Will the Cavs regret not drafting Jalen Wilson?
Staying in the Big 12, forward Jalen Wilson is another player the Cavaliers may regret not drafting. One year after taking his teammate Ochai Agbaji in the first round, the Cavs could have gone back to the Kansas well in taking Wilson. Instead, they took Bates and Wilson went two picks later to the Brooklyn Nets.
The 6’8″ Wilson played four seasons at Kansas before declaring for the NBA Draft this year, building out his skillset and becoming a player prepared for the modern NBA. He improved as a shooter and as a passer, and he filled a number of roles for the Jayhawks this season.
He looks to have translated much of that skill to the NBA, at least if his Summer League play holds up. He is averaging 16.5 points, seven rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. Add in 2.2 combined steals and blocks per game, and you have a rookie exerting a well-rounded impact on the game.
The Cavs are in dire need of forwards, and Wilson could have entered into a conversation for the small forward rotation as early as this season; it will be a shock if Bates sees any meaningful minutes this season at all, if ever. Wilson is older than Bates and without the high school pedigree, but his versatile game would likely be a better fit on the Cavs or any team.