The Cleveland Cavaliers held a workout for San Diego State’s Jalen McDaniels, who hopes to be selected in the 2018 NBA Draft, last week.
According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Cleveland Cavaliers worked out San Diego State power forward Jalen McDaniels as they continue to do their due diligence on 2018 NBA Draft prospects.
McDaniels, a 20-year-old redshirt freshman who was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, averaged 10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks in 24.7 minutes per game.
He shot 58.6 percent from the field (6.5 field goal attempts per game), 21.1 percent from three-point range (0.6 three-point attempts per game) and 78.8 percent from the free-throw line (3.4 free-throw attempts per game).
He started 21 out of 33 games as a freshman, earning his first start of the season on December 27th against the University of Wyoming and never looked back.
McDaniels is a lean and lithe athlete who, despite having shooting range out to the three-point line, is most successful on dives and cuts to the rim. The most enticing aspect of his potential lies on the defensive end, where his speed, 6-foot-10, 195 pound frame and defensive instincts make him a terror in the passing lanes and when defending players on-ball as well.
He’s a player who one scout feels could be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft with a strong sophomore season (per Mark Zeigler of The San Diego Union-Tribune).
"One respected scout privately told the Union-Tribune that McDaniels might not be a first-round pick in 2018 but could, with a strong sophomore season, position himself as a lottery pick in 2019 or beyond."
McDaniels, who hasn’t hired an agent, can still return to the Aztecs (he would have to do it by June) if he doesn’t like what he hears from NBA scouts and executives. According to Zeigler, “underclassmen declaring for the draft can work out for one NBA team plus the combine, if invited. They also can receive an anonymous evaluation from a group of NBA general managers of where they’re expected to be drafted.”
With his workout for the Cavs complete and without an invite to the NBA Draft Combine, McDaniels only has those anonymous evaluations left as he decides whether or not to remain in the 2018 NBA Draft.
If he does, there’s a better chance that he’ll go undrafted or be selected in the second-round than that he’d be selected in the first-round although there are always “movers and shakers” prior to the draft.
Within that second-round, the Cavaliers can buy a draft pick if they haven’t already attained an additional one (they currently own one pick, the 8th overall selection) via trade. McDaniels would have to hope he’d be the Cavs selection as they’ve already worked out two other solid second-round prospects.
However, with McDaniels on some scouts radars as a potential lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Cavaliers could just be getting an early look at a player who could be one of their draft selections next year.
With the growth of Kawhi Leonard, another former Aztec who came into the league with great defensive potential but a limited skillset on offense, McDaniels is a prospect that could turn a lot of heads next year whether he’s in the NBA or still in the NCAA.
*All stats gathered from www.sports-reference.com