The NBA Draft is under a month away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. We will continue with the team that has the No. 8 overall pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For the fourth straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals. For LeBron James, it is his eighth straight appearance. With all the recent success in Cleveland, the NBA Draft has never been a big deal to the Cavs.
However, after obtaining the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick from the Boston Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade, they have a lottery pick for the first time since 2014 and a first-round pick for the first time since 2015.
Many people expected the Cavs to be back in the finals this year, but it definitely was a struggle more than the last three years. Big trades and injuries made it difficult for the Cavs to ever have the squad all together at once. They struggled with chemistry and defense most of the season.
Offense was never a problem for the Cavs. They were fifth in the league in points and field goal percentage, third in 3-pointers made and sixth in 3-point percentage. However, they could not do much right defensively. They ranked 26th in points allowed, 28th in opponent field goal percentage, 22nd in opponent 3-point percentage, 26th in forced turnovers, 24th in steals, 28th in blocks, 23rd in rebounds and 17th in defensive rebounds.
LeBron James had another incredible season. In his 15th season at 33 years old, James played all 82 regular season games for the first time in his career. The result? He led the NBA in total minutes and total points and was second in total assists. His per game averages were 27.5 points (most since 2009-10), 8.6 rebounds (tied for career high) and 9.1 assists (career high). He also shot 54.2 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from the 3-point line.
It was arguably the best regular season of James’ career. After a season like that, Cavs fans have to believe there is more in the tank for James. But the lack of support James had this season was more evident than ever in the playoffs. With a lottery pick this year, the Cavs must find some help for James.
Picks and needs
First round: No. 8
At 33 years old in his 15th season, James was incredible, but how much longer can he possibly play like this? How much longer will he be the league’s best player? How much longer will he be in a Cavs uniform?
All of these are relevant questions to ask, which is why this pick is so important. If the Cavs flop on this pick, the Celtics officially robbed them of Kyrie Irving.
The Cavs only have one pick in the draft, but it is more than what they have been used too. At No. 8, they really have a chance to add young talent to an old roster.
Finding the next leader of the team, or even a sidekick for James will be difficult at the eighth pick. But like last season, this draft is also loaded with talent, so Cleveland may be able to score a future All-Star.
Targets and thoughts
Pick No. 8: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
There are a few different options for the Cavs at No. 8. Mohamed Bamba, Miles Bridges, Mikal Bridges and Collin Sexton will all most likely be available. All of these guys could be great, but Sexton stands out for a few reasons.
Bamba can definitely help a team defensively, but his offensive game is lacking and that will prevent him from ever leading a team. Miles Bridges and Mikal Bridges all had great seasons last year, but the Cavs have a lot of depth at their position, which will cause them to lose minutes and development.
Sexton has much more upside and potential and could not only compliment LeBron James the next few seasons but also could take the keys as the leader of this team in a few seasons when James is past his prime. He also fills a hole at the point guard position left by Kyrie Irving.
Sexton had a great one-and-done campaign at Alabama. The former Crimson Tide point guard averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists while leading the Tide to their first 20-win season since the 2012-13 season and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012.
Sexton stands just about 6-foot-2 and weighs 183, so he is a bit undersized, but a wingspan just over 6-foot-7 gives him great length for his size.
Sexton is very athletic and is great at attacking the rim. He also has the strength to absorb and finish through contact when driving inside. His ability to attack, combined with his speed, has drawn some comparisons to John Wall. Sexton also brings that aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball, making him a nightmare for any opposing point guard. That aggressive style of play also causes Sexton to take a lot of free throws, which he shoots at a respectable 77.8 percent.
Sexton does need to improve his shot. He shot 44.7 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from the 3-point line. His 3.6 assists to 2.8 turnovers has also raised concerns about his ability to make plays.
Overall, Sexton has the potential and athletic ability to be a star in this league. With experience, Sexton can improve his shot, shot selection and become smarter with the ball. LeBron James would not only be a great mentor for Sexton, but he would also give him plenty of opportunities to score and get assists. Sexton is the best option for Cleveland at No. 8.
Cleveland needs to make this pick count. With an underperforming roster and James’ future in the organization unknown, the Cavs need to capitalize with this pick.
Sexton offers the most potential out of all possible players available. Cleveland could really use his energy on offense and defense. Every knock on his game can be improved on with experience. He is also going to get many great opportunities playing alongside James next season.
Be sure to check back tomorrow to read the New York Knicks 2018 NBA Draft profile!
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