While many are focused on the Cavaliers trying to even the Eastern Conference Finals with the Boston Celtics, Cleveland was once again in the NBA Draft Lottery but unlike the four years they were in the lottery while Lebron James was in Miami, this night wasn’t as exciting.
The Cavaliers came in with the 8th best odds and that’s exactly where they ended up as they will have the 8th overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft next month. The Phoenix Suns who had the best odds of landing the #1 overall pick won the draft lottery for the first time in their franchise history.
Cleveland acquired the pick last summer when they traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the draft pick which was originally owned by the Brooklyn Nets.
Zizic and the 8th pick are the only parts of the trade remaining in Cleveland as they traded Thomas and Crowder to Los Angeles and Utah respectively at the deadline in February.
Now general manager Koby Altman and the scouting department will have to focus in on where the organization should go with this pick.
They can go in a variety of directions with the pick such as adding a talented young prospect to a team that’s a mixed blend of youth and veterans and perhaps find a potential third star alongside Lebron James and Kevin Love.
Current mock drafts have the Cavaliers selecting anyone from Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, Alabama point guard Collin Sexton, Duke forward/center Wendell Carter and Texas center Mohamed Bamba.
Cleveland could use a point guard for the future that they can groom behind George Hill and they could also use a young athletic center that can be a rim protector inside which they’ve been lacking the last couple seasons.
It’s also possible that Cleveland trades the pick although the value might not be as strong as it could’ve been if the pick landed higher in the lottery. The Cavaliers can’t trade the pick until after it’s made on draft night due to league rules.
This pick is very key to the organization’s future whether Lebron James is part of it or not. James is a pending free agent this summer and hasn’t revealed his intentions yet and likely won’t before free agency begins on July 1.
I wouldn’t expect Lebron James to want to add a rookie to the roster but that rookie could extend James’ career as he’s in his 15th season in the NBA. He might prefer the pick being dealt to add another star like Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio or perhaps CJ McCollum or Damian Lilliard from Portland.
It’ll be an interesting five weeks to see what direction Cleveland goes in with this draft pick.