Cavs get #3 pick in 2021 NBA Draft lottery, can get difference maker

Jalen Green, G League Ignite. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Jalen Green, G League Ignite. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images /

Heading into the 2021 NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers were set to have the #5 slot after having lost a tiebreaker with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were set to be slotted in at the #4 position.

But with that being the case, it wasn’t likely that Cleveland would actually end up with the #5 pick via the lottery. Leading into Tuesday’s lotto, the highest odds for the Cavs’ selection was for them to pick at 25.5 percent, and then their next highest odds were for #6, of which were 18.2 percent, per Tankathon.

From there though, the Cavs only had a 2.0 percent chance of ending up with the fifth pick, and in terms of a top four selection, Cleveland had a 45.1 percent chance of landing in that range. Of course clearly, Cavaliers fans and the organization were hoping for a pick in that range.

And fortunately, while Cleveland didn’t end up landing #1, they did end up with the #3 pick, and could feasibly have a shot at a possible big-time player in the near future.

The prior two years, the Cavs were tied for having the highest odds of landing the top pick, of which is/was 14.0 percent, again, per Tankathon, and this time, they did have some nice luck.

This wasn’t the ultimate best-case scenario for the Cavs, but they should be able to get a difference maker.

The Cavaliers missed out on the presumptive #1 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft in Cade Cunningham, who is so multi-dimensional and would appear to be the Detroit Pistons’ #1 selection to come. But Cleveland could get potentially Evan Mobley, who looks to be a two-way player, thanks to defensive versatility, a ready-made handle and stretch and playmaking big potential.

From there, the prospects in the running at #3 would appear to be the electric Jalen Green, who had 17.9 points per outing in games with the G League Ignite in the league’s bubble, to go with combo guard Jalen Suggs, and perhaps the uber-athletic Jonathan Kuminga. We’ll have to see how this plays out, though.

Now, for Cleveland, I’d imagine that the likes of Scottie Barnes, Josh Giddey and Davion Mitchell could be in play if they were set to draft lower, and particularly with the first two, both of whom could be intriguing jumbo playmaking reserve guys. Albeit that’d be Barnes in more of a point forward role.

Additionally with a lower selection, perhaps the Cavaliers could entertain the likes of Moses Moody, who has 3-and-D written all over him, or James Bouknight, who could be a bench spark plug scorer, or Corey Kispert, who looks to be a polished catch-and-shoot player.

That said, those players likely don’t have the upside of the perceived top four, although I do think Barnes definitely could and I’m personally not all that high on Suggs.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what route what Cleveland chooses to go with their selection, and particularly if Mobley or Green are both still on the board. Regardless, it’s fair to say that between Mobley and Green especially, in my opinion, both could be key impact players from the jump.

Now, could the 7-foot Mobley end up becoming Cleveland’s long-term starting 5 down the road? He could, but I personally believe he could very well fit in at the 4 with Jarrett Allen, if Allen is set to be locked up long-term, of which he seemingly could be this offseason.

If the Cavaliers potentially sought out a trade for Allen down the road though, I could understand that, objectively.

But either way, if Mobley’s shooting can improve in the near future, and he’s an impact player defensively/as a passer, his skill/touch and handle could make the pairing with Allen very interesting with shooters around the two anyhow.

From there, I do though that I’d probably rather have Green on the Cavs via the 2021 NBA Draft, given his scoring polish, handle, body control and his dynamism both in settled offense and in the open floor.

I do believe that Cleveland should still have Collin Sexton well in the fold though, and that Green should come off the bench more so earlier on and with their scoring abilities/the spacing, Green could eventually take over for Isaac Okoro at the 3.

Now could his potential pick affect a potential Sexton extension situation? Sure, and just in a general sense, Cleveland could reportedly be open to moving its pick, and prior to the lottery, it appeared that could be in regards to just overall, or up or down. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski did also state in a report that Cleveland could be open to moving its pick for a player of All-Star caliber on NBA Countdown, in fairness, to “accelerate their rebuild,” as h/t Sam Amico of Hoops Wire, OutKick and Forty Eight Minutes.

Since they ended up getting the #3 pick though, it would seem they’ll more than likely take their selection there, and this tweet from Chris Fedor of highlights that the Cavs are pumped about this result, and they’re poised to get a difference maker.

Moreover, after some tough luck in recent draft lottos prior, this is a breath of fresh air for Cavs fans.

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They could be poised to get a potential superstar and should cash in in a great draft.