The Cavs made three moves on draft day, here is how they grade out.
It wasn’t just Evan Mobley the Cavaliers landed on Draft Day 2021. The Cavs made sure to land three guys that GM Koby Altman is hoping can help lead the team to a winning record. If the Cavs don’t get a winning record this year, it’s very possible Koby Altman will have to find new work.
Mobley was the only player drafted, but the Cavaliers traded for NBA veteran talent, Ricky Rubio, who has had stops in Minnesota (twice), Phoenix, Utah, and of course for the Spanish national team. He’s an incredibly gifted passer and strong defender but how will that pan out with the Cavs?
Then there’s local hero Chandler Vaudrin, a guard/forward combo who the team signed after the draft as a free agent. He’s currently on an Exhibit 10 deal, which is an overly-convoluted way of saying that it’s a step-down from a two-way contract. It’s also a sign that Vaudrin will end up on the Cleveland Charge for the 2021-2022 season.
Garding each new Cavs player from draft day
On paper, this one doesn’t make sense at all. Even as a G-League/Summer League player. Sure, Chandler Vaudrin went to Lake HS and is a former Walsh Cavalier, so there’s the hometown connection there but Vaudrin isn’t exactly any one thing. He’s not overly athletic, not a great shooter, nor is he all that impressive as a ball-handler. Sure, as a small forward/shooting guard combo he possesses great rebounding skills but that’s like saying “that center over there shoots the three-point shot well”. Ask Bol Bol, if all you have is that one thing, it’s not enough at the NBA level.
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While many are very very high on Evan Mobley, I’m waiting to see what he turns into. He could easily go the way of Deandre Ayton or Hasheem Thabeet, it all depends. He’s an unknown commodity. It’s simply too early to tell. His defense is a great fit for the Cavs, and that’s mostly why he gets such a huge grade. His offense and the concerns around his scoring capabilities are what holds him back. If all he ever does is turn into a Tyson Chandler type, great. That’s not exactly “top three” material, though. Especially when Jalen Suggs and Josh Giddey sat right there for the taking.
If Ricky Rubio was a better three-point shooter, he might not be a Cavalier. After all, he does so many things well, why would you trade him away if he added yet another wrinkle to his game? He’s not a terrible three-point shooter, there are worse, but he’s not great. He is a great passer, however, and has incredible defensive capabilities. He’s not going to be the best player on the court but the things Rubio does well the team desperately needs. Defense, a second-ball handler, and veteran leadership. All things the Cavaliers need. He gets such a high grade because he’s a known commodity who should help the Cavs seal up some weak spots.