Anthony Davis has finally been traded and this deal is sure to shake up the entire league. Here is how the AD trade impacts the Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2019 NBA Draft.
The 2019 NBA Draft is a big one for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The franchise is hoping to hit a home run with the fifth overall pick. However, a league-altering deal that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first round picks will have a profound effect on the draft.
The actual movement of Davis won’t impact the Cavaliers, but the draft aspect of the deal will. As of now, the New Orleans Pelicans have two picks in the top five — No. 1 and No. 4. There is no question they will be taking Zion Williamson with the first overall pick, but who they select with the fourth pick is going to shake up the rest of the draft.
Right now, there is no clear indication as to who they will be drafting, but there are some prospects that are more likely than others. Players such as Jarrett Culver, Darius Garland, Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter could all prove to be solid additions to this rising Pelicans team.
The could also trade the pick, further complicating matters for the Cavs.
The reason this is going to influence the Cleveland Cavaliers is that they will be selecting after the Pelicans at the No. 5 spot. Cleveland has already gotten their rebuild off to a solid start by selecting Collin Sexton last season. Sexton averaged 16.7 points per game en route to All-Rookie Second Team honors.
Of course, neither team has given much of a clue as to which prospects they’re most intrigued by in this year’s draft. There have been rumors of Cleveland being high on Culver and Garland, but it’s possible this is all just smoke and mirrors. Still, the only player that has performed a private workout for the Cavaliers is Culver, with Hunter scheduled to appear in one next week.
As for Reddish, he’s been unable to work out due to surgery he received on a muscle injury. This only adds to the mystery of his potential, as a player who was once a lock to be a top-three pick has now been projected to fall as far as 10th in the draft.
The Cavaliers and Pelicans will likely be eyeing the same prospects. Despite this, there is one player the Pelicans should not be thinking of, and that is Darius Garland. Seeing as how the Pels already have a star point guard in Jrue Holiday and acquired Lonzo Ball in this trade, the Pelicans shouldn’t be adding another guard in the draft.
This opens up an opportunity that might not have been on the board previously for Cleveland. While there is no telling who the Lakers were planning on selecting with the fourth pick if they kept it, it’s safe to assume the 3-point scoring ability of Garland had him high on their priority list.
Now, there is an increased chance that Garland slips to the fifth spot. This will only create more madness for the Cavaliers, who would then have a big decision to make. Do they trust Sexton enough to be a cornerstone of their rebuild? Or will they draft Garland and attempt to flip Sexton for more future assets? Or, could they even trade down as a team desperate for Garland at No. 5 makes an offer?
All of this wouldn’t be a concern had the Pelicans not received the fourth overall pick. The Lakers would’ve likely taken Garland in an attempt to add more scoring and the Cavaliers would’ve happily settled for a different prospect. As the draft quickly approaches, the Cavs have a lot of thinking to do.