In the 2023 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected former Eastern Michigan standout Emoni Bates at No. 49th overall. And while he signed a two-way deal, it appears Bates is making a case for potentially getting regular minutes with the Cavs in 2023-24.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, head coach JB Bickerstaff expressed how impressed he’s been with the rookie in training camp, shedding light on his versatile skillset.

“He’s done a great job. He picks up what we give him. His effort is great. He’s got a really good understanding of the game.

“I think people shortchange how high his basketball IQ is as a playmaker. Everybody always talks about his ability to score and create shots, but he sees the floor extremely well and makes the right play most of the time. Defensively, he’s picking up our stuff, using his length, knowing how to keep guys in front of him and contest and challenge shots. He’s done a great job.”

Darius Garland has also been pleasantly surprised by Emoni Bates. Via Serena Winters:

“I didn’t know he could shoot it like that..super athletic…one thing we all like, he’s really competitive on the ball & really active off the ball.”

If you show immense effort defensively, it’s going to open some eyes within the Cavs organization. They pride themselves on locking it down on that end of the floor. Bates showed what he could do in the NBA Summer League as he helped Cleveland win the title in Vegas.

The 19-year-old averaged 17.2 points per night in Sin City to go along with six rebounds. He also made it rain from deep, shooting 40%. There is surely a bright future ahead for Bates in a Cavs uniform, whether that be this season or next. Regardless, he’s making his presence felt.