CLEVELAND — With the No. 24 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers will at least need to make a pick.
That’s because per league rules, the Cavs can’t trade the pick until they make it.
The draft is Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, and I’m sure about only one thing when it comes to the Cavs: They will indeed select someone and that someone will be handed an official Cavs draft hat when his name is called.
Beyond that — well, who knows?
This is indeed the draft we’re talking about — and when it comes to the draft, almost anything goes.
The Cavs have a number of options after they make the pick. All seem like real possibilities:
1. They can keep the guy and let him develop while playing next to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the rest.
2. They can draft the guy for someone else, and trade him. For instance, if the San Antonio Spurs really want someone who has fallen to 24th, they can ask the Cavs to take him. Then the Spurs can give the Cavs whoever they take at No. 26, and perhaps some change. (That’s all totally hypothetical, by the way.)
3. The Cavs can try to package the pick, along with lovable center Brendan Haywood and his salary-cap blessing of a contract when free agency hits in July.
Let’s start with Nos. 1 and 2 and say the Cavs end up drafting someone and keeping him. Based on the history of the draft, that seems like the most realistic scenario. Despite the buzz, teams don’t really trade a ton on draft night.
So what type of rookie could the Cavs use?
The answer is (drumroll please) … any kind. Big man, point guard, another shooter — it doesn’t matter. Every team could use a little extra help, and despite finishing the season 33-3 when James, Irving and Kevin Love were all healthy, the Cavs are no different.
But what could they use most? Well, a lot depends on free agency. I am assuming that free agents James, Tristan Thompson and yes, even Love and J.R. Smith, will return.
There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt about Love — reports have him opting out of his contract to become a free agent — but forget all that noise. He said he’ll be back and the Cavs intend to keep him. I strongly doubt Love or Thompson are going anywhere.
Getting to the point
So, back to the draft.
You can never have too many perimeter shooters, especially when you possess potent passers and creators such as James and Irving.
Draft prospects who fit that profile, and who could potentially still be there at No. 24, include R.J. Hunter, a 6-foot-6 guard from Georgia State, and Jonathan Holmes, a 6-9 "stretch four" forward from Texas.
Then again, the Cavs already possess a young perimeter-marksman type in second-year guard Joe Harris. The Cavs really like him and I suspect his role will only increase next season.
So if I’m the Cavs, I’m probably looking for some help at point guard. My favorite prospect who fits that description: Terry Rozier from Louisville. He also hails from from Shaker Heights. Rozier isn’t likely to set the world on fire in the NBA, but he seems like he’d be a nice complement to Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova.
(Sidenote: The Cavs also own the No. 53 pick, and could try their luck with a point guard there, too.)
Other point guards who could be around and considered at No. 24: Delon Wright of Utah (very steady and great size at 6-6); Tyus Jones of Duke (talented, but a little too hot-and-cold for my liking); and Joseph Young of Oregon (underrated and solid all-around combo guard).
Last time the Cavs owned the No. 24 overall pick was 2012. They selected Jared Cunningham, a shooting guard from Oregon State. They immediately traded him to the Dallas Mavericks and are glad they did. Cunningham has played a grand total of 40 games in three NBA seasons.
But some recent No. 24 picks have worked out OK. The best example is guard Reggie Jackson, now a member of the Detroit Pistons. Shabazz Napier, Tim Hardaway Jr., and B.J. Mullens are others selected 24th.
So what will the Cavs do at No. 24 this year? They’ll pick someone. That much we know for sure. That’s about all we know, but that’s good enough for now.