The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be evaluated.
The Cavaliers finished the 2019-2020 season with a 19-46 record, the worst in the eastern conference. While they never came close to threatening for a playoff spot, they did improve on the previous seasons record of 19-63.
Young guard Collin Sexton continued to flash his incredible potential, becoming the first Cavalier since LeBron James to average over 20 points per game on good efficiency. On the other side of the coin, last year’s fifth overall pick Darius Garland struggled mightly. He barely shot 40 percent from the field and was a liability on the defensive end. Whether he is Sexton’s partner in the starting backcourt next season remains to be seen.
The Cavaliers frontcourt received a huge boost thanks to a midseason trade for Andre Drummond. A good defender and dominating rebounder, the Cavaliers are hoping to resign him this offseason to shore up the center position for years to come.
Overall, the Cavaliers are still a very young team with a lot of potential. They just need to continue to cultivate their young talent while building around them through the draft, free agency and the trade market.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have one pick in the 2020 NBA draft.
First Round: Pick No.5
Wing Players – The Cavs have a serious lack of depth and talent in the wing department. Cedi Osman, their starting wing last season, was solid but unimpressive. Rookie Kevin Porter Jr. showed promise off the bench but still has a long way to go towards being an NBA starter. Cleveland would really benefit from a solid wing player who can play well on both sides of the ball. A good two-way player would help take some of the defensive pressure off of their young guards.
Perimeter Defense – While defense in general was a problem for the Cavaliers last season it was especially notable on the perimeter. With the acquisition of Andre Drummond bolstering their interior defense, Cleveland now needs to focus on finding strong perimeter defenders.
Both of their young promising guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland are closer to defensive liabilities than net positives. Cleveland will need a strong defensive player next to them to compensate for their struggles.
First Round, Pick No.5: Isaac Okoro, SF (Auburn)
While another promising small forward in Deni Avdija may be available with this pick, Isaac Okoro out of Auburn would be the better fit in the Cleveland Cavaliers system. If the Cavs take him, Okoro could provide immediate help at Clevelands weakest position.
Okoro had a great freshman season at Auburn. Despite not being ranked all that high coming into college, he proved himself as a force on both sides of the ball. He ended up making the All-SEC 2nd Team, the All-SEC Defensive Team and the All-Sec Rookie Team.
While he doesn’t have the freakishly long wingspan associated with most elite NBA wing defenders, Okoro makes up for it with his incredible defensive IQ and awareness. Especially promising was his performance versus other elite prospects. In two games versus projected first overall pick Anthony Edwards, Okoro made him work for his buckets. Edwards scored 36 points over their two matchups but it took him 31 shots to do so.
Where Okoro has work to do on the offensive end but the potential is there. His 28 percent shooting from deep looks poor on paper but upon taking a closer look its not quite as bad as it seems. He got better as the season went along, shooting 32 percent from beyond the arc in conference play. He only made a three-pointer in three of his first 13 games but finished the season making one in 13 of his last 15 games.
For the Cavaliers, Okoro could fit into the starting lineup right away at the small forward position. He can provide much needed defensive help on the perimeter while matching up with the other teams best perimeter player. Cleveland also has a great track record of developing young players shooting ability. Look no further than Collin Sexton who shot just 33 percent from deep in college and is now the Cavs biggest perimeter threat. If Okoro can make that same kind of shooting leap in Cleveland he could be one of the premier 3-and-D players in the league.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com
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