The Blue Route Mock Draft: Pick #5 – Cleveland Cavaliers

With the fifth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select…

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
  3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett
  4. Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver

Current State of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Who knows how many years the Cleveland Cavaliers will live in the shadow of LeBron James. Perhaps the only cure to LeHangover is bringing back LeBron, himself. Seeing how the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t the most stable organization in the NBA, don’t rule out a second return.

The Cavaliers finished 14th in the Eastern Conference with a 19-63 record, and quite frankly, there are not many positives to talk about, outside of Collin Sexton and the emergence of Cedi Osman. The Cavs, while it seems like they’re in rebuild mode, still have some veterans under contract for the following season. Needless to say, it’ll be an interesting rookie season for new head coach John Beilein, who coached the Michigan Wolverines from 2007 to 2019.

Kevin Love is owed $28,942,830 next year, and Tristan Thompson will be paid $18,539,130. Also, Brandon Knight will make $15,643,750 and Jordan Clarkson $13,437,500. We’re not done. John Henson will make $10,482,396, Matthew Dellavedova $9,607,500, and Larry Nance Jr. $12,727,273. 

Yes, the Cavs have a couple nice, young pieces, not including the fifth pick in the NBA Draft, but they definitely need to focus on what the hell they’re going to do about their clumsy roster construction.

Looking ahead into 2019 Free Agency

The Cavaliers have a guaranteed $123,204,282 on the books next season and won’t be a major player in the free agency market. Even if they had some money to spend, I wouldn’t expect them to make much of an impact, being that the direction of the team is one big question mark.

Will they clear up some space via trade? Maybe. Their first step will be figuring out what to do with Kevin Love, who is signed through 2022-23. He is owed $120,402,172 over the next four seasons and depending on his health, it may not be as easy as it once was to move him. That said, Cleveland is in dire need of a new face of the franchise. Maybe that’ll come via the draft.

The Selection – DeAndre Hunter

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster construction, as previously stated, is a cumbersome mess, which makes their draft ideology easy to decode – draft the best player available and figure out the rest later; because they’ll have a lot to figure out over the next few seasons.

Assuming Collin Sexton is the combo guard of Cleveland’s murky future, a toolsy, high-motor power forward with great defensive upside and a nice offensive touch seems to fit – even though we mentioned that this selection shouldn’t be about fit.

While the Cavaliers were certainly hoping to land a big fish in this year’s draft, Hunter has the intangibles to carve out a solid career, but the questions are – how soon and, just, how?

With Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, and Larry Nance Jr. all at a similar position as Hunter, I wouldn’t expect to see the soon-to-be rookie light the Land on fire, but that’ll all depend on the moves Cleveland makes following the draft.

Rookie Prediction

For the sake of a solid, fair projection, let’s say the Cavs move one of Thompson, Nance Jr., or Love, allowing Hunter a spot in the rotation. In addition, let’s say he comes off the bench and plays 15 minutes a night.

It wouldn’t be crazy to assume Hunter would put up around six points and four rebounds, to go along with one block per game. His defense is what will catch the eye of Cavaliers (and NBA) fans in the early stages of his career.

Again, it’ll heavily depend on how coach Beilein uses him, and more importantly, uses the others on his team (whoever they are in 2019-20). If Hunter ends up starting before the conclusion of next season, I tend to lean on the side of it being because the team moved those who were ahead of him in the rotation. The Cavaliers should be focused on developing their next generation of talent, and DeAndre Hunter could be a vital part of it.