Summer League Standout No. 4: Emoni Bates
Emoni Bates has the biggest name in this group because he was once considered the next LeBron James when he was coming out of middle school. Many of you know the backstory, but he played a year over at Memphis and then transferred and played last year and Eastern Michigan. He was drafted in the second round and has a lot of work to put in before he earns a roster spot with the Cavs. He will likely get that final two-way contract with the team, playing between the Cavs and the Charge.
However, he’s had a very good first three games this summer league and folks are taking notice. Is it enough to give him a spot on the Wine and Gold squad exclusively?
It’s exciting to see a player do well, especially in this summer league but keeping expectations to a minimum should be the norm for most of these players when you are watching these professional AAU tourney games where it’s mostly about trying to give the fans a show with the teams’ offenses.
They’re not focusing on things like defense and that’s an area that Bates has lacked in the past and most likely one reason why he was taken in the second round of the NBA Draft,
We will have to see how he transitions to training camp, and if he puts forth any more effort to earn one of those final Cavs roster spots.
In the meantime, his performances in these first three summer league games have been impressive. In the first game against the Nets, Bates went for 16 points and had six boards. In Game 2 against the Raptors. He tallied 12 points, had eight boards, and blocked a shot. He saved his best game for the Grizzlies this past Monday when he scored 21 points, had two blocks, two steals, and knocked down five three-pointers.
I wrote an article recently about which path would Bates follow and whether he would be successful in the NBA. Right now he’s looking the part of a success story and that’s good for Bates and the Cavs’ future.