3 youngsters Cavs should consider as developmental NBA Draft picks

Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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With the 2023 NBA Draft just a day away, the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t likely going to find the answer to their starting wing issues this season at the 49th overall pick. Older prospects might be able to provide some depth off the bench in their first year, but they usually have lower ceilings compared to younger players.

In all likelihood, selecting at 49 means the rookie will spend a significant amount of time with the Cleveland Charge, the Cavs’ G League affiliate. Finding a young gem to develop in the G-League can be a perfect way to add young pieces to the core at a low cost. Very few rookies come without flaws, but those available at 49 will need to further develop certain aspects of their game before even getting a chance. Cleveland is reportedly weighing potentially trading up into the late first round, as an aside; for now, though, they don’t have a first-rounder.

With that in mind, here are three young prospects the Cavs should consider for development in the G-League in this year’s NBA Draft, particularly if Cleveland were to ultimately stick at their slot in the second round.

Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan Eagles

Once a five-star high school phenom, Emoni Bates, at just 19 years old, is an incredibly versatile scorer. He can score in a variety of ways, excelling as a pull-up scorer and making contested shots reminiscent of Kevin Durant. His offensive repertoire is deep, allowing him to thrive as a ball handler in pick-and-roll situations. Bates possesses a keen understanding of his offensive game and undoubtedly has the potential to become a proficient isolation scorer and catch-and-shoot player at the next level.

However, Bates does encounter challenges when it comes to separating from defenders and finishing through contact. He tends to favor going right, which limits his effectiveness as a playmaker. Additionally, his offensive style often requires him to have prolonged ball possession, which can disrupt the flow of the offense.

Defensively, Bates has displayed concerning effort both on and off the ball. His lateral speed is not particularly impressive, and when combined with his athletic limitations, it becomes difficult to predict the positions he can effectively guard in the NBA. He has a tendency to lose focus off the ball and was generally a negative defender during his time at Eastern Michigan, and when he was available the previous season at Memphis.

Overall, Emoni Bates is one of the most naturally gifted scorers in this draft. His young age offers hope that he can develop his strength and improve defensively to become a valuable contributor in the league. Considering his potential, Bates is someone the Cavs should definitely consider taking a chance on in the second round.