Cleveland Cavaliers: 5 Shooting Guards the Cavs Should Target in Draft
The only position that the Cleveland Cavaliers truly have set in stone for the future is at point guard with the sensational former No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving leading the way.
But Irving could desperately use a good, young backcourt mate to grow next to for years to come. And with four selections in the draft on June 28, the team will have a golden opportunity to find him one.
So let's examine five shooting guards that the Cavs should be targeting.
Beal is quite clearly the top 2-guard prospect this draft has to offer and the Cavs could be in a position to take him with the fourth pick if he drops to them.
The St. Louis native averaged 14.6 points and 6.5 boards per contest in his freshman campaign with the Florida Gators.
More impressively was how he gradually took upon a leadership role on the team and played his best basketball at the end of the year, including a 21-point performance on 8-of-10 from the floor in a Sweet 16 victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles.
Although he was uncharacteristically cold for much of the season—shooting just 33.9 percent from deep on the season—professional talent evaluators believe he will find his stroke at the next level, given his flawless form and endless dedication to the game.
Plus, playing next to a floor general of Irving's caliber should help free him up for open looks.
Beal is also a strong athlete with good potential on the defensive end and is an excellent rebounder for his position. Off the court, he has a high character and is very well-grounded.
But just how good can he become?
"He has star potential," one scout told Sam Amick of SI.com. "Nothing you can really dislike about the kid or the player."
Ross is a player who is projected to go somewhere in-between the Cavs two first-round draft picks—likely in the 15-to-20 range.
But he could be well worth acquiring another pick for. According to Joe Kotoch of ProBasketballDraft.com, the team has been in contact with the Hornets (10th), Blazers (11th) and Rockets (14th and 16th) about what it would take to get a deal done.
The Washington product averaged 16.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in his sophomore year for the Huskies. He was eventually named to the Pacific-12's First-Team All-Conference.
Ross is capable of playing shooting guard or small forward at the next level, but is a better mismatch at the two given his 6'7" height. He is a fluid athlete with great speed and quickness, both of which help him get after his opponent defensively.
The swingman is also a very good shooter, particularly in catch-and-shoot situations and should feed beautifully off Irving's penetration.
His weaknesses are his poor ball-handling skills, skinny frame and lack of aggression in attacking the basket—as he only attempted 2.7 free throws per game in his 31.1 minutes of action. These attributes may prevent him from being a star at the next level, though he should be a safe bet to become a very solid role player.
Though he was nowhere near as highly touted entering college as his high school teammate and eventual Kentucky Wildcat Terrence Jones, I believe Ross will end up having the better professional career of the two.
Ross's Washington teammate Tony Wroten will likely be available for the Cavs at No. 24.
Wroten averaged 16 points, five boards and nearly four assists on a respectable 44.3 percent shooting from the floor. These are excellent numbers for a freshman, but his horrendous 3.8 turnovers per contest scares scouts at the next level.
Selecting him would be a home run swing from the team, as he has a higher ceiling than most of the potential lottery picks in this class, though he comes with more risks than them too.
Let's start with the positives.
The First-Team All-Pacific-12 performer has an NBA body and a great skill set that has drawn him comparisons to Tyreke Evans. His perfect height of 6'6" and strong frame make him more than capable of playing on the wing, while his quickness and ball-handling ability will allow him to get some time backing up Irving at the point.
He is also extremely aggressive on both ends of the court. He is at his best when attacking the basket in isolation sets or off pick-and-rolls and got to the line an incredible 7.5 times per game.
Defensively, Wroten has very quick hands and is not afraid to take gambles. Though this mentality got him burnt at times, it also helped him average an impressive 1.9 steals.
Now to the red flags.
Wroten is a system player who needs the ball in his hands to have success. He is a terrible jump shooter—as can be seen from his 16.1 three-point percentage and 58.3 percent from the line—who will not be able to feed off Irving's penetration as well as a Beal or Harrison Barnes could.
He can also get very sloppy at times. While he is a very good passer in general, he is extremely turnover prone, as previously alluded to.
The combo guard also has a tendency to revert back to his left hand. According to DraftExpress.com:
While Wroten starts a good deal of his drives heading right, he does so predominantly to set up opportunities to go back left. On the occasions he does go all the way to the basket with his right hand, he invariably attempts to finish with his left, usually with poor results. In isolations charted by Synergy Sports Technology this season, Wroten is scoring a very strong 0.98 points per possession on drives going left compared to just 0.66 going right.
This is a major flaw for him going forward, as teams will overplay him and force him right every time.
Regardless, the reward of taking him at this stage in the draft far outweighs the risk.
Unless you closely follow the draft or international basketball, you likely have no idea who Evan Fournier is.
And don't worry, you certainly aren't alone. Many general managers likely don't know too much about him either.
But the French sensation can ball and would have potentially been a lottery selection if he was given the same exposure that most big-name prospects receive. Instead, his range is somewhere between picks 22 and 30.
In his second year playing professionally for the Poitiers Basket 86, Fournier led his team in scoring, putting up a respectable 14.0 points per game. He also averaged 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
This was all done while playing in the best league in France that is filled with former college stars who couldn't quite make it in the NBA, including Durrell Summers, Demetris Nichols and Hilton Armstrong.
The 19-year-old is a great athlete with excellent length. He is excellent offensively, as he can create his own shot in isolated opportunities and is a very good finisher in transition. He gets very creative with his footwork when attacking the basket as well, which makes up for his lack of quickness.
While he is very streaky with his jump shot, he has shown the ability to knock it down, particularly on set looks. And he should get plenty of them playing next to Irving.
All in all, Fournier appears to be an excellent value pick at No. 24.
Lamb is perhaps the most underrated player in the entire draft, as most mocks have him going in the second round.
That is absurd for someone with as much talent as the Kentucky sophomore!
The 6'5" guard averaged 13.7 points on 47.4 percent shooting and 2.7 rebounds per contest last year. He was a crucial part of the Wildcats' championship run.
Overall, he is a very solid athlete who puts in a great amount of effort on both ends of the court. His 46.6 three-point percentage makes him the best shooter in the entire draft.
He did this without getting many open looks from struggling point guard Marquis Teague. Playing next to an incredible facilitator like Irving will only make things easier for him.
But Lamb is capable of doing more offensively than just catching and shooting from deep. He is an extremely dynamic scoring weapon who can create shots for himself and drive to the hoop. This ability will take a ton of pressure off Irving next season.
While he may not be a star at the next level, he could certainly be a great role player and seems to be a perfect fit on the Cavs roster.
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