Emoni Bates 2023 NBA Draft Profile for the Cleveland Cavaliers

Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

In the 2023 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers own the 49th pick from the Golden State Warriors. Last year in the second round, the Cavs selected Khalifa Diop, Isaiah Mobley, and Luke Travers. As of now, Diop is overseas, Mobley is on a two-way contract, and Travers plays overseas.

Chances are, whoever the Cavs select with their second-round pick will play a good portion of the season off in the G-League, and/or on a two-way contract. With the draft about a month away, on June 22, it is a perfect time to look at prospects and see what they could potentially offer if they played in Cleveland.

Emoni Bates could potentially be on the board for the Cavs in the 2023 NBA Draft, and he’s rumored to be on their radar.

Emoni Bates, a 6-foot-9 small forward, is one of the most polarizing players in this draft class. He was a top recruit coming out of high school, eventually reclassified, and is now entering the draft as a sophomore player.

Sure, his counting stats looked solid, averaging 19.2 points. However, his shooting splits were poor, having 40.5/33.0/78.2 splits this season at Eastern Michigan. The previous season, injury issues cut his year short, and he had a very disappointing campaign as a freshman at Memphis, with 9.7 points per contest, and had shooting splits of 44.2/32.9/64.6. He wasn’t able to find a rhythm at Memphis before transferring to Eastern Michigan, where he played this now-past season.

Also, considering he is 6-foot-9, 5.8 rebounds isn’t really popping off of the page in the MAC, regarding the 2022-23 campaign. The 1.4 assists don’t really look amazing, either, nor does him playing as the key cog for an Eastern Michigan team that went just 8-23. Despite those things, the upside is all there, and that’s why the Cavs should possibly look to take him.

The Cavs’ small forward position was really a problem in the regular season and in the playoffs. Isaac Okoro was very hit-or-miss, and Caris LeVert wasn’t much better, being rather inconsistent. Okoro’s lack of perimeter shooting really hurt the Cavs against the New York Knicks in the playoffs, and LeVert’s defense was a bit of a problem.

One thing to note about Emoni Bates are his previous off-court issues. Last September, Bates was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and altering ID marks on a firearm. The criminal conviction was later dismissed and he was inserted into a diversion program, given he didn’t have a record, but if the Cavs were to look into drafting him, they’d have to take some serious consideration into his off-court personality.

Flashing back to a few years ago, when Kevin Porter Jr. was on the Cavs, he had some off-court problems, as well. In 2020, Porter Jr. was arrested for the improper handling of a firearm. Later, he was traded to the Houston Rockets for a second-round pick once he had an issue involving his locker having been moved, leading to him having a blow-up and throwing his food.

Another detail to mention is Bates’ defensive abilities, or rather, concerns there. He has a negative wingspan of 6-foot-7.25, even at 6-foot-9. Also, considering his 179-pound body, it could be worrisome that he could be bullied by bigger players.

There are some similarities between Bates and Michael Porter Jr., though. Both are tall small forwards (Porter being 6-foot-10), not really known for playmaking or defense, but are great scorers. Also, both players have the tendency to take ill-advised shots. Bates could become a decent playmaker some day, but as of now, his selling point is his scoring and realistically, his shot-making potential.

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Bates is a very talented player, and there is a ton to like about his game. Considering the worrisome small forward rotation for the Cavaliers, Bates does look like a viable option at pick No. 49, and he’s reportedly a player that seemingly could be in the running for Cleveland there. The upside is all there as a shot-maker, and I for one, am excited to see what the future holds for Emoni Bates.