The Cleveland Cavaliers had a disappointing outcome Tuesday night, as the Cavs now hold the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
With the Cavaliers being tied for the highest chance to receive the first overall pick, to not even get a top three pick was a hard pill to swallow for a majority of Cavs fans. However, there is still a great opportunity to grab a talented player in this year’s draft.
The names Jarrett Culver and Cam Reddish have been thrown around as serious options for the Cleveland at five, but someone else in this draft fills holes that the other players listed above simply cannot, or at least as well.
That someone is DeAndre Hunter.
As a sophomore at Virginia, Hunter averaged 15.2 points per game, shooting 52 percent from the field, including 43.8 percent from three-point range, during the 2018-2019 season.
In the national championship game against Texas Tech, the 6-foot-seven-inch sophomore came in clutch for Virginia, scoring 27 points in the win, which included a key three-point shot that sent the game into overtime.
The impressive performance by Hunter helped the Virginia Cavaliers win their first national title in school history, defeating Texas Tech 85-77.
While his scoring ability is something truly special, his play on defense cannot go unnoticed. The Cavaliers need a high-caliber player that can play defense and a player like DeAndre Hunter could be the best possible pick for the Cavaliers at fifth overall.
According to NBA.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers were ranked 28 out of 30 teams in defensive efficiency, giving up 114 points per game, while averaging 104.5 points per game as a team during the 2018-2019 season.
Finding great two-way players has become more and more difficult, as players individually put more time into their offensive game. However, they aren’t impossible to find. Just ask the Toronto Raptors how they’re doing with Kawhi Leonard, who looks like a legit threat to teams in this year’s playoffs.
It’s way too early to tell whether or not DeAndre Hunter can be like a Kawhi Leonard for the Cavs, but why not take the chance on him regardless?
Hunter would be a nice fit on a team with a young core, which includes last-year’s lottery pick Collin Sexton. The Cavaliers desperately need some help at the forward position, which was held by Cedi Osman for a majority of the 2018-2019 season.
Although Osman was great at times, his lack of consistency on offense seriously hurt the Cavs. Drafting a player like De’Andre Hunter would give the Cavs more opportunities on offense, while also helping on defense.
With a new head coach in John Beilein, who is arguably one of the best at developing young players, it would certainly heighten the chances at taking De’Andre Hunter as the fifth-overall pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers.