No. 3 pick in 2021 Draft: Evan Mobley, USC (3)
Original Pick: Mobley
NBA Drafts are party skill and partly luck, and the Cavaliers were lucky that Evan Mobley fell to their in the 2021 NBA Draft. They were then right for taking Mobley and not letting him fall any further, and he has been a defensive phenom in just two seasons for Cleveland.
Taking Mobley was the right call, and it highlights the biggest reason the Cavs are now in a great position as a franchise: they nailed their top-5 pick in two out of three years. Mobley seems like a lock to win Defensive Player of the Year in his career, and how much his offensive game develops will determine if he is an All-Star or a superstar.
No. 14 pick in 2022 Draft: AJ Griffin, Duke (16)
Original Pick: Ochai Agbaji
Knowing that they needed to find a long-term starter at small forward, the Cavaliers took Kansas wing Ochai Agbaji with the 14th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. He was then a part of the package they sent to the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell, and while he didn’t blow the doors off as a rookie, he looks like a future starter and a reasonable selection in our redraft.
We’ll instead pivot to take a player with even more upside, AJ Griffin out of Duke University. In this redraft scenario the Cavs don’t need to trade for Mitchell, so if they are keeping the pick getting a player who can shoot, defend and has the athleticism to be a weapon in transition and at the rim is the perfect package for their wing rotation.
Walker Kessler was a better player as a rookie, but with Evan Mobley and Nic Claxton already on the team drafting a non-shooting rim protector seems superfluous enough to take Griffin here instead. Loading up on two-way wings is the way to turn a great team into a championship one.