Currently slotted to pick in the second round, 49th overall, finding contributors at this stage in the NBA Draft is what sets the best organizations apart. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’d pay dividends for them to do so at that aforementioned draft slot.
Just this past season, second-round pick Jaylin Williams started 36 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder and demonstrated his ability to provide valuable minutes from year one. While it is more unlikely for a team like the Cavaliers with high aspirations, it is not impossible. One of the prospects the Cavs should keep a close eye on is Ben Sheppard from Belmont University.
After three seasons with the Bruins, Sheppard concluded the past season with an average of just under 19 points per game. He shot over 40% from beyond the arc, attempting six per game. He’s an elite marksman with a guard’s background who can defend his position well.
The top priority this offseason is to acquire a quality wing who excels in both defending and shooting at a high level. Therefore, it is logical to search for a hidden gem who fits that role at pick 49. Most likely, whoever is selected will be offered a two-way contract and considered a long-term project.
The Sheppard hype is rising.
In an article from Sports Illustrated by Jordan Monaco, he discussed the rapidly-increasing interest in Sheppard. While he seemed like a guaranteed second-round pick for a considerable period, recent speculation has emerged about him potentially rising into the first round.
Sheppard is already an exceptional all-around shooter, displaying remarkable proficiency in various perimeter shooting roles. Standing at 6’6″ with an impressive wingspan and vertical leap, he bears striking physical similarities to players like Josh Hart, who is widely regarded as one of the premier role players in the league.
His selection as an All-Conference Defense player in 2023, coupled with two consecutive All-Conference First Team selections, reflects the respect Sheppard has garnered from opposing coaches. He is known for effectively guarding the opposing team’s top scorer at a high level, which has contributed to his ascent on draft boards.