Jalen Smith would be great draft selection for Cavs in potential Kevin Porter-type trade scenario

Maryland Terrapins big Jalen Smith (#25) blocks a shot. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Maryland Terrapins big Jalen Smith (#25) blocks a shot. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The 2020 NBA Draft is just about a month and a half away at the moment and looking at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ draft position, they have a great chance at coming away with an impactful player then.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently slated at the number 5 overall pick and looking at the options here, the Cavaliers could look to add a defensive-minded wing in players such as Isaac Okoro or Devin Vassell, an oversized guard in Killian Hayes or Tyrese Haliburton, or a big man oozing with potential in Onyeka Okongwu.

Whatever the Cavaliers look to do with the fifth overall pick will become clearer as we get closer to the draft but, what they decide to do after their fifth overall pick is an interesting topic that not many people have been discussing.

Last season, after using their fifth and 26th overall picks, the Cavs decided to trade back into the end of the first and acquire the draft rights to Kevin Porter Jr., a move that Cavs fans will remember for years to come.

This draft is said to be very bottom-heavy, as there looks to be great talent all throughout the first and second rounds. Seeing as the Cavaliers are pressed for talent, another late first-round pick trade is something that I do envision the Cavaliers doing.

Looking at some trade pieces the Cavaliers have, they could look to move multiple second-round picks that they have acquired from trades throughout the years and cash, similar to the package they used to acquire Porter Jr.’s draft rights. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert would seem to be more than willing to spend additional cash for the front office to be on the hunt for another pick via trade involving that as well.

Granted, not nearly four second-rounders, but perhaps two or three could be feasible along with cash, and a team such as the Boston Celtics, who have three first-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, and perhaps at number 26, could be willing to do so.

Depending on how the draft goes, a player who the Cleveland Cavaliers could target with a late first-round pick is Maryland’s Jalen Smith.

Smith’s a prospect KJG’s Dan Gilinsky hit on previously. Here, with how the draft order is set and us having some more clarity regarding a potential trade partner in Boston/positioning, though, we’ll further highlight Smith as a Porter-like scenario trade target.

Jalen Smith is a 6-foot-10, 225-pound big man and he made massive strides to his game during his sophomore season.

In 31 games played, Smith put up 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, shooting 53.8 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from three-point land, and 75.0 percent from the free throw line. Looking at his statistics, the biggest thing that stands out is his rim protection.

Smith is lengthy with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and it was seen a ton during his time at Maryland. His 2.4 blocks per game ranked second in the Big Ten in 2019-20, behind Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu. He also boasted a block percentage of 8.2.

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Looking at Smith’s Synergy Sports stats, opponents shot 36.0 percent against him in post-up situations and 29.4 percent in pick-and-roll roll man situations, ranking in the 78th and 69th percentiles respectively, as h/t The Stepien’s Spencer Pearlman.

On the offensive end, Smith has a skill set that the Cavaliers could desperately use. Judging by stats, Smith seems to be at his best as a rim-runner/putback specialist.

Again, looking at his Synergy stats, in transition, Smith ranked in the 99th percentile, shooting 82.8 percent and averaging 1.649 points per possession.

On putbacks, Smith ranked in the 94th percentile, shooting 72.2 percent and averaging 1.423 points per possession (Synergy stats were again h/t Pearlman).

These numbers should make Darius Garland very happy as the Cleveland Cavaliers look to get him a rim-runner/lob threat for the foreseeable future, in this case, feasibly by way of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Lastly, Smith offers floor-spacing at the power forward/center position, which is very essential in this new age of basketball. In his sophomore season, Smith shot 36.8 percent from beyond the arc on 2.8 attempts per game.

For a team that could look to run more isolation plays, having someone who can pull the center out of the paint would be detrimental to the effectiveness of them and Smith could do so in some stretches alongside Kevin Love.

Smith comes with his flaws however, and one of the biggest ones looks to be his strength. Coming in at only 225 pounds, Smith will struggle against top bigs in the league but, with professional trainers, he should be able to add weight over time, which will improve his defensive play against bigs.

Jalen Smith has a skill set that is rare to find in the NBA. Seeing as many sites see him going anywhere between the mid-late first round, Smith could end up being the steal of the draft and If the Cavaliers are able to draft him, he will make a nice young core even better.

Next. 3 realistic options at #5 in the 2020 draft for the Cavs. dark

Look out for Smith as a KPJ trade-type target for the Wine and Gold in the 2020 NBA Draft in the late first-round, Cavs fans.