***Originally Published on Buckeye State Sports***
With the 2013 NBA draft just two weeks away, there has been plenty of speculation about whom the Cleveland Cavaliers will take with each of their four picks. Their first, the No. 1 overall pick, has understandably garnered the most speculation. Nerlens Noel is the most likely pick at this spot, with Otto Porter, Ben McLemore and Alex Len close behind. After that, however, the rest of the draft is a little more open and there are plenty of options for the Cavs to consider with the No. 19 pick.
It should be common knowledge to Cavs fans by now that general manager Chris Grant can be unpredictable on draft day. Thus, it would not surprise this writer at all if he decided to package the Cavs’ second rounders or even all three remaining picks in order to move up in the first round. Still, this might not be a great draft class, but it is a deep one and the Cavs could obtain some good talent at No. 19.
The No. 19 selection has some decent history of late, as the following players have enjoyed some success in the NBA thus far in their careers:
– Tobias Harris (2011)
– Avery Bradley (2010)
– Jeff Teague (2009)
– JJ Hickson (2008)
– Dorrell Wright (2004)
– Zach Randolph (2001)
So, assuming the Cavs retain the 19th pick, here are some prospects that could strengthen the Cavaliers waning bench:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, 20-years old, sophomore, 6’6” and 204 pounds, Georgia
It’s unlikely Pope falls to No. 19, but if so, he looks like the type of player that could come in and instantly strengthen the bench. He is able to create separation from defenders, score off the dribble and has drastically improved his spot-up shooting from his freshman season. While he’s very efficient at converting tough pull-up jumpers, he tends to rely too heavily on that skill at times. He is going to have to improve his ball handling, driving and finishing ability if he wants to become a serious player in the league.
In his sophomore season, Pope averaged 18.5 points, seven rebounds and two steals per game while shooting 51 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. On the defensive end, Pope has the size and athleticism to be an above-average defender. With the right effort and defensive-minded coaching from Mike Brown, Pope should continue to improve on this end as well. Pope still has plenty of room to improve his game, but could make a great backup for Dion Waiters.
Sergey Karasev, SF, 19-years old, 6’7” and 197 pounds, Russia
Karasev is a young, talented player who is only going to develop over time. He could potentially play both forward positions and shooting guard in the NBA, which would improve the Cavs’ versatility and help them spread the floor. Karasev has already played three seasons of professional basketball in Russia and averaged 16.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 37 percent from three, all in 30 minutes per game.
He’s a good three-point shooter for his size and should continue to improve his efficiency once in the league. Karasev is regarded as a hard-worker who is continuing to grow into his long frame. If he can improve his defense, he can be a substantial asset to the Cavs. Karasev should be a strong consideration for the No. 19 selection
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, 18-years old, 6’9” and 196 pounds, Greece
For teams looking for a young, international player with immense upside, this is their guy. Giannis has a 7’3” wingspan and enormous hands; which help him pass, finish and handle the ball with ease. Possibly the most exciting aspect about his game is his potential to play different positions. He’s played every position except center on his Greek team. His ability to rebound, beat defenders off the dribble, get in the lane and finish is a joy to watch.
Another encouraging part of Giannis’ game is his ability to hit three’s, where he shot 34 percent this season. He will need to really work on his shooting and become much more consistent, but this would only add to his already stellar offensive arsenal. That said, the height of his potential lies on the defensive end. He already seems to have great instincts on defense and his length gives opponents trouble at the rim. With more experience, especially at the NBA level, he should continue to improve on this end of the floor as well.
Giannis’ draft stock has been increasingly rising throughout the pre-draft workouts, but if he happens to still be around at 19, the Cavs must consider him.
Reggie Bullock, SF, junior, 22-years old, 6’7” and 200 pounds, North Carolina
Bullock is another player who could spread the floor for the Cavs with his consistent spot-up jumper. He averaged 13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc. Bullock’s biggest strengths are his perimeter shooting and defensive potential. His size, along with his willingness to defend on every possession, makes him a promising defender. He will need to continue to improve his strength to defend at the highest level, but the potential is there.
Bullock seems to do all the little things that help a team win and has been compared to the San Antonio Spurs’ wingman Danny Green. Bullock is likely to be available at No. 19 and the Cavs could possibly even pick him at the start of the second round, should he fall that far.
Outside of the players on this list, Rudy Gobert (France) and Gorgui Dieng (Louisville) are two centers that this writer is very high on as well. If the Cavs take Noel with the first overall pick, then neither of these players would make much sense to take at No. 19. If the Cavs choose to go another route, however, then both of these players become interesting prospects for the Cavs. It’s unlikely that Gobert falls No. 19, but with two weeks to go, anything can happen.
Follow Wade Foley on Twitter @WFoley22