Top Players For The Cavs To Target At No. 14 Overall
The Cleveland Cavaliers may not have made the playoffs in 2021-22. But on the plus side, they’ll now have an opportunity to land a lottery talent who’s ready to contribute from day one.
Cleveland owns the 14th-overall pick, which is a spot several teams have found All-Stars at in previous seasons. Even if the Cavs don’t find the next superstar with their first-round selection, there is no shortage of intriguing players for the front office and scouting department to consider.
Here are the top players the Cavaliers should look to add when they go on the clock this Thursday in Brooklyn.
Malaki Branham, Ohio State
By now, Cavaliers fans have seen Branham mocked at No. 14 multiple times. But the reasons to draft the wing go beyond his Buckeye State roots.
After being named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball a St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School, Branham burst onto the scene with the Buckeyes. In his lone collegiate season, the 19-year-old hit around 42 percent of his threes and 50 percent of his shots overall. His brilliance on offense helped earn him the title of Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
For a team that’s desperate to improve its scoring, Branham is one of the best possible selections for Cleveland to make. Don’t be surprised if the obvious pick is the correct one on Thursday night.
Ochai Agbaji, Kansas
In theory, Ogbaji falling to 14th overall might be a stretch. But if he’s available, he might be the favorite to join the Wine and Gold next season.
It doesn’t get much better than being the leading scorer for the national champions. That was Ogbaji in 2021-22, averaging 18.8 points and hitting over 40 percent of his threes for the Jayhawks. The 22-year-old’s dream season was rewarded with two highly-coveted awards: Big 12 Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four.
Cleveland wants win-now help, which is certainly a plus for the older Agbaji. The 6-foot-6 wing could be the 3-and-D player the Cavs need to reach the next level.
Ousmane Dieng, New Zealand
At 6-foot-10, Dieng breaks the trend of mid-size wings being mocked for Cleveland. But if the Cavaliers aren’t afraid of a project, they should consider the big Frenchman.
Dieng has been playing professional basketball for two years, most recently suiting up for the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL. On the surface, his 8.9 points per game inspire little confidence. But many scouts believe he offers some of the highest upside out of anyone in the draft thanks to his elite size, ballhandling, passing, and defending.
If he was a better shooter, there’s a chance the 19-year-old would be a top-five selection. Cleveland should definitely consider him if he’s there at 14 strictly out of principle.
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
Behind Branham and Agbaji, fans have seen tons of mocks featuring Davis going 14th to Cleveland. But there’s a very good reason the two are often connected.
If it wasn’t for a late-season ankle injury, Davis’ draft stock might have never fallen to Cleveland’s level. The Wisconsin star was the team’s offensive driver, scoring just under 20.0 points a game while also pulling over 8 rebounds. He became the first Badger since Frank Kaminsky in 2015 to be named Big Ten Player of the Year.
Even though he’s not an elite shooter, Davis proved he can score at every level while playing elite defense on the other side. Whether it’s starting or coming off the bench, the Cavs could use a player of his skillset next season and beyond.
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