star in this year’s draft.
Who would be the best player for Cleveland to aim to pick with the 14th pick?
The Cavs Have A Few Needs
Looking at the Cavaliers’ roster, the team clearly needs an infusion of talent at the wing spot.
They were a mediocre 3-point shooting team this season, ranking just 15th in 3-point shooting percentage, and only three members of the team’s rotation hit at least 36 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Cleveland could also use some athleticism and defense at the shooting guard and small forward spots.
Currently, the roster has plenty of wing players, but most of them, save for Isaac Okoro, haven’t shown much real potential at the NBA level.
The Cavs are set at point guard with Darius Garland, and if the team gives Collin Sexton a new contract this summer, it will have two excellent guards who can handle the ball and score points in bunches.
Who on the draft board could shore up Cleveland’s wing position?
Branham may seem like a natural pick, given that he spent a good chunk of his childhood in nearby Akron, Ohio.
He even attended St. Vincent–St. Mary High School, the same high school that James put on the map years ago.
In his lone season at Ohio State University, Branham averaged 13.7 points per game.
His big strength is outside shooting, which would allow him to help the Cavs right away.
This season, he made 41.6 percent of his 3-point attempts for the Buckeyes.
Malaki Branham: FOUR OF FIVE FROM THREE 😳 pic.twitter.com/RJL0JRBfIA
— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOSU) February 10, 2022
Branham can also handle the ball and play make a little bit, which could take some pressure off Garland if he were to pan out.
What a feed from Malaki Branham to send it to overtime. pic.twitter.com/3VoTfJF0GW
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) February 22, 2022
The downside is that he is just 6-foot-5, which would make it hard for him to play the 3 at the NBA level.
There is a chance that Branham is taken before the Cavs are on the clock, so if they are sold on him, they may have to trade up.
Williams is another interesting prospect.
He has decent size to play the small forward position, as he stands 6-foot-6 and weighs a robust 235 pounds.
Williams shot 39.6 percent from downtown this season, and he can also handle the rock and play energetic defense.
Jalen Williams is poised to make noise at the NBA Combine this week in Chicago. Skilled 6'6 late-bloomer w/ juice off-the-bounce & a 7'2 wingspan that he uses to his advantage on both ends of the floor.
Full 📺: https://t.co/HEK6w5Q83A@JdubPSCEO @SantaClaraHoops pic.twitter.com/kpAPiIGeII
— League Him (@League_Him) May 16, 2022
He lacks a bit of lateral quickness and doesn’t have much lift, but as a three-year college player at Santa Clara, perhaps he could help Cleveland right away.