Last night did not go as planned for Cavs fans. Not only did they lose out on the Zion lottery, but they also fell out of the first three picks in what many consider to be a top-heavy draft. However just because the Cavs will be picking fifth in this upcoming draft doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to get a talented player to continue to their rebuild.
While the Cavs will unlikely be able to walk away with Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett or Ja Morant they’ll still have a good selection of players at fifth. There are three players in particular that the Cavs will have the option of, who may not be the franchise changing talent of Zion, but still the talent and potential to be a strong piece moving forward.
First, you have Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech, a long athletic guard who could compliment Colin Sexton very nicely in the backcourt. Culver had a very impressive sophomore season, averaging 18.5/6.4/3.7, that resulted in him being the Big 12 Player of the Year, a consensus second-team All-American and the first trip to the Final Four in Texas Tech history.
Next, you have De’Andre Hunter, a defensive stopper type guard who would be another nice piece to compliment Sexton in the backcourt. Hunter, also a sophomore like Culver, had a very impressive season on both sides of the court. He shot .52/.43/.78 respectively, was named first-team All-ACC, won the NABC Defensive Player of the Year award and helped lead Virginia to their first National Championship in school history.
Finally, there’s Cam Reddish who became the forgotten man during some of his time at Duke. Reddish did have a disappointing season at Duke, he would sometimes disappear from games and struggle to find his shot.
He shot just 35% from the field and 33% from three, but being the third option behind Williamson and Barrett, and not always getting the best shot played into that. It’s undeniable that despite his one year at Duke Reddish still has an insane amount of potential. Despite being the biggest “project” out of these three guys Reddish still could develop into the star he was perceived to be when he committed to Duke.
While the fifth pick doesn’t appear to be all that exciting right now, think about what we’re currently seeing in the playoffs. Of the four teams we have left, outside of Kevin Durant, all of the stars were picked after the top five. Steph Curry, of course, was picked seventh, one spot higher than Damian Lillard, and their partners in the backcourt CJ McCollum and Klay Thompson were selected 10th and 11th in their respective drafts.
Flip to the Eastern Conference where you have Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antettokounmpo, who were both selected 15th. Let’s of course also not forget that Kevin Love was selected at fifth!
Another reason to not be too down on the Cavs picking fifth is their new head coach, John Beilein, who has made his career on developing talent and getting the most out of his players. Beilein proved at the college level that he didn’t need the top prospects in order to find success, and expect him to translate that to the NBA. Having a head coach that knows how to get the most of his players is a very relieving feeling as the Cavs continue their rebuild process.
Last night was definitely disappointing for Cavs fans, but rest assured because it isn’t the end of the world. The Cavs are in a better spot than they were the last time they lost LeBron James and it’s because of the pieces and coaching they currently have in place. Rebuilds are a long and sometimes even grueling process, but as long as the Cavs remain patient they’ll soon get back to the promised land.