Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
- NBA free agency set to tip off in middle of October - June 4, 2020
- Details on NBA’s announcement on resumption of season - June 4, 2020
- Lottery and draft become Cavs’ next order of business - June 4, 2020
How about a starting backcourt of Collin Sexton and Ja Morant? Or Sexton and R.J. Barrett?
More than just about any other time, the odds are stacked in favor of the Cavaliers getting a quality guard in the June 20 draft.
The draft will feature three kinds of guards:
1. Dynamic Point Guards — Morant (Murray State), Darius Garland (Vanderbilt) and Coby White (North Carolina), who is actually viewed as someone who can play either backcourt position.
2. Talented Shooting Guards — Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech), De’Andre Hunter (Virginia) and Kevin Porter Jr. (USC), who was once viewed as a lottery pick, then seemed to drop out, but apparently is back in again.
3. Wings Who Can Fill It Up — Barrett (Duke), Cam Reddish (also Duke) and perhaps Romeo Langford (Indiana).
Of course, all of this is assuming the Cavs don’t land No. 1 pick Zion Williamson, the large and skilled mutli-faceted forward from Duke. If they win Tuesday’s lottery, you can start printing the Zion jerseys. That is who the Cavs (and anyone) will take.
But general manager Koby Altman and new coach John Beilein are prepared for other scenarios. Only one team wins No. 1. And while the Cavs are tied with New York and Phoenix for the best chance to luck into the lottery’s top spot, those odds are still only 14 percent.
So what does Altman do if the Cavs finish No. 2? How about third, fourth, fifth or sixth? That answer is easy, too. Altman will almost definitely go with a guard.
And that’s not just because it fills a need. It’s also because, aside from Williams, the best players in this draft tend to do their best work on the perimeter.
Morant comes from a smaller school, but there is no doubting his big-time game. He has drawn comparisons to Portland star Damian Lillard, who hails from Weber State.
Murray State, Weber State … whatever. Neither is exactly considered a factory for NBA types. But if that Cavs can’t get Williamson, they would love to have Morant.
Or how about Barrett? He stands 6-foot-7 and will have no trouble getting off his shot, his quick release and athleticism certain to cause problems no matter where he goes next.
At worst, Barrett is viewed as a “volume” scorer. At best, he is viewed as a regular All-Star. And why not? Barrett has already thrived next to an impactful player in Williamson.
So that is where things may get tricky for Altman — if the Cavs finish at No. 2. Then the GM will have a real decision to make, one that will play a major role in both the short- and long-term future of the franchise.
Morant or Barrett? The Cavs love them both.
If the Cavs finish fourth or worse, well, they’ll again have a tough call.
Culver averaged 20.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in leading Tech to the NCAA championship game. Reddish managed 16.3 points as the very clear third-wheel at Duke. Hunter did a little of everything, including show off some strong defense, for title-winning Virginia. And scouts say Garland is the most-underrated prospect entering the draft.
But until the Cavs learn their draft position, all they know for sure is the like really like Sexton, they really like Cedi Osman, they really like Jordan Clarkson off the bench.
They also really like the fact another young backcourt player with promise is likely on the way. If not, it’s only because they landed the right to draft Zion Williamson.
And hey, that’s not so bad.