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If the Cavaliers had landed the No. 2 overall draft pick, they may have settled on Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver — even over the likes of Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett.
That is how much the Cavs are said to like Culver. It’s hard to know if any of this is true or just a gigantic smokescreen (Culver is about the third draft prospect the Cavs are said to really, really want.)
But for the sake of argument, let’s say Culver is indeed the Cavaliers’ man. Let’s say the New Orleans Pelicans take Zion Williamson at No. 1, the Memphis Grizzlies go with Moran at No. 2, and the Knicks take Barrett after that.
In that scenario, all that stands between the Cavs and Culver is … drumroll, please … LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers.
“At No. 5, though, there’s a pretty good chance the Cavs can get their man, if the Lakers pass on him at No. 4 — though that is no guarantee,” Sean Deveney of Sporting News wrote. “Culver had good numbers at the Chicago pre-draft combine, measuring 6-6.75 with a 6-9.5 wingspan.”
The Cavs interviewed Culver last week, and according to sources, walked away feeling as if he would be a great fit in the culture they are trying to build and in new coach John Beilein’s system.
But again, what happens after the top three picks is when the draft mysteries are really expected to begin. Along with Culver, Virginia small forward De’Andre Hunter, Duke wing Cam Reddish, Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland and rising North Carolina combo guard Coby White are all expected to fall in the Nos. 5-10 range.
Culver averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists this past season, when he led Texas Tech to the NCAA championship game, losing to Virginia.
1. Deveney reported league sources told him that “Culver’s floor – the lowest spot he’d be drafted – is the Bulls at No. 7.”
2. North Carolina wing Nassir Little didn’t have a great freshman season and didn’t even start for much of the year. But scouts have always been in love with his upside and he reportedly is climbing teams’ draft boards. It is still hard to envision Little being taken in the lottery (top 14), though some have reminded that a lot could (and will) change between now and the June 20 draft.