Should the Cleveland Cavaliers give Luke Travers a standard contract?

Luke Travers, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
Luke Travers, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the 56th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Luke Travers, the 6-foot-7 wing from Australia. The Cavaliers did their homework, and really liked what they saw out of Travers.

Luke Travers is a 21-year-old wing, and a talented player who plays overseas in Australia with the Perth Wildcats of the NBL. As of now, he is playing for the Cavs’ Summer League roster. Travers has played in three games in that time, and has averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. In a recent game against the Toronto Raptors, he had four blocks, which is phenomenal for a wing.

His stats don’t necessarily pop. However, one should cut him some slack; he’s probably still getting a bit adjusted to the pace of the NBA, even with this being the Summer League currently. Looking at his stats last season, he averaged 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per-36 minutes. Also, he shot 50.0 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from distance, and 74.1 percent from the free throw line. Travers’ playmaking is impressive, and his defensive versatility is one of his better attributes.

Additionally, Travers has a really nice feel for the game, and is a heady off-ball player. Having a player like Travers on the team could be valuable, as he seems to always know where to position himself on offense to better help himself and his team.

It wouldn’t be that surprising if Cleveland gave Travers an Exhibit-10 deal eventually, which could lead to his deal being converted to a two-way contract prior to the regular season. If he were to be waived, he could still play with Cleveland’s G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge potentially. However, if Travers really is able to play well in the Summer League, he could be a prime candidate to get a roster spot for the Cavaliers.

Should the Cavaliers give Travers a standard deal?

In the Summer League, Luke Travers is a bench player. Both forward spots are manned by two-way players for the Cavaliers, in Emoni Bates and Isaiah Mobley. However, even in his role off of the bench, he is the primary sixth man. His energy off of the bench is contagious, and his efforts were a key reason for the Cavs blowing out the Raptors by 23 points on Sunday night.

Why would Cleveland want to sign Travers? The Cavaliers ranked 19th in assists per game for a team. Travers’ playmaking abilities could help Cleveland, especially considering their lack of playmaking from the small forward position. Caris LeVert is a good playmaker, but he’s primarily a shooting guard, and the same goes for Max Strus.

Players like Dean Wade, Isaac Okoro, and Emoni Bates aren’t known as impactful passers, but as for Travers, he could give a much needed secondary ball-handler role for the team, and is a great passer for his size.

Also, while there’s still questions about his shooting, Travers did demonstrate improvement from deep last season with Perth, hitting 40.5 percent of his three-point attempts. The Cavaliers ranked 12th in the league in three-point percentage, a stat they’d like to be better in. 36.7 percent isn’t a bad percentage, but if Cleveland wants to be a deadly playoff team, that number should be a tad bit higher. Also, the Cavs ranked 24th in the whole league in three-pointers attempted, at only 31.6 attempted per night.

Now, Travers didn’t have a ton of deep attempts last season, at 2.9 in 24.6 minutes per game. He could maybe be a viable off-ball shooter from three in minutes with the Cavs, though, or at least be an off-ball, energy contributor in some stretches.

Travers is also a solid defender, as well, as was previously mentioned. He only averaged 1.4 fouls per-36 minutes, which is really impressive. His Summer League teammate, Khalifa Diop, isn’t a good player when it comes to limiting his fouls. Diop was drafted almost 20 spots ahead of Travers, but Travers is a more impactful and better player than Diop right now, and Travers probably has more potential, too.

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All in all, Luke Travers is a really talented player, and could warrant himself a standard NBA contract soon. His playmaking, defensive hustle, and off-ball feel could help him be in the league for a while, and if he can become a great player, then the Cavaliers will reap the benefits. They should consider signing him to a standard deal.