Rookie life in the NBA can be hard.
Emoni Bates is learning a lot about the Pro Basketball life lately. The Eastern Michigan man was selected in the 2nd Round and was heralded as one of the steals of the draft. Bates is currently on a 2-way contact, which means he splits time with the NBA roster and the G League Affiliate Cleveland Charge. And when he is playing with the Charge he is lighting it up.
Emoni Bates is Charged up
Bates started the season with the Cavs, but since he was not getting much time they opted to have him play with the Cleveland Charge in early November. On November 10th against the Bucks' G League affiliate the Wisconsin Herd, Emoni shot an efficient 10-of-16 from the field and 7-of-12 from 3-point range. He totaled 29 points that night to carry the Charge to a 116-109 victory. Coach Bickerstaff noticed that performance and he was subsequently called up back to the big leagues.
Unfortunately, history repeats itself, as Bates was not able to get much playing time with the Cavs. Again, the Cavs optioned Bates back to the G League and on November 24th, he exploded once again. This time, Emoni did a little bit of everything, 29 points with 4 blocks, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. Bates seemed to thrive the most when he was the primary ball handler initiating the offense. The one area of concern that is important at the NBA level is shooting efficiency. Emoni shot 8-for-21 but had a good night shooting 3-pointers (5-for-9). If Emoni can improve in this area, he will get more chances with the Cavs.
The most recent game Emoni Bates played with the Charge was less than stellar. He went 7-for-18 shooting with 3-for-11 shooting from 3-point range. Bates finished with 17 points, with six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Again, the efficiency is something to work on.
A major difference between playing with the Charge and playing with the Cavaliers is that when Bates is called up again, he is not going to have the offense run through him. Emoni will have to learn to play off the ball with the likes of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland initiating the offense.
Bates has shown a skill set that likens him to Brandon Ingram. And like Ingram, it might take 2 or 3 seasons to hit full stride. Based on what I’ve seen, Emoni has the talent and in time, I feel he will earn big NBA minutes.