2 realistic expectations for Emoni Bates’ rookie year with Cavs

Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images /
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With just one selection in Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers came away with Emoni Bates from Eastern Michigan at 49th overall. Standing at around 6’9″ tall, Bates is a complete flamethrower with truly unbelievable shot-making ability. He excels at shooting off the dribble, whether it be a pull-up, stepback, or side-step shot. Bates possesses great range and has shown the ability to knock down shots off the catch-and-shoot.

Why was Emoni Bates a 2nd round pick?

Why did Emoni Bates fall to 49th despite having the shot-making ability of a lottery pick? First, the style of offense played during his year with Eastern Michigan in no way resembles what his role will be like in an NBA offense. Bates would often dribble for the majority of the shot clock and attempt a variety of moves that resulted in tough jumpers (which he often made). However, within the Cavs’ offense, Bates will not have the freedom to dribble for the entire shot clock, and he will need to adapt his game to contribute effectively.

Another significant reason for his slide to 49th overall is his defense. While Bates possesses great height, his wingspan doesn’t match it, and his athletic ability isn’t sufficient to compensate. He lacks speed on the perimeter to defend NBA guards and lacks the strength to guard larger wings. Furthermore, there were instances where his effort seemed lacking, and he appeared disinterested.

Fortunately for Bates, he will turn 20 in January and has ample time to develop into a quality NBA player. Whether through playing in the G-League or practicing with the team daily, gaining professional experience can greatly shape who Emoni Bates becomes in the NBA. While it’s unlikely that Bates will win Rookie of the Year, here are two realistic expectations for his rookie season.