The Cavaliers don’t know what the future holds regarding four-time league MVP LeBron James, but they do know they have an opportunity to get better in the NBA Draft.
That could come through drafting a talented big man with the No. 8 pick Thursday night, or it could come via trading the choice and another player to land a top-level talent with athleticism and multiple skills.
But if general manager Koby Altman decides to stay at No. 8 and look for help in his backcourt, which struggled mightily in the 2018 postseason, a number of talented players still could be on the board when Cleveland goes on the clock.
Here’s a look at four of them:
Trae Young, point guard, Oklahoma
This one’s a long shot because Young is expected to be gone by the time the Cavs pick, but if the 6-foot-1ﾾ, 178-pounder slides, Altman could be very intrigued.
The 19-year-old led the nation in scoring (27.4) and assists (8.7) in his one season at Oklahoma. He shot .422 from the field, .360 on 3-pointers and .861 at the line, but also committed 5.2 turnovers a game.
“I want to make a huge impact right away,” Young said at the NBA Draft Combine. “I bring a lot of different things to different players. I’m just trying to be the best version of Trae Young. That’s all that matters.”
There is no doubt among scouts that Young will be a quality pro player. He’s already got tremendous 3-point range, and he can create that shot off the dribble or shoot it from a stationary position after receiving a pass.
Though he’s slight of frame, Young is an attacking player who can get to the rim and either finish or draw defenders and find an open teammate.
There are concerns, however. Young tends to commit turnovers in bunches and was an extremely ball-dominant player with the Sooners. He also wasn’t a great defender in his one year of college ball, so he’ll be tested in that area as a rookie.
Collin Sexton, point guard, Alabama
Also just 19, Sexton measured 6-1ﾽ and weighed in at 183 pounds at the combine.
There’s about a 50 percent chance he’ll be on the board at No. 8, and it might be hard to pass him up if he is. Sexton impressed the Cavs during a predraft workout, and it doesn’t hurt at all that he’s gotten positive endorsements from James’ camp.
“I feel like I’m the most competitive (player in the draft) because I want to win and also I want to get the best out of my teammates every time I’m on the floor,” Sexton said. “I do hold myself to being one of the top competitors and the most competitive coming out of college.”
Sexton averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his one season at Alabama while shooting .447 from the field, .336 on 3-pointers and .778 at the line. He scored in double figures in 29 out of 33 games and had at least 20 points on 16 occasions.
Even more impressive, the freshman was at his best when it mattered most, averaging 24.2 points and shooting .527 from the field in five games between the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournaments.
Mikal Bridges, shooting guard, Villanova
Bridges, who will turn 22 on Aug. 30, is 6-7, 200, and averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists as the Wildcats won the national title in his junior season. An intelligent player who doesn’t force things, he shot .514 from the field, .435 on 3-pointers and .851 at the line.
Bridges, who made a significant jump after averaging 10 points as a Villanova sophomore, also is considered NBA ready and a very solid two-way player.
The knock is that he lacks strength and isn’t an overly physical player. He also hasn’t shown to be great — or even solid — when it comes to putting the ball on the floor and attacking the rim, but part of that could be due to the fact Villanova had so many weapons that he didn’t have to do it.
Miles Bridges, shooting guard, Michigan State
The 6-7, 230-pound Bridges averaged 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his second season with the Spartans while shooting .457 from the floor, .364 on 3-pointers and .853 at the line.
The 20-year-old is expected to go anywhere from the seventh to 12th pick, meaning there’s a good chance he’ll be available for the Cavs.
Miles Bridges has the strength Mikal Bridges lacks, but some scouts question whether he’s quick enough to play guard in the NBA. There are also concerns about his ballhandling.
When Miles Bridges got those questions while interviewing with various teams, one of which was the Cavs, his answer was “I don’t have a position,” meaning he can play multiple spots.
“I feel like I’m a very versatile guard,” he said. “I can play any position on the floor.”
NEXT UP: A look at some of the forwards and centers the Cavs might select at No. 8.
- Commentary: All things -- good and bad -- must end, including LeBron James' time in Cleveland
- Top pick Collin Sexton signs rookie contract worth a possible $20.2 million over four years
- Cavaliers: Rookie point guard Collin Sexton sizzled during Summer League run
- LeBron James signs with Lakers (UPDATED)
- NBA Draft: Cavaliers doing some forward thinking, looking at big men with No. 8 pick
- Cavaliers: LeBron declines option for next season, but can still re-sign with Cavs
- Taking a look at LeBron's options
- NCAA Tournament: Duke, Kentucky aren't afraid to go young, and their freshmen aren't scared of big moments
- College basketball: NCAA Tournament field selected in shadow of investigations
- LeBron James has many options -- but none really clear-cut