The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Kansas standout Ochai Agbaji with their 14th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and he quickly made his presence felt in the NBA Summer League on Friday night, dropping 16 points and showing the Cavs that he is ready to ball out in his rookie year.
The Cavs needed more depth in their backcourt and at the wing position. Agbaji brings just that to the table. He’s also a fantastic shooter, an area where J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad struggled immensely last season. Since he did play four seasons with the Jayhawks, there is a very good chance Agbaji sees lots of minutes in Year 1.
Here are 2 bold predictions for Ochai Agbaji in 2022-23.
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2 bold predictions for Ochai Agbaji in rookie season with Cavs
2. Becomes the Cavs best shooter
This one doesn’t really feel THAT bold, but it’s very possible. The Cavs drained just 35% of their triples in 2021-22, with Darius Garland and Kevin Love serving as just about their only threats from long range as both guys shot just under 40% from beyond the arc. Bringing in another guy who can get hot was a necessity for Cleveland. Agbaji fits the bill and could emerge as the squad’s best shooter.
Agbaji saw his three-point percentage increase each every year in college. In his freshman campaign, the wing only shot 30% from downtown. By the time he was a senior last season, Agbaji sank 40% of his treys. There was huge improvement every year. He wasn’t shy to shoot the three-ball in his Summer League debut either, going 4 for 9 from deep. The 22-year-old shot the triple with the utmost confidence in this contest and is never afraid to let it fly. The Cavs are going to undoubtedly give him the green light to do so during the regular season and it would be no surprise to see Agbaji emerge as their go-to guy from deep. Garland is still a great shooter, but his focus is typically more on creating for others and getting to the cup.
Agbaji is a classic “3 and D” type player who has tons of experience from college and will thrive as a shooter in his rookie year. I’m not saying he’s going to shoot over 40% from beyond the perimeter, but if he’s around say, 38-39%, it’s realistic.
1. Agbaji will average at least 10 points per game
This obviously depends on the type of minutes Ochai Agbaji gets, but as previously mentioned, he is already a polished player who definitely looks NBA-ready. The Cavs’ bench unit doesn’t have a ton of depth therefore Agbaji should see no so shortage of playing time and maybe even some starting opportunities on the rare occasion if he really opens eyes.
Agbaji is a gifted scorer. Aside from being able to shoot the triple, he’s talented from mid-range and uses his athleticism to get to the hoop and finish. Averaging a minimum of 10 points per night is certainly not a stretch, especially because most of his points will likely come from three-point territory. Agbaji should also heavily benefit from the high-level playmaking of Darius Garland, who makes everyone around him better.
The Cavs’ bench unit didn’t produce a lot last season. The loss of Ricky Rubio hurt and the offensive burden typically fell on the shoulders of Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. Bringing in a guy like Agbaji who can offer a scoring punch in the second unit is massive for this organization. There’s little doubt he’ll probably find his way into the starting five in the coming years if he thrives, but for now, Agbaji should make an impact off the bench from the get-go.