The Cavaliers’ top two needs entering the 2022 NBA draft

The Cleveland Cavaliers are No. 1. 14th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Cleveland missed the playoffs after losing two straight in the playoffs. The Cavaliers enter this offseason hoping to address their weaknesses as they look to end their five-year playoff drought next season.

With the NBA draft in less than two weeks, Cleveland will need to make some big decisions about what they will do with their draft picks. Maybe they could use the pick to fill a hole on their roster. Maybe they could trade the pick for a veteran who could help them make the playoffs. That being said, these are the two biggest needs for the Cavaliers heading into the 2022 NBA Draft.

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Cavaliers 2 Biggest 2022 NBA Draft Needs

1. 3D Wing

Cleveland struggled to find consistent shooting, especially in two games during the playoffs. The Cavaliers need someone who can both defend on the perimeter and pose a threat from beyond the arc.

So far, Isaac Okoro has been great on the defensive end. But he was still zero on the other side of the floor, unable to knock down 3-pointers. Darius Garland needs more options on the perimeter so he has more space to operate on offense. Okoro just hasn’t been able to fill that role yet.

During his time in the game, there have been numerous instances where the 21-year-old found himself open on the perimeter and failed to capitalize on those vital appearances. And at other times, due to his lack of confidence in the trio, he didn’t pull at all when he got the chance again.

If Cleveland can’t find a more seasoned NBA player to fill that need, they do have a reason to keep the draft pick. If the Cavs do get drafted at No. 14, they have quite a few prospects to consider.

Perhaps the best option for the Cavaliers is Ocha Agbagi from Kansas. The 6-foot-5 wing averaged 18.8 points and shot 40.7 percent from three in his senior year with the Jayhawks. On defense, he also has long arms and great versatility, making him a multi-position guard. After four seasons of college ball, Agbaji should be a better fit for the NBA than any other rookie. With Cleveland looking to make the playoffs, he could be an impact player even as a rookie.

Another player in this mode is LSU forward Tarry Eason. Slightly taller, the 6-foot-8 Eason thrives on the defensive end with his hard work and energy. His size allows him to make steals and change shots at the rim when helping screens. With that size, he could end up being a middle man at the forward spot, and even play at center if the Cavaliers needed to get smaller. He averaged 16.9 points per game in his sophomore season and shot 35.9 percent from deep, albeit a low percentage (2.4 attempts per game). Still, that’s a big improvement from his 24.1 percent shooting as a freshman.

2. Another shot creator

A bigger flaw in Cleveland involves finding another playmaker or shot creator in addition to Darius Garland. Much of that has to do with injuries for the Cavaliers, who lost Collin Sexton to a torn meniscus early in the season and Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL later on.

The Cavaliers were able to put Caris LeVert next to Garland as a secondary scorer and ball handler at the trade deadline. But he injured his foot two weeks after being traded and never really found his rhythm as the Cavaliers. In 19 games with Cleveland, LeVert’s numbers dropped to 13.6 points, five fewer than he averaged in Indiana earlier this year. LeVert’s injury is also noteworthy. That’s why Cleveland could use the draft pick to select another shot creator as insurance.

If the Cavaliers go this route, they can target several prospects. Maybe they could take Malaki Branham, a hometown kid who was born in Columbus, Ohio and played college ball at Ohio State. The 6-foot-4 guard was outstanding in his only season as the Buckeyes, averaging 13.7 points while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from long range. Branham is a great ball-handler with the ability to get to the rim and shoot from beyond the arc and off the dribble. Plus, he has great length and hard work, which should make him a great fit for Garland in the backcourt.

Jaden Hardy also makes sense for Cleveland. Instead of going the more traditional route, he played for G-League Ignite. Hardy is what the street calls an absolute barrel, with a ton of skill and a high level of scoring ability. He’s someone the Cavaliers can finally pass to create shots in case their offense doesn’t go well. The advantage of picking Hardy is that he plays with the pros and has been in an NBA-like atmosphere in the G League. He should be able to get in and contribute right away, and is expected to come in late in the lottery.

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