Cleveland Cavaliers: 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history

Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland Cavaliers
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here are their 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history.

While the Cleveland Cavaliers have had more than their fair share of luck in 21st century NBA Draft lotteries, this did not prove to be the case in 2019. Despite being tied for having the best odds to win the Zion Williamson lottery sweepstakes, Cleveland fell back to No. 5 overall in this summer’s upcoming draft.

No, it’s not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity for new head coach John Beilein to cultivate a high-end talent with the Cavaliers’ top-five pick. Beilein had been arguably the greatest men’s college coach to have not won an NCAA Tournament while with the Michigan Wolverines and the West Virginia Mountaineers before that.

Even if it wasn’t the result they wanted, the Cavaliers look to be in good shape entering year two of their rebuild. They could look to move power forward Kevin Love in exchange for younger players that Beilein can build around with the likes of Collin Sexton and whomever Cleveland takes at No. 5.

Though typically a top-five pick wouldn’t merit a draft-day steal, the 2019 NBA Draft experiences quite the drop-off from the top-three. Williamson is expected to go No. 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans, with Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett likely going to the Memphis Grizzlies and the New York Knicks, respectively.

After the Knicks’ pick at No. 3, it’s really a crapshoot this summer. What are the chances the Cavaliers land an All-Star caliber player with their pick at No. 5? While Cleveland has had its greatest draft success in winning lotteries, the Cavaliers have been able to mine a handful excellent players in previous drafts.

Without further ado, here are the 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history for the Cavaliers. Could the guy they take at No. 5 this year end up usurping more than a few guys on this all-time list? Only time will tell. So let’s get to it.