The Cleveland Cavaliers made some news last week at the 2023 NBA Draft when they picked Emoni Bates out of Eastern Michigan with the No. 49 selection. The former high school phenom was considered, at one point, a future lottery pick but that never happened. Bates went on to play at Memphis for his first year in college but struggled there and then transferred to Eastern Michigan which was close to where he grew up in high school.
He’s also had some issues off the court and the assessment by numerous reporters and outlets suggest that he’s got a lot of baggage to unpack. So the No. 49 selection overall by the Cavs is more of a high reward and low-risk pick. Bates reportedly could be playing next season on a two-way deal, however, if he can benefit from developmental time with the Cleveland Charge, he could definitely make an impact with the Cavaliers.
Of course, it’d be looking more down the road, but if it works out for both Bates and Cleveland then we’re all celebrating the move later on when the Cavs have won another NBA Championship, hopefully.
This is one of those “boom” or “bust” picks. The Cavs have had plenty of these types of picks in the past. As for busts, who can forget the former No. 1 pick of the Cavs, Anthony Bennett in 2013. When the pick was announced it shocked Cavs Nation because he was a relative unknown. The player ended up being a flop as he was awful and eventually was traded away the following summer when LeBron James returned to Cleveland.
As for successful second-round picks, in recent Cleveland draft history, players like Carlos Boozer come to mind. So this pick of Bates could be one of that ilk.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper and look at another past Cavaliers bust that has had some similar traits as Bates but also look at a boom of a pick.