Koby Altman hits on how Cavs could be in-line for drafting star

USC Trojans big Evan Mobley dunks the ball. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
USC Trojans big Evan Mobley dunks the ball. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

After three years of not having lottery luck, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended up getting some again on Tuesday night, as they received the #3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft lottery.

That leads one to believe that, excluding Cade Cunningham, the presumptive #1 pick to the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland could be in-line for picking a player such as a big with big-time two-way potential in Evan Mobley or a dynamite perimeter scorer in Jalen Green. Some appear to believe all-around guard Jalen Suggs could be in the mix for Cleveland, too.

Fortunately, the point is, the Cavaliers after to be set to pick a prospect that could pan out to be a potential superstar down the road. After the lottery luck, or lack thereof they’ve had, that’s a breath of fresh air for Cavs fans and general manager Koby Altman/the team.

Recently following the Cavaliers’ lottery result from Tuesday, Altman’s comments touched on how Cleveland could be poised for drafting a star and seemingly, a potential franchise player with their upcoming pick.

Here was more on that, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, and as an aside, Fedor did state that the Cavs could potentially look to move that pick for a proven star/keep options open, but it does seem they’d end up just taking that pick.

A star would be a star, though too, and if Brandon Ingram, in particular, were to maybe request a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans down the road, as there’s been some rumblings of late with him/the team’s dynamic, albeit nothing concrete seemingly, that’d be a guy I’d go for.

In any case, here was what I was referring to from Altman, via Fedor.

"“It’s a tremendous opportunity. I think it really positions us well,” Altman said. “When we started this a few years back we talked about building through the draft and creating sustainable success. There’s some real game-changers at the top of this draft, but also it puts us in a position to capitalize on different opportunities. When you look at our young core, we’re in good shape from a talent perspective and we’re going to have another large injection of talent coming soon. At the top of this draft there’s size, there’s athleticism, there’s talent, so we’re really happy.“We’re going to take the night, decompress, get our thoughts in order. The landscape currently in the league, I know this pick is tremendously valuable. If that’s the direction that we want to go with that ammunition, we can certainly get in some conversations. But we really do like this draft.”"

Altman had a further comment, via Fedor, that was particularly telling about how the Cavs could very well land a potential superstar, and if so, they should be able to figure things out from there down the road in relation to their Core Four of Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro and Jarrett Allen.

"“I didn’t think it would be the third pick, but we always knew we were going to add another young talented player in this draft and then go from there,” Altman said. “What we always try to do is create a pathway for success. It won’t be any different with this young man. The difference is these players, this high level, they’re really talented and can play right away. We might have to do some internal adjustment to how we gauge what we wanted to do right out of the gate, but we still want to supplement that four that we talked about. The difference is there could be a game changer where we’re picking.“It’s hard to project anything. You can’t say with 100 percent certainty that someone is going to be an All-Star, but when you go through drafts the first thing you are looking for is that superstar. Then, you’re looking for an All-Star. Is there an All-Star where we’re picking? Then, is there a starter? Why people are so excited about this draft, even beyond the top five, there could be potential All-Stars.”"

The Cavs could be in-line for selecting a star in the 2021 NBA Draft, as Altman’s comments emphasized.

Both Mobley, a 7-footer out of USC with promising playmaking, shooting and defensive potential, and the G League Ignite product in Green, who could very well be a first option scorer for Cleveland, even fairly early on, could be franchise players.

I can’t say, and Altman’s comments noted it, that they’d certainly end up being stars, though. That’s unfair pressure to put on a 20-year-old (Mobley) or 19-year-old (Green); albeit the possibilities are there for both to become those types of guys.

Mobley, who had 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.9 blocks in his lone collegiate season as a Trojan, I’d think could play a decent amount with his guard-like handle/switchability with Allen. Now, we’d have to see if the Cavs would end up possibly matching a restricted free agency offer sheet for him, but it’d seem they still could, as he’s only 23, and would appear to be a part of their young core.

If Cleveland potentially were to just commit more to Mobley at the 5 though, or maybe looked to move Allen down the road/maybe near next deadline, I’d get their reasoning, however. That’s particularly if Mobley shows more positive stretch big signs, for instance.

We’ll have to see on that, but I do firmly believe those two could work well together for stretches, given Mobley’s versatility/skill level/athleticism. Cleveland would need to figure some things out as far as Kevin Love down the road, albeit less minutes for him would seem to play out and/or maybe they could find a potential trade for him, although that’s easier said than done.

In relation to Larry Nance Jr., while he has been a player mentioned in trade rumors, he could still be a quality player to have around in a bench role, and has shown he can play the 3 in spurts.

Anyhow, if Mobley were to be Cleveland’s pick, I’d absolutely understand their reasoning there, and if the shooting develops further, he could be a big-time difference maker/potential player to further build around. He’d fit well with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton too, I’d imagine.

In regards to Green, who had 17.9 points per game in the G League bubble, as the potential selection, while it’s probably not a popular opinion, I’d like to see Cleveland play him in stretches with Garland and Sexton, with how difficult that trio would be to guard.

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In Green’s case, his handle, speed, shot creation abilities, deep shooting signs/potential and his above-the-rim finishing make him seemingly a strong bet to be a go-to scoring option and possible superstar down the road.

I get the defensive concerns with the 6-foot-6 Green currently weighing roughly 180 pounds, though, and likely with that, some could foresee Cleveland looking to trade Sexton with Green shifting to a full-time starting 2 role.

Sam Vecenie of The Athletic (subscription required) foresees a potential Green selection making it logical for the Cavs to listen to offers for Sexton, for example.

But I’d personally rather the Cavaliers keep Collin around, and the trio could still be staggered anyway, and seeing how next season plays out, I’d still like for Cleveland to strongly consider still keeping Sexton around long-term. And factoring in Altman’s comments about supplementing the young core, I’d still think they definitely could.

Although lastly, as Fedor noted/Altman touched on, it’d seem that the Cavs would be open to perhaps trading their pick for a proven star. A potential package for Ingram and salary matching, such as Kira Lewis Jr., I’d understand, if the possibility were to arise.

But potentially involving their pick for this year, Kevin Love (salary matching) and Sexton for the likes of Ben Simmons, for instance, given his lack of shooting/confidence issues as a scorer would be a boneheaded move, from my perspective, as a counter.

Frankly, to me, I wouldn’t love that sort of thing for Bradley Beal (27) and/or maybe an additional future draft pick, either. I don’t know how much that’d raise the ceiling for Cleveland, quite honestly, whereas Ingram is only 23, a budding star wing, and still appears to have more that’s untapped with him.

As we noted, and Fedor seemingly hit on though, I’d be more in favor of Cleveland just selecting potential superstars in Mobley or Green at #3 in the 2021 NBA Draft, and at least try to make things work/address them as they come down the road regarding the young core as needed.

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And based on most of what Altman mentioned above, I’d expect the Cavaliers to make that pick, ultimately.