Cavs have good options with 8th pick, but will they make a trade?

A lot is on the line Thursday night in Brooklyn

Jake Chapman
June 20, 2018 - 10:36 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Nik Stauskas, Stanley Johnson, Marquese Chriss and Frank Ntilikina. The last five 8th overall picks in the NBA Draft don’t exactly qualify as reasons you, the Cavs fan, should be excited about Thursday night’s proceedings in Brooklyn.

And yet this year’s class seems to boast a deep lottery group, and the Cavs should have a few interesting options on the board after the first seven selections.

Based on projections and fairly solid intel, we can make a few rational assumptions about how the top of the draft will go:

This list of 5 players will almost certainly go in the first 6 picks: DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr., Mo Bamba. I can say with reasonable certainty that if any of these players are on the board when Orlando picks at 6, they will be the selection.

I also think I can say, with reasonable certainty, that Michael Porter, Jr. won’t make it to the Cavaliers with the 8th pick.

His story is quite compelling, a top prospect with a boatload of talent and a scary back injury. Unless his medicals scare everyone off, and franchises are so confident in their own medical staffs these days, then Porter Jr. will definitely go in the top 7 picks.

He’s been linked to Sacramento at 2 and could be snatched up by virtually anyone from 3-7. I highly doubt he’s on the board when the Cavs are on the clock.

So let’s just take a quick stab at a mock, just for the sake of organizing our thoughts:

1 – Phoenix – DeAndre Ayton

2 – Sacramento – Marvin Bagley III

3 – Atlanta – Luka Doncic

4 – Memphis – Jaren Jackson Jr.

5 – Dallas – Michael Porter Jr.

6 – Orlando – Mo Bamba

7 – Chicago – Wendell Carter Jr., Trae Young or Collin Sexton

8 – Cleveland – Wendell Carter Jr., Trae Young or Collin Sexton

First of all, lot of Juniors, eh? I feel like parents are getting less creative. 

Second of all, if Chicago takes Carter Jr. then the Cavs will have their pick of two excellent point guard prospects in Sexton and Young.

There are questions about Young’s size and whether he’ll get his unorthodox jumper off at the next level, but Young showed transcendent talent at times during his lone season at Oklahoma. He’s the only player in history to lead the country in total points and assists in the same season.

He tied the NCAA single-game record for assists with 22. Much has been made about he slowed down as his freshman season progressed, but he led the country in usage rate too. He was a Big 12 offense unto himself. If he makes it to 8, snatch him up promptly please.

Now, if Young goes in the top 7 picks, chances are good that Wendell Carter Jr. will be available for Cleveland. He'd be a fine pick for sure. He’s a solid, heady 6’10 big man who looks like the future of NBA centers. He has the athleticism to defend wings on the perimeter and the size and technique to hold his own on the block and rebound.

Not only was Carter Jr. overshadowed offensively at Duke by Bagley, but he’s overshadowed in the draft class as well. In a different year Carter Jr. may be the best big man available. He'll be a pro for a long time and could be an absolute steal at 8. But the pick would pale in sexiness comparison to Young or Porter Jr.

As for Sexton, there’s a lot to like, and some to dislike. He’s only slightly bigger than Young (both are listed at 6’2 but Sexton has a bigger wingspan,) but he’s much more rugged. Sexton’s offensive game is based around his handle, angles, finishing through contact and working off screens. He’s an attacker.

That physicality affords him the potential to be a great defender eventually, but as with any rookie, that will take time. His jumper is iffy. Sexton and Young are both 6’2 point guards who enjoyed great college success in their freshman seasons. And that’s about all they have in common.

It’s a strange situation for Cavs fans, which do seem a bit apathetic about it all. The team was playing basketball a mere 13 days ago and now there’s a lottery pick to make, a top-10 selection at that.

Other fan bases have been locked in on Thursday night since the end of the regular season, some 70 days ago (Philadelphia is the only other playoff team with a lottery pick, 10th.) Those fans have had time to cook their takes thoroughly. Cavs fans are still recovering, some with actual braces on their wrist I’m sure.

Which brings us to the LeBron Cloud. We all really just want to draft someone and trade him for a proven veteran, one that may potentially entice a certain Akronian to stick around for a while.

This is the heart of the apparent apathy toward the draft. It’s the notion that if the Cavs draft Trae Young or Wendell Carter Jr. or Collin Sexton and don’t trade them immediately, that’s a negative development in the quest to retain LeBron. Not many 19-year-olds make major impacts in the NBA Finals, and that’s where James plans to be at this time next year.

That line of thinking makes it difficult to latch on to any prospect.

I’d encourage folks to embrace all the possibilities, including the idea that the newest Cav stays a Cav.

The team will look different in one month no matter what. For now, just enjoy the fact that the team gets better on Thursday night, one way or another.