Cavs should use the pick they acquired from Houston on Naz Reid

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images /

With the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly acquiring the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, the Cavs have two first-round picks, and with the Houston pick, they should strongly consider Naz Reid.

Outside the lottery, the 2019 NBA Draft looks considerably weak, but there are a few interesting prospects that are worth looking at for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ second first-round draft pick, of which they acquired from the Houston Rockets in the previously mentioned three-team Alec Burks deal near this year’s NBA trade deadline. One of those prospects is Naz Reid from LSU, who I actually saw play in high school.

It was one game, but I was intrigued by his game.

Right now, Reid’s putting up decent numbers at LSU but as of now, it’s relatively unclear as to his draft range. Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman recently had Reid as his 40th-best prospect on his 2019 NBA Draft big board, but did note that Reid’s “scoring skill and shooting range” makes him a promising prospect.

Looking at the Cavs roster, I think they should take him with the Houston pick, which is currently slated to be 24th overall, per Tankathon. The Cavs have been looking for a center of the future for a couple of years now.

Ante Zizic was a key piece of the Kyrie Irving trade, and has flashed, but does not have too high of a ceiling, and has clear defensive deficiencies.

They recently acquired Marquese Chriss as a possible big man of the future, but Chriss was a bust with the Phoenix Suns, and it’s been reported by The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd (subscription required) that a league source wondered whether Chriss’ career is already “in jeopardy,” even at 21, due to “his reputation and habits.”

With the Cavs presumably getting a wing or a power forward with their lottery pick, it’s safe to say that the only thing the Cavs need as far as a clear future piece is a 5 man to groom into a great offensive talent going forward.

Larry Nance Jr., while having plenty of value in the coming years for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is not going to be a key scorer; Reid could be groomed into fitting that mold.

One of the things I like about Reid is his shooting. At 6-foot-10 and 250 lbs, shooting makes him an attractive asset in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At LSU, he’s shooting 34.8 percent from three-point range on 2.3 attempts per game, and is putting up 13.3 points on 55.1 percent true shooting overall and 6.9 rebounds per game, per Sports Reference.

His jumper reminds me a little bit of Denver Nuggets’ star center Nikola Jokic, as he doesn’t jump high on his jumper but Reid’s very consistent with his mechanics. I could see him running a lot of pick and pop in the league, and that could work well with Collin Sexton and Matthew Dellavedova on the Cavaliers.

Reid’s also a very physical player, and he’s athletic for a guy his size and is really strong. He routinely gets putbacks, and can get his share of dunks if he improves his timing on cuts after penetration at the next level, which is something he can definitely learn over time.

When I saw him in high school, he played with a lot of emotion. From afar, I think he’s a guy that really amps it up emotionally in close games, and if the Cleveland Cavaliers can harness that, it could pay dividends.

To me, Reid’s ceiling is Jusuf Nurkic with a reliable jump shot. Reid could be a difference-maker one day.

I don’t think he’ll make an All-Star team but he could be a starter.

He also reminds me a little bit of Thomas Bryant.

The worst-case scenario is that he’s Meyers Leonard of the last few years, though.

The weaknesses for Reid aren’t terrible but they aren’t minuscule, either. His rebounding still could be better, given his athleticism and frame (though it’s solid) and his post game is a little raw.

Wasserman pointed out that defense and effort seem to be an issue, which when you watch game-to-game, is accurate when it comes to Reid, which is not ideal, but one would hope Cleveland could get that out of Reid.

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With the right coaching, I think his post game could become more polished over time as well. He also has to get smarter on defense in terms of switching and reading defensive assignments, in particular, when recovering after screen-and-roll hedging.

He has the tools to be a decent shot blocker, and his 1.2 blocks per 40 minutes (per Sports Reference) present a positive sign in that regard.

The one thing I will say is that a lot of his issues can be fixed with good coaching. There isn’t a lot of issues with his skill set.

He has a good jump shot and he moves well for his size. If he’s developed correctly, he can be a steal from the 2019 NBA Draft.

I like his potential in the NBA due to his shooting, as a big man that can shoot is a valuable asset today.

You could argue that Brook Lopez is the Milwaukee Bucks’ second-most valuable player behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, and that’s all because of Lopez’s perimeter shooting opening up the paint for Antetokounmpo and dragging shot blockers away from the rim.

I think Naz Reid could provide the same value.

Next. Cavs' David Nwaba is a team guy, through and through. dark

In the NBA, teams will have him shoot more and he has the chance to be an effective offensive player. If everything goes right he can be a good starter.