Coming into this season, it was going to be difficult to forecast what one might see in Emoni Bates' possible minutes with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With him set to be in his rookie campaign, and being one of three players on a two-way contract with Cleveland, the expectations for Bates wouldn't have appeared to be all that high. He was a late-second round pick, and is still 19 years old.
So far this year, Bates hasn't played much in time with the Cavaliers, as he's been in seven games, and has had splits of 1.7 points per outing, in what's been 7.4 minutes of action in that time. He hasn't really had chances in meaningful play with the Cavs when he's been in there with them.
That said, Bates is a player with tons of potential as a wing scorer, as he demonstrated in Las Vegas Summer League, and in his time with the Cleveland Charge, Bates has assuredly balled out. In seven appearances with the Charge to this point, Bates has led the G League in points per game at 27.0, and has connected on 44.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
Bates is showcasing tons of scoring ability with the Charge, and it's not hard to envision how he could help the Cavs.
Bates has been filling it up with the Charge, where he's been knocking down shots from the perimeter in bunches. As was previously mentioned, he's led the G League Showcase thus far in points per outing, and he's followed up what was a promising Summer League and preseason.
Bates was one of the standouts for the Cavaliers squad in Las Vegas Summer League, when they went their first Summer League title, and Bates' shooting abilities have been on display with the Charge. What's definitely jumped out has been his deep shooting, which could mesh really well in possible time playing off of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, among others, with the Cavaliers.
Bates has canned just shy of 45 percent of his deep ball attempts to this point in the G League Showcase, and while it hasn't been at the NBA level yet, his range, smooth release and volume shooting has been impressive. He's canned a variety of looks from pull-ups and stepbacks, and his catch-and-shoot play could be something that pops if he has opportunities with the Cavs.
Now, in fairness, with Bates, he had underachieved in his collegiate career, which began with a turbulent season at Memphis, and though he fared better in his sophomore year at Eastern Michigan, concerns with things such as shot selection and defense led to his fall in the 2023 NBA Draft.
For a player who was once the Gatorade National Player of the Year, and for the first time in the award's history, as a sophomore at that, it was not exactly the college career one would've expected from him. But in this situation with the Cavaliers, despite his chances with the Wine and Gold having been minimal at this juncture, the promise he's shown with the Charge has been encouraging as a scorer. And his defensive playmaking has been worth noting, even with some lapses there at times.
Granted, Bates' 1.0 assists per contest with the Charge hasn't been great, however, with Sharife Cooper and Isaiah Mobley being key playmakers for them, and the team needing Bates' bucket-getting, one shouldn't read a whole lot into that.
The Charge are 5-6 so far, and have dropped three their last three games, but Bates has made his presence felt for them in a big way in his appearances, and while plenty of others are involved, it's fair to suggest the Cavs should be trying to find him minutes.
He could be quite the energizer for them as a perimeter scorer, rotational creator and off-ball contributor.