Earlier this week, I covered Emoni Bates and his potential as a selection for the Cavs in the second round with their 49th overall pick. This is the only selection that the Cavs have in the 2023 NBA Draft, barring any trade, so this doesn’t appear to be the most noteworthy draft for them.
Let’s think here. If the Cavs did have a second-round pick, what position should they look for? A backup point guard could work, as Ricky Rubio is not getting any younger. Shooting guard? If the Cavs don’t bring back Caris LeVert, then maybe. Small forward? Isaac Okoro could be traded, so that’s a viable option. Power forward? That position looks to be fine. Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens are both viable backup power forwards. Center? That is a good idea, as well.
There’s an old saying in the NBA, “you can never have too many wings.” It’s tough to disagree with that statement. There are so many different kinds of wings. That’s why in this article, we’ll be highlighting Julian Strawther, the 6-foot-7 junior wing out of Gonzaga.
Strawther has the makings of a quality wing shooter for the Cavaliers to target in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Let’s look at his stats for last year. 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Also, he shot splits of 46.9/40.8/77.6, which is great to see.
When Emoni Bates was suggested to be drafted by the Cavs, the main idea was on the upside of Bates. The shot-making potential stands out there with him. However, for Strawther, his selling point is his NBA-ready game.
He’s already 21 years old, and won’t be 22 until next April. Also, his rebounding is great for a wing. He grabbed 1.3 offensive rebounds last year, which decreased this season, but it still shows he’s smart when it comes to positioning himself for the rebound.
Now, let’s look at some cons of his game. Strawther wasn’t a very good playmaker for a guy who was often playing shooting guard. 1.3 assists per game was underwhelming. He had a negative assist-turnover ratio, as well.
However, because of his quality shooting, rebounding, and 6-foot-7 frame, the small forward position is more suited for his game. Also, he isn’t the best defender in the world as a wing. That said, he does have the intangibles to become a solid perimeter defender someday and with the Cavs, he could slot in competently for stretches.
As of now, it looks like Strawther will be a second-round pick. Will he fall to Cleveland? It seems as if he could go early in the second round, similar to Andrew Nembhard last year. Nembhard was drafted 31st overall by the Indiana Pacers. An older prospect coming out of Gonzaga, he wwas drafted for his NBA-ready skills.
As for a player comparison to Julian Strawther, one may go with Josh Hart-lite. He’s a good rebounding wing with a solid jumper. Strawther isn’t the defender that Hart is, but the comparison of Hart still seems sound. Looking at both of their college stats, both shot a bit above 40% from distance and had about six rebounds in their final college season. Hart did have more points, assists, and steals, though.
Julian Strawther is a very talented player, and it looks like he’ll have a successful NBA career. Small forward is definitely a position of need, and Strawther is a tremendous option if he’s available at No. 49 in June. I’d like to wish Strawther the best of luck in the NBA Draft, which is less than a month away.