Constructing ‘Dream’ Cavaliers team if they nailed every NBA Draft

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers and Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers and Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers rookies Kevin Porter Jr., Darius Garland, Dylan Windler. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images /

No. 5 pick in 2019 Draft: Darius Garland, Vanderbilt (5)

Original Pick: Garland

There is nothing to change here. The discussion with Darius Garland in 2019 is not whether he was the best player for the Cavaliers to draft at No. 5, but rather how much higher he should have gone. It took guts for Cleveland to take Garland one year after drafting Sexton, but it was the right move, and Garland was an All-Star a season ago and looks poised to make many more over the course of his career.

No. 26 pick in 2019 Draft: Keldon Johnson, Kentucky (29)

Original Pick: Dylan Windler

Unfortunately, the Cavaliers stumbled with their two late-round picks that year. Dylan Windler looked like a great pick at the time, a playmaking wing with size and a smooth jumper. Injuries completely derailed his career and it’s unclear whether he will stick around in the NBA for much longer.

Here in our “Dream Draft” the Cavs take Keldon Johnson instead, a forward out of Kentucky who has blossomed into a really solid scorer for the San Antonio Spurs. He has good size to play power forward or the skill to fill in minutes at the 3. His shot and defensive consistency are still question marks that will determine his long-term star-level in the league, but he’s a steal with the 26th pick.

No. 30 pick in 2019 Draft: Nic Claxton, Georgia (31)

Original Pick: Kevin Porter Jr.

The Cavaliers properly evaluated the talent of Kevin Porter Jr. to trade back into the first round and take him 30th overall in 2019, but they failed to discern just how much his maturity level would affect his career. The Cavs themselves ended up cutting Porter, and he has been a talented-but-inconsistent player for the Houston Rockets since.

The Cavaliers get a redo here and take Georgia center Nic Claxton, who finished just outside of an All-Defense Team this season. He has the lateral mobility to switch onto the perimeter, but this season has blossomed as a rim protector as well. He would be a low-usage defensive weapon for the Cavs at center.