Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Photo: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a very surprising season to most people in the NBA and fans of the NBA. The CAVS finished with a record of 44-38. They made the play-in tournament and lost both games to first the Brooklyn Nets, and then to the Atlanta Hawks. In these tough games during the play-in and throughout the regular season you could tell the CAVS were missing a huge piece in their lineup. The need that needed to be filled is a wing player that can score at will and has good size to match up with Jimmy Butler (Miami), Jayson Tatum (Boston), etc. The Cleveland front office did what they could with the 14th overall pick, 39th overall pick, 49th overall pick, and the 56th overall pick.
There was a lot of controversy with what the CAVS could have done with the 14th overall pick. Some people wanted Ochai Agbaji from Kansas, others wanted Johnny Davis from Wisconsin, and some wanted Malaki Branham from Ohio State, then there were the people who wanted a sign and trade to package with Sexton and the 14th overall pick. All of everyone's wants and needs were answered whether they liked the results or not. As the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Ochai Agbaji from the University of Kansas. I absolutely love this pick. Agbaji and Davis were my top two choices for the CAVS at 14. Ochai is a true 3 & D wing player. He can score at will from anywhere on the court, and he fits today's NBA. Ochai Agbaji is a versatile wing player who can guard the 1-4 on the floor. He is quick and agile and he proved that when he led Kansas to the National Championship in the 2022 campaign for the Jayhawks. Ochai Agbaji averaged 18.8 ppg, and he played all four seasons at Kansas. I love this for the CAVS because he is 22 years old. He can come in right away and help the team. Agbaji is an elite defender and can help put the CAVS over the hump next season. With how I see it the CAVS starting lineup next season will be Darius Garland at the 1, Caris LeVert at the 2, Agbai at the 3, Evan Mobley at the 4, and then Jarrett Allen at the 5. To me that sounds like a starting lineup that can make a run in the postseason.
Photo: Irina R. H. / AFP7 / Europa Press - Archivo
That is enough about the CAVS big time players, now let's turn to see who they drafted to help out the bench. With the 39th overall pick in the draft the CAVS selected Khalifa Diop. A 6’11” center who can wreak havoc on the boards, a very physical ball player that should bring the CAVS some depth in the front court at some point. He is going to be a project but has two elite men in front of him to teach him in Mobley and Allen. It appears he will be draft and stash prospect per Chris Fedor of cleveland.com.
Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Speaking of Evan Mobley, with the Cavs team being so tied to family decided to draft his brother Isaiah from USC. Isaiah averaged a solid 14.2 ppg for the Trojans last season while ripping down close to 9 boards a game. He is considered a stretch 4 who has a nice outside shot. This will be another interesting wing player to keep your eye on when the summer league gets rolling. Fedor also noted that the elder Mobley looks to be slated for a two-way contract with the CAVS.
Photo: Perth Wildcats
The final pick the CAVS had in the 2022 NBA Draft was the 56th overall pick. They chose to go the overseas route again in selecting Luke Travers from Australia. Travers averaged 7.8 ppg overseas and the CAVS are hopeful that he can be a role player down the road who can help manage the game when Garland is off the floor. He will also be a draft and stash player.
All in all I believe the CAVS had a very successful draft and addressed the needs that needed to be solved. I once again love the Ochai Agbaji selection at 14 and could not be more happy about that. I also love that we got some players who can give us quality minutes coming off the bench this season. I am very interested to see what the summer league looks like and the NBA season overall. To say the least, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playoff contenders!
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