The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t have a lot of ammunition in the 2023 NBA Draft, holding just the No. 49 pick after sending their first-rounder to the Indiana Pacers. In the end, they didn’t trade up but stood pat at 49, selecting Emoni Bates out of Eastern Michigan.
The Cavaliers brought Bates and a number of other players to Las Vegas for Summer League, and they have been the best team in Vegas thus far. That hasn’t necessarily been because of standout play from Bates, who has averaged a fine 16 points and six rebounds per game, but done so while shooting only 39.3 percent from the field and dishing only three assists total in four games.
In contrast to Bates, a number of players available at that 49th pick have been balling out in Summer League. Obviously, a few games in Vegas does not wildly change the outlook of a player, but they could be a sign of things to come. Will Cleveland regret their choice when all is said and done?
Will the Cavs regret not drafting Markquis Nowell?
One of the surprise teams in college basketball last season was the Kansas State Wildcats, and they were led by one of the best floor generals in the nation, point guard Markquis Nowell. He famously broke the NCAA Tournament record for most assists in a game, putting up 20 points and 19 dimes,
The problem for Nowell and his NBA future is that he stands just 5’8″ tall. That’s at least two inches shorter than any other player in the league right now. There are very real questions about whether he can survive defensively in the NBA, and they led to him going undrafted.
He has played like he has a 5’8″ chip on his shoulder thus far in Summer League, tied for the league lead in assists per game (6.8) and averaging 12 points and three rebounds as well. He looks like a player who will latch on with the Toronto Raptors this season. The Cavs drafted Emoni Bates in spite of his college tape; should they have looked harder at Nowell because of his?