One possible iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers in five years would have Evan Mobley here and Jarrett Allen still at the 5; it’s certainly possible that things play out that way, particularly if Mobley becomes a good shooter. It’s also possible that the Cavs recognize they need a different option than two non-shooting bigs and are able to flip Jarrett Allen for a player who can be a long-term starter.
In this scenario, however, the Cavaliers move on from Allen but find their final starter via the draft. The Cavs have their first-round pick this year, and of the players projected to be available at the end of the first round, Mark Mitchell of the Duke Blue Devils stands out as the kind of player who would fit perfectly if his game comes together.
Mitchell is a 6’9″ defensive monster, capable of weakside rim protection and taking on an opponent’s best perimeter player. He can take the toughest assignment at any position on the court, in our scenario allowing Donovan to slot onto the second option, Bates and Garland then taking the size-appropriate assignment. That defensive versatility helps unlock this offensive juggernaut.
The key for Mitchell will be his shooting; he’s a strong finisher, a good rebounder and a smart cutter. If he can shoot the basketball he will be a longtime starter in the NBA, and his 35.2 percent from deep as a freshman (76.3 percent from the line) is good enough to project improvement. In our dream scenario the Cavaliers don’t have to rely on free agency to find their final piece, but instead draft Mitchell and see him develop into a player at the level of a Jerami Grant or OG Anunoby.