2022 NBA Draft Big Board: Ranking Cavs top 14 prospects

E.J. Liddell, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)
E.J. Liddell, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) /
2 of 5

Cavs’ NBA Draft Big Board: Top 5

1. Jabari Smith, Forward, Auburn
2. Paolo Banchero, Forward, Duke
3. Chet Holmgren, Center, Gonzaga

Generally, teams shouldn’t draft for need at the very top of the draft but instead should just take the best player available. The exception is when a team has a no-doubt star at a position and the two players couldn’t possibly coexist. That comes into play here, where the talent of these three bigs still elevates them to the top, but the players who could more easily play alongside another big (or two, knowing the Cavs) rise about Chet Holmgren.

Jabari Smith could presumably be a better version of what Lauri Markkanen brought last season, a stretch-big with the size to switch easily with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. Paolo Banchero would give them secondary shot creation and passing playing off of Darius Garland. Holmgren would be a tough sell to survive next to both Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, but his upside is so high the Cavs would try to figure it out.

4. Jaden Ivey, Guard, Purdue
5. Dyson Daniels, Guard, G-League Ignite

Jaden Ivey deserves the fourth slot for any team except perhaps the Golden State Warriors, as his shot creation and athleticism leaps off the page and would be a shot in the arm for any offense. He has enough size at 6’4″ to conceivably play alongside Garland. If Jabari Smith is the better Markkanen, then Ivey is the better Collin Sexton.

Dyson Daniels comes next as perhaps a perfect fit next to Garland in the backcourt. He is 6’6″ with a super long wingspan but still possesses the lateral quickness to defend both guard positions. He could be Garland’s backup and still start at the 2, and his playmaking would be a welcome boon to their offense.