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TDC NBA Re-Draft: Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Breakdown

NOTE: This is a series of articles written by individual authors, both in and out of The Draft Class. These are all part of The Draft Class’ NBA Re-Draft, in which all of the current 30 NBA teams are represented and will undergo a simulation through NBA 2K20, with the goal to build the best team over the next five years. All teams have already been formed through the snake draft. These pieces will break down why each team’s representative drafted the way they did, as well as the approach the representative had heading into the draft.

GM: Garrett Bugay (@GarrettBugay)

Round 1 (Pick 23): Pascal Siakam

Siakam is a terrific two-way player that continues to improve. Despite being 26, he didn’t start playing basketball until age 15. His improved shooting this year unlocked his ability to be a high usage player while maintaining decent efficiency. His defensive versatility is exceptional, he can switch onto many different player types, guard the elite wings in the league, and protect the rim. 

Round 2 (Pick 38): Jaren Jackson Jr. 

Jackson Jr. brings a unique combination of skills to the table. He can play both the PF and C positions, has a 7’4″ wingspan, and displays major potential as a switchable defender that can protect the rim. But perhaps the biggest asset he adds is his floor spacing. He’s shooting 40% from three, and that makes up 45% of his total shot attempts, per Cleaning the Glass.

Round 3 (Pick 83): Derrick White

I desperately needed a ball handler that could run screening actions. White fits the bill, and his mid-range, slashing style is valuable to attack all three areas in my half-court offense. He’s an incredible defensive guard at 6’5″, with a 6’7.5″ wingspan, and he can slither around screens as well as bother opposing guards.

Round 4 (Pick 98): Dillon Brooks

Brooks isn’t the most gifted athlete, but he has good strength, plays hard, and is a good shooter. I was pleased to get that value in the 4th round, especially when you consider he’s only 24 years old. Getting a SF that is at least average on both ends has incredible importance to building a competitive roster. 

Round 5 (Pick 143): Gary Trent Jr. 

At just 21 years of age, Trent Jr. has a lot of development ahead of him. But even in small doses this year with the Blazers, he showed major promise as a 3-and-D player with some on-ball creation ability as well. I also value his ability to pressure ball handlers defensively. He projects to be another guy, along with White, that can deal with the many elite point guards in the league. 

Round 6 (Pick 158): Royce O’Neale

I knew I needed some more wing defense. You can’t go into a series against the likes of LeBron or Kawhi with only 1 option (Siakam) to guard them. The fact that Royce O’Neale was still available at this spot was surprising, given I would be fairly content with him as a starter and he’s only 26 years of age. While he’s a limited offensive player due to his low usage, he’s shooting 41% from three, per Cleaning the Glass. He’s also a quality transition player. 

Round 7 (Pick 203): Pat Connaughton

Given the dearth of quality options there, I felt the need to fill the wing positions sooner rather than later. Connaughton is a great rebounder for his position, finishing in the 90th percentile or higher in both offensive and defensive rebounding for the last two seasons, per Cleaning the Glass. He’s a great athlete (which he showcases on close-outs), often surprising shooters by sending their three-point attempts into the third row. He’s not the best shooter, but given how much shooting I have on the rest of the roster, he can be my corner three-point specialist. 

Round 8 (Pick 218): George Hill

My biggest need at this stage of the draft was getting a backup point guard that didn’t sacrifice my defensive identity. Hill has a 6’9″ wingspan and is shooting 48 percent from three, per Cleaning the Glass. You may have noticed my first seven picks were between 20-27 years of age, in an effort to help maximize the five year window. Despite Hill being 33, his fit was just too good to pass up.

Round 9 (Pick 263): Mason Plumlee

After not taking a big man since Round 2, I figured it was about time to get one for my bench unit. Plumlee is without a doubt one of the best backup centers in the league, and I was thrilled to get him this late in the draft, as he is a solid defender and rebounder. The thing that most appealed to me about him is his passing. To mitigate a team weakness, namely advantage creation, there is immense value in having a big that can run dribble hand-offs or split-cut actions. 

Round 10 (Pick 278): Robert Williams

I’m planning on using a nine-man rotation so figured I might as well go for some upside with my final pick. Since Hill and Plumlee are my oldest guys, I decided to draft the best young point guard or center available. Williams has a 7’6″ wingspan and is a great athlete; he should surpass Plumlee in the rotation by Year 3 of the simulation.

Team Strengths: Defense, Shooting, Athleticism

Team Weaknesses: Creation, Point Guard Depth

Offensively, I’ll play a 5-out offense similar to Milwaukee with Siakam in the Giannis role. With Siakam off the floor, the offense will look more like Denver’s, with Plumlee operating at the elbows with constant movement off the ball, plenty of threes, and an open lane for back-cuts. 

Defensively, I plan on switching a lot with the starting lineup and aggressively hedging/trapping when Plumlee comes on the floor. I have athleticism, length, strength, and shot blocking, so it’s hard to see any roster that will be able to score against my team consistently.

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