Emoni Bates’ outlook
Emoni Bates fell to the Cavaliers in the 2023 NBA Draft, with them selecting him 49th overall in the second round. After a collegiate career that did not go as planned, Bates was available for Cleveland as a prospect that is going to take some fine-tuning before he can be a rotational contributor.
Bates did have a much more productive sophomore season in the 2022-23 collegiate campaign, after he transferred to Eastern Michigan, and had 19.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. He fared better then as opposed to his freshman year at Memphis, after he reclassified to graduate high school early; Bates had 9.7 points per contest then, and was active in only 18 games because of injury.
Inconsistencies in college aside, Bates is a gifted shot creator on the wing, and if given the opportunities, he has the potential to be a quality off-ball scorer, even early on, for the Cavaliers. He averaged 17.2 points and connected on 40.0 percent of his Summer League deep ball attempts, and if he can fill out more over the course of the year, that could help his case, provided he gradually gets stronger and is bought in defensively with the Charge.
All of that said, Bates is really thin, and defensively against NBA players, could have a ton of trouble matchup-wise. So with in mind, and his shot selection still being a concern, it’s probably going to take some time before he has regular chances with the Cavs.
Maybe there’s several encouraging flashes early on from him, but realistically, he might be on the outside looking in rotationally as it pertains to the Cavaliers in his rookie year. Perhaps a standard deal comes for him at some point, with his offensive abilities.
But for now, it’s difficult to project him getting a bunch of meaningful time with the Cavaliers in his first year; he has to develop physically and mentally, and the expectations should not be high for him.