With the 2023 NBA Draft drawing nearer and nearer, prospects are rising and falling. Last year, Jalen Williams was not projected to be a first-round pick, let alone a lottery selection. Despite that, he was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 12th overall pick, and the selection turned out to be a good pick. He was second in the Rookie of the Year voting, showing that he was a great rookie, and has a bright future ahead in this league.
However, the Cavs do not have a first-round pick in the upcoming draft to be able to select any top-tier prospect. Their second-round pick is near the end, at 49th overall. Chances are, whoever they draft will not be able to contribute right away. The prospect that is drafted, regardless of age, could feasibly be on a two-way contract and play a good chunk of their season in the G-League.
With those caveats, here, we’ll take a closer look at 2023 NBA Draft prospect Brandin Podziemski, who could be a developmental shooter for the Cavs to target.
Brandin Podziemski, the 20-year-old shooting guard from Santa Clara, averaged 19.9 points, 8.8 points, and 3.7 assists in this past season. He also had shooting splits of 48.3/43.8/77.1, showing off his elite shooting. Something important to mention is that he won WCC Player of the Year, which is definitely not something to not notice.
The prior season, he played for Illinois, and only played in 16 games, playing 4.3 minutes per game. Because of his limited minutes, he transferred to Santa Clara, where he became an amazing player.
Why would the Cavs select Podziemski? Well, if Caris LeVert leaves in free agency, which is totally possible, the Cavs would need a backup shooting guard. Even if LeVert re-signs, the Cavs could always trade him for another player eventually. Podziemski is a quality shooting guard prospect, so there’s no reason to not select him.
Let’s look at his skills. He’s a good scorer, that’s a given. He’s a great rebounder for his size, which is an encouraging sign, too. He also got 1.8 offensive rebounds per night, getting those extra possessions. He is a knockdown shooter, which the Cavaliers definitely need on their team, ranking 12th last season in 3-point percentage at 43.8% among qualified players.
Now, here are his negatives. He doesn’t really have the highest ceiling in the world out of anyone in this draft. Could be an All-Star? Maybe, but to be honest, one shouldn’t count on it. Also, he’s not the best defender in the world. Sure, he averaged 1.8 steals per game in Santa Clara, but he’s not the greatest on-ball defender.
Now, here’s my player comparison for Brandin Podziemski. Personally, I think his game reminds me of a better Will Barton. He’s a good scorer, rebounder, facilitator, shooter, and I think his game resembles a bit of Will Barton, if Will Barton was a better scorer. Podziemski will not likely be a better player than Barton ever was, though.
All in all, Brandin Podziemski is a tremendous prospect when it comes to the 2023 NBA Draft. Will he be drafted by Cleveland? It’s too early to tell, but it’d be awesome to see Podziemski in Cleveland next season.