The Cavaliers need it keep it simple in the 2020 NBA Draft. They should take the best player available no matter what position they play.
Some Cavaliers fans might be under the impression that the presence of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton should stop the team from drafting a guard with the No. 5 pick. The simple truth is that no one on the current roster has proven their ability to be an untouchable building block of the team’s future.
The key for the Cavaliers is to take a big swing with their first-round pick. Drafting someone who is only capable of growing into an average starter won’t move the needle for this team. They need to go searching for a player who can blossom into a difference-maker if things break right for his development.
In some ways, that makes this draft a relatively straightforward process for the Cavaliers front office. They can stand pat at No. 5 and take the highest-rated player on their board. Cleveland fans should keep a close eye on these five prospects.
1. LaMelo Ball, Guard, Illawara Hawks, Big Board Rank: 1
Ball might not be a perfect prospect, but there’s no denying the reality that he oozes star potential. He already possesses elite vision that can open up an NBA offense immediately. Combine that with his above-average size for the point guard spot and it’s easy to see how he can help the Cavaliers right away.
Ball’s lack of shooting makes him an awkward fit with Sexton, but he could actually combine nicely with Garland due to his ability to shoot the ball from distance. Ultimately, Ball’s fit here is irrelevant. The Cavaliers need a superstar and he’s got the highest ceiling of any prospect in this year’s class.
2. Killian Hayes, Guard, Ulm, Big Board Rank: 2
Hayes is another guard prospect who already possesses exceptional passing skills. His lack of elite athleticism makes him a slightly inferior prospect compared to Ball, but his size should help him make up for any quickness deficiencies.
In many ways, the justification for the Cavaliers potentially drafting Hayes is identical to the argument for selecting Ball. He doesn’t have superstar upside, but his chances of developing into a top-15 point guard should be very tempting for Cleveland.
3. Isaac Okoro, Wing, Auburn, Big Board Rank: 10
Drafting Okoro would allow the Cavaliers to fill an immediate hole in their starting five. With all due respect to Cedi Osman, his lack of size and athleticism makes him better suited to a role on a quality team’s bench.
The real appeal of Okoro is that he already possesses the length, athleticism, and mindset to be a quality NBA defender out on the wing. He would instantly give Cleveland the toughness required to matchup against elite individual scorers in the Eastern Conference.
The downside to Okoro is clearly his awkward jump shot. If he successfully figures that out, he could turn into one of the best players in this year’s class.
4. Deni Avdija, Wing, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Big Board Rank: 8
Taking Avdija at No. 5 would give the Cavaliers a clear answer to their issues at the power forward position. He doesn’t have all of the athletic tools NBA teams covet at the position, but the advanced playmaking skills he flashed in Israel make him an intriguing prospect.
Specifically, Avdija’s passing ability could do wonders for a Cavaliers offense that struggles in the halfcourt. He also could give the team’s starting lineup some toughness it sorely lacks at the moment. As an added bonus, selecting Avdija would free the front office up to trade Kevin Love with a clear conscience.
5. Obi Toppin, Big, Dayton, Big Board Rank: 15
Toppin enjoyed an electric final season at Dayton that caught the attention of numerous NBA scouts. His ability to sky high above the rim for ferocious dunks and make more than his share of shots from three make him an interesting big man prospect.
At worst, he would give the Cavaliers offense some useful vertical spacing for their pick-and-roll game. At best, Toppin can develop into a stretch-big that can space the floor both vertically and horizontally via perimeter shooting. Toppin doesn’t have the highest ceiling in this class, but if everything goes right he could grow into an above-average starter for Cleveland in relatively short order.