The top 3 prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft for the Cavs

NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks during the 2019 NBA Draft. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks during the 2019 NBA Draft. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images /

Cleveland Cavaliers #1 2022 draft target: Emoni Bates, Forward

Who else could it be? Emoni Bates of Lincoln High in Ypsilanti, Michigan is an easy no-brainer for the 2022 NBA Draft’s top prospect for the Cavaliers, or anybody for that matter, and regardless of class. Bates is as easy as a number one pick as it gets.

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Bates is probably the kind of prospect that comes around every 15 years and is arguably the best high school prospect since LeBron James. That might sound like unbelievable praise, but Bates is that good.

Bates is still growing into his frame, but he’s currently listed at 6-foot-8 and 200 pounds, according to 247 Sports. What jumps out, though, is how he can handle the ball and distribute to teammates like a guard. The guy can also get to the hole at will and finish at an elite level.

He can score at all three levels, and while I don’t usually like comparing young guys to NBA legends, it’s not a mistake with Bates’ greatness. Bates is in the mold of a young Kevin Durant with his size, length, guard-like abilities, and score anywhere on the court and shoot over anyone.

Bates was also the only sophomore to ever win the National Gatorade Player of the Year, as he did this past season, as h/t the Detroit Free Press‘ Omari Sankofa II. Bates averaged 33.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game. LeBron in my opinion is the best high school player ever, but as great as he was, not even James won that award as a sophomore.

Thanks to his offensive prowess, Bates’ ability on defense is underrated. Aside from that, maybe what is so impressive about Bates is his mentality and drive.

Moreover, if the one-and-done rule doesn’t end, Bates would likely reclassify. He spends a bunch of time in East Lansing and per college basketball recruiting news Twitter account Tipton Edits, even calls Michigan State his “dream school.”

Plus, with talks reportedly stalling to end the one-and-done rule, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony (as h/t CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger) and with Bates being so close with Michigan State, a reclassification is all the more likely it appears.

The Cavs’ rebuild could/should be further along by the time 2022 rolls around, and even with the newer lottery rules, with the strength of the 2021 draft at the top and the development of the young guys such as Garland and Sexton, the Wine and Gold could be a team on the cusp but just near a year away.

They could be a 34 or so-win team or be late in the season and rest key players like the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans did last year to get closer to the middle and eventually jump up, because of the new lottery odds allowing for that to maybe happen.

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Anyhow, next offseason you’ll see the numerous teams dreaming and envisioning the summer of Giannis Antetokoumpo, but for the Cleveland Cavaliers they’ll be dreaming and envisioning the summer of Bates in 2022.