The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to strike lottery gold once again in 2018 after acquiring the Brooklyn Nets 2018 lottery pick via trade in the off-season. The Nets finished with the eight worst record in the NBA giving the Cavaliers a 2.8% chance at the number one pick and a 9.9% chance at a top three pick. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert sent his son Nick Gilbert to represent the Cavaliers at the lottery once again. It was Nick who represented the team when they won the lottery in 2011 and 2013. Unfortunately his luck ran out in 2018 as the Cavaliers secured the eight pick in the draft. Although they had hoped for a top three pick and the chance to pick one of the elite talents Cleveland will still have the opportunity to draft an impact player at number eight. Let’s take a look at some prospects who may be available when Cleveland is on the clock.
Michael Porter Jr. – SF – Missouri – 6’10” 214 lbs.
2017 Stats: 10.0 PPG / 6.7 RPG
Michael Porter Jr. might be the most intriguing prospect in the 2018 draft. He was the number two recruit in the high school class of 2017. Porter was forced to leave the season opener for Missouri two minutes into the game due to back pain. He ended up needing a procedure called a microdiscectomy to fix a herniated disc in his lower back. Porter would unfortunately go on to miss the entire regular season. He came back in time for the NCAA tournament playing in Missouri’s two postseason games scoring 12 and 16 points respectively. Porter stands at 6’10” with a 7’0″ wingspan and a 9’0″ standing reach. He has an elite combination of athleticism, ball handling and outside shooting skill. His length and athleticism also give him the potential to be a solid defensive forward at the next level capable of guarding multiple positions. He has a quick first step and the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. Porter should at least be a solid offensive contributor offensively in his rookie season with the high end potential to be a prolific scorer. There is some concern amongst lottery teams over his back issue which could cause him to fall to the Cavaliers at pick eight. He recently suffered hip spasms which caused him to cancel a workout. If not for the injury Porter would most likely be a top three pick. However there are whispers that Porter could be taken as high as 2nd by the Sacramento Kings.
Trae Young – PG – Oklahoma – 6’3″ 176 lbs.
2017 Stats: 27.4 PPG / 8.7 APG
Trae Young is the top point guard in the 2018 NBA draft. He is not the biggest or most athletic guard in the draft but he is a lethal outside shooter with good passing and ball handling skills. Young averaged 27 points and almost nine assists per game while shooting 36% from three point range. He hit six or more three’s in seven games this season and scored a season high 48 points on 1/20/18 at Oklahoma State. Young tallied double digit assists in nine games including a high of 22 on 12/19/17 against Northwestern State. He may be the best pure shooter to come out of college since Steph Curry. His three point range extends way beyond the NBA three point line. Young is also adept at scoring off the dribble and creating his own shot. He will need to add some strength to be as effective at the next level. His lack of size will be his biggest weakness in the NBA.
Wendell Carter Jr. – PF/C – Duke – 6’10” 259 lbs
2017 Stats: 13.5 PPG / 9.1 RPG
Wendell Carter Jr. is a multi skilled big man with an NBA ready body. Not only is he skilled offensively around the rim but he can take you outside the three point line as he shot 41.3% last season. His 7’3″ wingspan helps him on the defensive end as a solid post defender and rim protector. Carter is also a solid rebounder at both ends of the floor. He is in the mold of the modern day NBA center. Two major weaknesses he will need to work on at the next level are defending the pick and roll and passing out of double teams in the post. Carter played in the shadow if Marvin Bagley at Duke but projects as a solid NBA big man.
Collin Sexton – PG – Alabama – 6’3″ 190 lbs.
2017 Stats: 19.2 PPG / 3.8 RPG / 3.6 RPG
Collin Sexton was one of the most dynamic guards in college basketball last season. He is a very aggressive and athletic player who is not afraid to get physical. His strength and speed make him a lethal weapon attacking the basket off the dribble. Although he played the lead guard spot at Alabama he was more of a score first guard. His attacking style does open up his play making ability to hit open teammates off of the attack to the rim. Sexton is very confident in his ability and shined the brightest in the spotlight. His biggest weakness is his jump shot as he hit on only 33% from deep last season. He has the ability to be a very solid lead guard at the NBA level.