Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff offered a glowing review of Cleveland’s “fortunate” partnership with forward Emoni Bates following a 120-89 win over Maccabi Ra’anana on Monday.

“We are extremely fortunate that Emoni was there at (No. 49),” Bickerstaff said, via a Monday video from the Cavaliers. “I believe that Emoni is fortunate to be here also because I think the pairing works. I think for his development, his advancement over his career, being here works.

“But I also believe like if Emoni would have gone in the lottery, he’d have been the type of player who’d have been in the Rookie of the Year conversation. But, again, we are extremely fortunate that he’s here with us. I look forward to working with him for a long time.”

Emoni Bates finished Monday’s win with 16 points and three rebounds in 23 minutes of play. He hit six of his 12 shots from the field and four of his nine shots from beyond the arc. Guard Caris LeVert, forward Isaac Okoro, guard Ty Jerome, forward Dean Wade and center Damian Jones took starting roles at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

The Cavs are 1-2 during the NBA preseason following two close losses to the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks. Emoni Bates ended a 108-105 preseason loss to the Magic with 12 points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. The former Eastern Michigan forward is hitting at a 45% clip from the 3-point line over three preseason games, according to The Cavs went 1-3 in their 2022-23 preseason run, but would go on to earn a regular season record of 51-31 and their first trip to the NBA playoffs since the 2017-18 season.

The Cavs will tip off against the Indiana Pacers for their final game of the 2023 NBA preseason at 7 p.m. EDT on Friday in Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Great Lakes.