Pre-Draft Analysis

Areas of Strength
Can we label this “experience?” The Cleveland Cavaliers have gone through this before. Because LeBron James holds the key to Cleveland’s future, at least in the short- and middle-term, the Draft ranks a distant second, maybe even third, in this team’s priorities. James’ decision whether to stay or not will determine whether the Cavs are seeking a piece to aid a title contender or a building block for a young reset. Whichever newbie joins this roster will be surrounded by veteran, playoff-savvy teammates, an All-Star big in Kevin Love and some proven (if erratic) 3-point shooters, even if Employee No. 23 opts to leave.

Needs Work
On-ball defense and energy are attributes Cleveland could use, because the team’s reliance on veterans almost necessarily doesn’t check the “youthful enthusiasm” box. Youth and affordable rookie contracts are desirable as well for a team that has none of its draft picks on its roster more recent than Tristan Thompson, No. 4 in 2011.

Two Stats That Matter
1 -- The Cavs were the first team in the 41 years since the league started counting turnovers to rank in the bottom three defensively in the regular season and win a playoff series.

68.5 percent -- The Cavs shot 68.5 percent in the restricted area, the highest mark for any team in the 22 years for which we have shot location data.

-- John Schuhmann

The Way To Go
If the Cavaliers take an expect-the-worst, hope-for-the-best approach, they might decide to take a flier on Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. Porter’s skills would have him in the Draft’s top four, but the uncertainty about his surgically repaired back could keep him on the board longer. The 6-foot-10 forward projects as an athletic big with more facets than a mere stretch four. Remember, Cleveland happily grabbed Kyrie Irving in 2011 despite his small sample size of college experience due to injury.

2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank) 
Offensive: 110.6 (5th)
Defensive: 109.5 (29nd)

Under Contract 
G: Jordan Clarkson
G: George Hill
G: Kyle Korver
G/F: J.R. Smith
F: Larry Nance Jr.
F: Cedi Osman
F/C: Ante Zizic
C/F: Kevin Love
C/F: Tristan Thompson

Free Agents
G: Jose Calderon (unrestricted)
G: Rodney Hood (unrestricted)
F/G: LeBron James (player option)
F: Jeff Green (restricted)
C: Kendrick Perkins (unrestricted)

Recent Draft History
2017: No picks
2016: No picks
2015: Tyus Jones (24), traded to Minnesota; Sir’Dominic Pointer (53)
2014: Andrew Wiggins (1); Joe Harris (33)
2013: Anthony Bennett (1); Sergey Karasev (19); Allen Crabbe (31); Carrick Felix (33)

-- Steve Aschburner

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