Only one more day until the 2023 NBA Draft begins.
After months of looking at different options the Cleveland Cavaliers could select in the draft, it will finally begin on Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT. Two division rivals, the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers, will have spots in the top 10 of Thursday’s draft. Cleveland, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls will not have selections this year’s first round. The Cavs will enter this year’s draft with pick No. 49, while Milwaukee will have the No. 58 selection.
That doesn’t mean the Cavaliers won’t have a reason to try and make a jump into the first round.
“While members of the front office and scouting staff like that position and believe there will be a compelling, young draft-and-develop prospect late in the second round, there’s an organizational desire to move up and calls have been made to multiple teams in the 20-30 range, gauging the cost of a potential deal, sources say,” Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor wrote in an article last Thursday.
Cleveland did trade for guard Kevin Porter Jr., who was selected with the No. 30 pick in the 2019 draft, for four future second-round choices and cash considerations in 2019. It will be hard to tell if they can pull off another maneuver four years later and, if they do, whether they can select a prospect who will be impactful enough to contribute to the roster immediately.
With just over one day left until the San Antonio Spurs are on the clock in the Barclays Center, what are some last-minute draft predictions for the Cavaliers before the 2023 NBA draft?
The Cavs will stand pat during the NBA Draft
The Cavaliers can certainly try to push their way into the first round of the NBA draft.
Right Down Euclid Editor-in-Chief Evan Dammarell wrote the Cavs could be looking for a way to trade into the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft in a Tuesday article.
“That doesn’t mean the Cavaliers won’t try to make a trade when the 2023 NBA Draft opens on Thursday evening,” Dammarell wrote. “Sources across the league have confirmed to Right Down Euclid the multiple reports that Cleveland is looking to find a way to sneak into the back half of the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft.
“A separate source shared that the Rockets (20), the Jazz (28) and Brooklyn Nets (21, 22) are all viewed as teams that the Cavaliers will speak with on a deal.”
As exciting as it would be, it could be difficult for Cleveland to move into the first round. The Cavs have a few second-round picks at their disposal, including a few in 2025, according to Fanspo and King James Gospel. But it could benefit the Cavs to keep those picks around for the future instead of pooling them for a first-round selection.
Still, Cleveland would have a variety of prospects to choose from if it decided to move up into the 20-30 range.
If they were to move up and keep their 2023 second-rounder, they could select a player who could provide valuable contributions for them off the bench before making a riskier move in the second round. Marquette forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Xavier guard Colby Jones, Ohio State forward Brice Sensabaugh and Iowa forward Kris Murray could be prospects from Midwest schools to look out for if Cleveland moves to the last third of the first round.
Cleveland will select a forward with their No. 49 pick
Cleveland can go in plenty of directions with its current draft pick.
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It can try to pick an established, high-floor player who can contribute a decent amount right away, or it can take a high-potential prospect that will need to spend a few years with the Cleveland Charge or off the Cavs’ bench before they fulfill their NBA potential.
Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe is finishing workouts with the Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics this week before the start of the 2023 Draft, according to a Monday tweet from NYT Sports Basketball Insider Adam Zagoria.
“Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe is finishing up his workouts this week in Cleveland and Boston, per league source,” Zagoria wrote. “This is his second workout with the Celtics. He has had a full schedule of about 16 total workouts. Will be fascinating to see where he lands.”
The 6-foot-9-inch center averaged 16.5 points, 13.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 32 games played last season.
Cleveland could also target high-potential prospects like Eastern Michigan forward Emoni Bates.
It would benefit the Cavs to invest in a player who at least has the potential to provide an answer to the team’s questions at the small forward with their second-round pick. Bates, who finished the 2022-23 season with averages of 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, could provide the size and scoring potential to be a solid selection for Cleveland at No. 49.