After seeing their promising season come up short, the Cleveland Cavaliers got a small consolation prize on Tuesday night. Even though they had the slimmest of chances of breaking the top four, the Cavaliers will begin the 2022 NBA Draft with the fourteenth overall pick. Sure, if you're Cleveland it's a little disappointing to not have a chance to add another franchise-altering talent like Auburn's Jabari Smith or Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren. But, there's a reason why the Cavaliers are picking in the middle of the first round instead of at the top of this year's NBA Draft.
At this point, Cleveland could be looking for a player who can make an immediate impact instead of a prospect who needs time to develop since they were only a few wins away from making the playoffs. But, due to their strong roster, they could afford to take a developmental piece as well. Thankfully, there are some options out there that make sense for the Cavaliers on both ends of the spectrum. Prior to the NBA Draft Lottery, Right Down Euclid broke down some options that could be of varying interest to Cleveland, including Ohio State's Malaki Branham or E.J. Liddell as well as Kansas forward Ochai Agbaji – all of whom fit the mold of development versus immediate contribution for Cleveland.
Sources say both are still options for the Cavaliers at no. 14 but, there are some other players Right Down Euclid has discovered could be of interest as well. But, before we do that, some quick housekeeping notes. On May 26, Right Down Euclid is partnering with Platform Beer Co. to have the first Right Down Euclid Community Happy Hour! It'll be from 5:30 p.m. EST to 7:30 p.m. EST at Phunkenship and all are welcome to come! Plus, for the first 50 people that arrive, drinks are on Platform!
Register here via Facebook – looking forward to meeting some of you there and celebrating the community that makes this possible! With that said, after Right Down Euclid attended last night's NBA Draft Lottery, there's plenty more information out there on how certain teams are feeling about this year's draft class.
The luxury of having the fourteenth pick if you're Cleveland is there a multitude of players that could be available. Granted, a lot of that can change with this week's NBA Draft Combine but, the same can be said for players that could soon be unobtainable as well. Sources say that Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan already has intrigue from teams due to his ability to be a high-impact winning player with tons of upside. But, those same sources say some of Sochan's biggest fans within the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder organizations. With New York picking at 11 and Oklahoma City having picks at 2 and 12, it likely means that Sochan will be out of consideration when it's Cleveland's time to pick.
Like Sochan, league sources have similar sentiments with Wisconsin forward Johnny Davis as well. Davis could rise with a strong showing at the NBA Draft Combine but, more than anything, it will likely solidify his already strong draft stock. Teams like the Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs and the Charlotte Hornets are all intrigued by Davis's two-way potential and ability to play right away, per sources. That means, like Sochan, Davis could be out of reach for the Cavaliers when the fourteenth pick is on the clock.
If Cleveland wants to completely pursue the player development route then they could take a long look at G League Ignite point guard Dyson Daniels. A 6’8, 200-pound guard with a 6’11 wingspan, Daniels will earn playing time with his defense, where he's elite at the point of attack, as well as with his passing and ball handling. Daniels is already such an advanced pick-and-roll artist that he’s already able to draw in defenders with the threat of his floater and pull-up, only to throw a jump pass to his rolling big man. That would only make the star tandem of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen's life easier and, in turn, also help Daniels acclimate as well.
Could Dyson Daniels be in play for the Cavaliers at 14? Sources say don't rule him out if he happens to fall that far to them.
The biggest flaw in the Australian product's game is his lack of overall perimeter shooting ability – where he only connected on 25.5% of his 51 overall attempts last season. But, if Daniels were to come to Cleveland, he would be given the runway to properly develop and also work with some of the best overall shooting coaches in the NBA. The loss of Ricky Rubio and the unreliable nature of Rajon Rondo could make a more pressing need for the Cavaliers to acquire a long-term solution like Daniels to backup Darius Garland. Sources say that Cleveland, along with plenty of other teams, is a fan of what Daniels brings to the table.
But, unlike other teams in the lottery, the Cavaliers could give Daniels the time he needs to fully acclimate. Cleveland could bring back Rubio or another veteran to bridge the gap until Daniels is ready. But, if Daniels isn't available and the Cavaliers are hellbent and determined to grab a defensive-minded player then LSU's Tari Eason may pique their fancy.
Eason is a monster athlete who brings contagious energy and positional versatility. A lot of that is thanks to his unique composition with the body of a forward and the disposition of a guard but Eason also plays with a continuous desire to win. That mentality could carve him out minutes early in Cleveland's rotation, as Eason could be plugged in as either a three or a four based on how the Cavaliers play on both ends of the floor. That would allow him to grow and further tap into his potential all while forming a defensive force on the floor with Mobley, Allen as well as Isaac Okoro.
The biggest wart in Eason's game right now is his propensity to get into foul trouble. Last season, Eason fouled out of six games – including one against Florida in only seven minutes. Thankfully, that can be easily fixed at the next level, especially with a shorter leash with the Cavaliers off the bench. The same can be said for Eason's shooting touch as well. He appears to have solid mechanics but he appeared hesitant at times to let it fly with LSU. Granted, that could always come down the line but, thankfully, there is a solid foundation to build off of.
Clearly, there are a ton of options available for Cleveland with the no. 14 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. More will come to the surface between now and next month's NBA Draft but, until then, keep your eye on players mentioned in the past as well as in this article. If Right Down Euclid had to rank them right now, this is how it would shake out for the Cavaliers based on what league sources are saying:
- Dyson Daniels
- Malaki Branham
- Ochai Agbaji
- E.J. Liddell
- Tari Eason
What do you think? Are there players we missed or should dive deeper into? Let us know in the comments below!
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!