NBA Draft Watch: Cavaliers land Aussie sharpshooter in latest Bleacher Report edition

Gonzaga v Kansas
Gonzaga v Kansas / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

This year, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have full control of their first-round draft pick for the last time this decade, making their selection uniquely important.

The 2024 NBA draft class is not turning scouts' heads, but contending teams will look for prospects with skillsets ready to impact winning immediately. In the 2023 NBA Finals, the Denver Nuggets found steady production from then-rookie Christian Braun, and the Miami Heat this season have inserted rookie Jaime Jaquez, Jr. into their starting lineup already. This summer, the Cavaliers should take advantage of the vast talent entering the league every year and find another reliable contributor for their current and future plans.

As Cleveland continually builds towards contention, they will likely look to find extra boosts from younger, cheaper players in order to navigate the NBA's financial restrictions in the newest CBA. With both Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell on max deals and Evan Mobley's rookie extension approaching, cheap rookie players with instant impact will become increasingly valuable.

The Cavaliers discovered the steal of the (un)draft this offseason, signing Craig Porter, Jr. to a two-way deal after draft night. Eventually, Porter's impressive poise and determined playstyle led to the two parties agreeing on a multi-year standard contract. While Porter is not in the rotation every night, Cleveland has fully embraced trusting in young but proven talent. This draft cycle, the Cavs should look to recreate this magic with their first-round pick.

Australian flamethrower lands in Cleveland in latest mock draft

In their latest mock draft, Bleacher Report suggested that Cleveland select Australian strech forward Johnny Furphy of the Kansas Jayhawks. The 19-year-old freshman has made his mark on the Jayhawks with his confident shooting and solid 6-foot 9-inches frame. Furphy is averaging nine points and knocking down 35.2 percent of his three-pointers. In March Madness, Furphy has displayed his shooting and ability to make plays on drives and in transition. He is not a jaw-dropping standout, but his overall body of work has made him an intriguing prospect for this year's draft.

Bleacher Report's pro comparison for Furphy is Brooklyn Nets shooter Cam Johnson. If Furphy can offer anything near Johnson's production from deep in his rookie season, the Cavaliers would be overjoyed with this selection. Cleveland can never turn down extra help on the perimeter, especially in their frontcourt.

With Kansas' run in the NCAA tournament over at the hands of Gonzaga, Furphy will have time to decide whether he would like to return to the Jayhawks for his sophomore year or enter the NBA. While his shooting and scoring highlighted his talent this season, Furphy is still a relatively raw prospect. Sports Illustrated noted that Furhpy's best area for growth is adding weight and muscle to his slender frame to become a better rebounder and defender. Furphy has all the talent and the build to become a lottery pick, but his current drawbacks have ranked him outside of the top 20 right now.

Considering Furphy's need for continued development, the best landing spot for him this June would be a team with the timeline to develop him and help him grow into the rotation. The Cavaliers might look in another direction, searching for a rookie who can produce on a nightly basis and impact winning out the gates.

Still, the Cavs have had success with developing talent with the Cleveland Charge in the G-League. Both Dean Wade and Sam Merrill spent time with the Charge before joining the main roster, and the Cavs' latest draft selection Emoni Bates has been scorching the G-League in his rookie campaign. The Cavaliers' interest in Furphy would depend on their opportunity to be patient with their selection.

As the playoffs approach, the Cleveland Cavaliers are focused on testing their current lineup before making any definitive choices on their draft night intentions. If Johnny Furphy is still on the board when the Cavs are up, his sharpshooting and size may very well bring him to Cleveland to begin his NBA journey.

March Madness star may be the draft night steal for Cavaliers. March Madness star may be the draft night steal for Cavaliers. dark. Next