Three Players For Cavs Fans To Watch For in NBA Draft

Three Players For Cavs Fans To Watch For in NBA Draft

Tyler Vaysman
6 months ago
3 min read
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Malaki Branham dribbles the ball against Villanova

The Cleveland Cavaliers may not have had the lottery luck that has been bestowed upon them in years past. But that doesn’t mean the Cavs can’t add a promising young prospect to their playoff-caliber roster during the 2022 NBA Draft.

Cleveland will pick No. 14 overall after narrowly missing out on its first playoff berth in four years. While that disqualifies them from an elite talent like Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren or Duke’s Paolo Banchero, there is any number of players who will be available once the Cavaliers go on the clock.

Below are three names all Cavalier fans should keep an eye on as potential selections at No. 14 overall.

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Johnny Davis, Wisconsin

Whether you classify Johnny Davis as a guard or forward, the point still stands that the Wisconsin product can score. Considering Cleveland finished 20th in offensive rating last year, he’d be a welcomed addition.

Davis was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2021-22 after averaging 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds. Any midseason mock drafts would have likely pegged the 6-foot-5 scorer as a top-10 pick in the NBA draft. However, an ankle injury suffered late in the season has presumably pushed his stock into the mid-first round.

The 20-year-old can score at all three levels, although his efficiency (30.6% from three last season) leaves some to be desired. Still, his above-average offensive and defensive skill set would bring a lot of the Cavs immediately.

Malaki Branham, Ohio State

While the Cavaliers will look to take the best player available, finding scoring help should be a priority. If that’s the case, no player available at No. 14 might offer as much scoring upside as Malaki Branham.

Most scouts didn’t expect Branham to be a one-and-done player at Ohio State. But the 19-year-old was the top freshman in the Big Ten, averaging 13.7 points while shooting close to 50.0% from the field and 42.0 percent from three. While he has the catch-and-shoot ability, he’s also an impressive shot creator.

There are some questions as to whether Branham is the real deal from beyond the arc or more than a microwave scorer off the bench. Regardless, it will be hard for Cleveland to pass on a player from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, the alma mater of LeBron James.

Tari Eason, LSU

The Cavaliers are looking for scorers; that much is certain. But they also want a true wing who fits the identity of a defense-first team ready to win now. Tari Eason could be that guy.

Eason is an NBA-ready athlete after two seasons at LSU. The 6-foot-6, 217 lb. wing is one of the class’ top defenders and routinely guarded centers in college. While his 16.9 points per game came mostly near the basket, the 21-year-old still managed to shoot 37.1 percent from three and just under 80 percent from the charity stripe.

There’s a chance Eason never becomes a true knockdown shooter at the professional level. But his size, athleticism, defense, and intangibles are something any team — Cleveland included — would want with a late lottery pick.

The last five No. 14 NBA Draft Picks have had some success in the league. Perhaps the Cavs can capture that magic next week.

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