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Cavaliers coach John Beilein is likely to have at least a little input about what to do with the No. 5 overall pick in Thursday’s draft, and if so, word is that Beilein really likes Virginia small forward De’Andre Hunter.
Beilein comes to the Cavs after 12 years at Michigan — and three decades coaching at the college level. So he likely knows this draft well. After all, college coaches spend plenty of time recruiting players who go on to become college stars.
Eventually, those college stars become NBA prospects, and Hunter is certainly among them. Hunter was a huge reason why Virginia claimed the national championship this past season and most scouts feel he will be an immediate starter as a pro.
The Cavs are fairly well set at point guard with Collin Sexton, so it is widely believed they will take one of the draft’s top wing players. Along with Hunter, Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver, North Carolina combo guard Coby White and Duke forward Cam Reddish could be available and are said to be high on the Cavs’ list.
Then again, Koby Altman has pulled off lots of trades during his nearly two years as Cavs general manager. So there has been some speculation Altman could deal the fifth pick for the right young gun.
For instance, if the Cavs end up drafting Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland … well, they may be doing it for no other reason than to move him in a trade. Both the Phoenix Suns (sixth overall pick) and Chicago Bulls (seventh) are said to be especially keen on Garland.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks are selecting eighth and 10th and supposedly would love to move up to five. Will the Cavs be willing to move down?
These are the conversations and rumors that are likely to take place over and over until the actual draft.
As for Beilein, it’s hard to say how much weight his opinion will carry when Altman places a call to the NBA with the Cavs’ selection. Altman and the basketball staff will surely want Beilein’s input. And depending on what happens at four, or what others may offer, Hunter very well may be the Cavs’ man.