The Cleveland Cavaliers landed the No. 5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, which was disappointing. But it might work in their favor.
The Cleveland Cavaliers enter an interesting offseason in 2019. Their first season without LeBron James didn’t go well at all, resulting in just 19 wins, and instead of winning the draft lottery like in their previous tenure without LeBron, the Cavs were one of the teams that was negatively affected by the new lottery odds. They fell to fifth despite having the second-best odds, watching in horror as LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers leaped seven spots to earn the pick before them.
They likely now will miss out on the addition of star talent this year, and that means that they are likely to struggle again next season. Collin Sexton is probably not ready to make a significant leap despite strong play at the end of the year, and the team is in a weird spot from a salary perspective; they don’t have many quality rotation pieces, and the ones they do have are on expensive contracts that will make it difficult to make upgrades in free agency. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, and Larry Nance Jr. all will command heavy money at the center spot, and Jordan Clarkson’s contract is probably not movable, continuing a weird dynamic with Sexton in the backcourt for another season.
In the 2019 NBA Draft, the Cavs will still have some good shots at acquiring a good foundation piece for whatever their next few years look like, however. They may not have a chance to take Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, or R.J. Barrett, but their spot, and the teams above them, could mean that a quality contributor could fall to them. With the New York Knicks and the Lakers eyeing Cameron Reddish and Darius Garland in the top four, the Cavs could have their pick of several players who look like rotation players on winning teams. Even if it’s not a star, the Cavs have a good shot to add a productive player at five that can raise the floor of their rebuild. Here are five such options on the table.