Regrading the selection of Dylan Windler
When the Cavaliers drafted Belmont wing Dylan Windler with the 26th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, many draft analysts (and the author of this piece) applauded them. Windler had excellent size, a smooth shooting stroke and what seemed to be a surefire path to being a rotation wing, if not more.
Then injuries struck. And struck. And struck. Windler missed his entire rookie season recovering from a stress reaction in his leg. He made his NBA debut in December of 2020 and three days later was on the injury report with a wrist issue that caused him to miss nearly a month. He has battled knee, hip, back, calf and foot injuries that have limited him to just 84 total games in four seasons for the Cavaliers.
Unsurprisingly, a player who has spent most of his time rehabbing hasn’t spent much time improving his game or gaining valuable on-court experience. His 3-point shot has been shaky in the admittedly small sample size of his games played, but it still looks like a weapon. There is still the potential for a good NBA player inside of Windler, but his body might not let it ever come out.
Windler has played (and shot) well in the G League, and whether the Cavs bring him back on a minor deal this summer or, more likely, he signs with another team on a non-guaranteed contract, if he can stay healthy he has a shot. Still, with players like Keldon Johnson, Jordan Poole and Nic Claxton all going within the next five picks, this one just didn’t work out.