It’s not exactly ideal at this point, as the Cleveland Cavaliers could’ve used some postseason experience for their key young guys and for the team to mentally take a step forward, but Cleveland does have its lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Now, thinking back to before the All-Star break, it seemed likely that the Cavaliers would make the postseason this year.
Things didn’t work out that way, and even with the injuries the Cavs endured playing into part of their slide, it was still somewhat disappointing that Cleveland didn’t make the postseason. They lost both of their play-in games to the Brooklyn Nets and then Atlanta Hawks; both of those clubs were bounced in the first round, and Cleveland would’ve realistically been, too, but some of that playoff taste would’ve been meaningful.
On the plus side, though, with part of the Caris LeVert trade details being that Cleveland would keep its first-rounder for this season if they missed the playoffs, and next year being the same with their deal with the Indiana Pacers, Cleveland can still get a quality piece there. The Cavaliers also have two second-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, and perhaps they could land one or two potential developmental pieces; we’ll see what transpires.
As far as Cleveland’s first-rounder, in this sense, that’s projected to likely slot in at being #14, the last lottery spot. The Cavaliers have a 97.6 percent chance of that selection being #14, per Tankathon.
Now, perhaps the Cavs do end up making a trade for a veteran player with that pick being part of a package, such as with guys like Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler or maybe Collin Sexton, and/or with another piece? Sexton, who is set to likely hit restricted free agency this offseason, it seems should be back and perhaps given a new deal, but Osman/Windler could be dealt, for instance.
That being said, I can’t say I’d be surprised if the Cavaliers ended up just making their first-rounder, given there could be a number of players that could give them solid depth there and/or be upside swings. I’d imagine the likes of Tari Eason, Ochai Agbaji, Jeremy Sochan, Dyson Daniels, Jaden Hardy, Nikola Jovic and others could definitely be targets for the Cavs, with the draft to commence on June 23.
Another prospect, however, I don’t think should necessarily be disregarded, either, and that’s TyTy Washington Jr., a combo guard out of Kentucky who I believe could have immense potential.
If he’s there in the upcoming NBA Draft, Washington would be an intriguing target for the Cavs.
Washington is a 6-foot-3 combo guard that had 12.5 points and 3.9 assists per contest in his lone collegiate season at Kentucky, and at the next level, I’d expect to play for stretches in both on and off-ball roles.
I get that the Cavs have an All-Star lead guard in Darius Garland who is fresh off a breakout season, and looks to be one of the NBA’s best young guards moving forward. Even still, with Washington, he could be a viable lead guard in some time when Garland is out in games, and while I’m not necessarily sure it’d be for extended stretches, Washington could play in some stretches at the 2.