Report: Michael Porter Jr. Seen as Cavs' Most Likely Pick in 2018 NBA Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2018

FILE - In this March 8, 2018, file photo, Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. (13) shoots over Georgia's Yante Maten during the first half in an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament, in St. Louis. Michael Porter Jr. played in three games in college because of back problems, but his talent has long been considered more than NBA-ready. He is the epitome of high-risk, high-reward in this draft. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Don't expect Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. to get past the Cleveland Cavaliers when they select eighth during Thursday's NBA draft.

According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, "Several sources, ranging from NBA executives to agents to scouts, told Cleveland.com that the Cavs would most likely draft Porter if they could. The team, naturally, will not comment on its draft strategy."

Few players have a wider variance of potential landing spots, and few teams have more uncertainty heading into the draft than the Cavaliers.

Porter, who missed most of his only season at Missouri with a back injury but was considered one of the top NBA prospects heading into last year, could potentially go as high as No. 2 to the Sacramento Kings. But those injury concerns could also drop him down down the board, too. 

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman has Porter going No. 7 to the Chicago Bulls in his latest mock draft. Jeremy Woo of SI.com sees him coming off the board at No. 5 to the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN's group of NBA insiders projects him going No. 6 to the Orlando Magic. The Ringer has him going No. 4 to the Memphis Grizzlies. Jeff Zillgitt, Michael Singer and Sam Amick of USA Today envision him being selected by the Kings at No. 2. And David Aldridge of NBA.com sees him dropping all the way to the New York Knicks at No. 9.

Quite simply, nobody has any clue where Porter is going to end up.

Likewise, nobody has much of a clue about how Cleveland's summer will go. Will they go all in on the hopes of LeBron James returning? If so, the No. 8 pick could be traded in an attempt to land another superstar to entice James to pick up his player option or negotiate a long-term extension. 

Or will they hedge their bets if James leaves and simply draft the best player available? It's fair to question, for instance, how well Porter would fit next to Kevin Love or James. He's likely going to be at his best playing as a stretch-4 in the NBA, meaning he'd either be coming off the bench or Love would be forced into the small-ball center role. 

Nonetheless, if the Cavaliers keep the pick and Porter is available, his selection should be a no-brainer. His talent and upside would make him a superb value at No. 8, injury concerns and all. And if Cleveland keeps the selection, it's probably a strong indication that they don't see James returning or simply couldn't navigate a trade at this point in the offseason to acquire another superstar.

In that scenario, the Cavaliers need to safeguard their future. In Porter, they'd have a talent worth building around and potentially even a future All-Star.

Related

    3-pointers by Sexton, Osman Help Cavs Beat Pistons

    Cleveland Cavaliers logo
    Cleveland Cavaliers

    3-pointers by Sexton, Osman Help Cavs Beat Pistons

    Marla Ridenour
    via Akron Beacon Journal

    Nuggets Clinch Playoff Berth, Snapping 6-Year Drought

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Nuggets Clinch Playoff Berth, Snapping 6-Year Drought

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    How Morant Can Lock Up No. 2 Pick

    '[He's a] stud, playmaker, top-3 pick. May go as high as No. 2 to a team that needs a point guard'

    Cleveland Cavaliers logo
    Cleveland Cavaliers

    How Morant Can Lock Up No. 2 Pick

    '[He's a] stud, playmaker, top-3 pick. May go as high as No. 2 to a team that needs a point guard'

    Jonathan Wasserman
    via Bleacher Report

    KD Calls Out All-Defense Voters

    Durant wants Klay on All-Defensive team but doesn't have much faith in the voters

    NBA logo
    NBA

    KD Calls Out All-Defense Voters

    Durant wants Klay on All-Defensive team but doesn't have much faith in the voters

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report