3 targets for Cavs if they trade up to late first round of 2023 NBA Draft

Colby Jones, Xavier Musketeers. (Photo by Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports)
Colby Jones, Xavier Musketeers. (Photo by Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NBA Draft
Dariq Whitehead, Duke Blue Devils. (Photo by Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports) /

Prospect No. 1: Dariq Whitehead

If Cleveland wanted to swing for the fences with a pick like this, they should look no further than Duke’s Dariq Whitehead. Injuries and inconsistencies really held Whitehead back from what could’ve been a successful season, and he could’ve been a lock to be a lottery pick if he played better and was healthier. However, as of now, he is slotted to go between the second half of the first round to early second round.

Whitehead is a very polarizing player. The potential is there. He only averaged 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game. The 42.1% from the field isn’t pretty, but the 42.9% from deep is really impressive, one of the few bright spots in his lone collegiate season. According to Recruiting Services Consensus Index, Whitehead was the top high school recruit last year.

Why would the Cavaliers select Whitehead? If he’s unpolished right now, why would a contending Cavs team select him? Well, as of now, the small forward position is wide open, Cleveland needs a good small forward. If head coach J.B. Bickerstaff could help Whitehead become a solid perimeter defender, then Whitehead could be one of the biggest steals of the 2023 NBA Draft.

Isaac Okoro is a question mark at the small forward position, and Caris LeVert is more suited as a sixth man (in the event he is back). Sure, Whitehead would definitely not start a lot, if at all next season. Even with that being the case, three-point shooting is what the Cavaliers need, and Whitehead should be a prime candidate if Cleveland lands back in the first round.