Report: There Are Those in Cavs Front Office Who Believe R.J. Barrett Is Better Than Ja Morant

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Exactly where the Cleveland Cavaliers end up selecting in next month’s draft will be determined tonight during the annual NBA Lottery in Chicago.

Should their ultimate draft pick come down to pick No. 2, one Cavs insider is insistent that the team will choose Duke University forward R.J. Barrett over Murray State University guard Ja Morant.

Chris Fedor of looked at possible draft picks made by the Cavaliers at each of the first six positions of the draft and offered this reasoning for choosing Barrett in the second spot:

“For now, I’m sticking with Barrett at No. 2 for the Cavs. I’ve had the Barrett-Ja Morant talk with numerous people going all the way back to the beginning of the season. I just haven’t gotten the sense the Cavs would definitely take Morant.

“Sure, there’s a chance this changes. Morant is impressive. He could blow the Cavs away in a workout with his athleticism, court awareness, vision and ever-improving jumper. He could interview well and strike the right notes. But there’s at least one member of Cleveland’s front office who believes Barrett is a better prospect than Morant.”

Exactly who that front office member is remains unknown, but many of the top draft prospects are at the NBA Scouting Combine that’s also being held in Chicago. Cavaliers assistant general manager Mike Gansey is attending the event and figures to get a better idea on that choice by the time he leaves.

Should the Cavaliers end up selecting Barrett, they’d be getting a player who managed to break freshman scoring records in the ACC and earned accolades as a member of the first team All-American squad. While his outside shot is still a work in progress, he would bring a 6-foot-7 talent into the backcourt to team with Collin Sexton.

Of course, should the Cavaliers manage to again win the lottery and be awarded the top pick in the draft, they’re expected to select Barrett’s Duke teammate Zion Williamson. In his first year, Williamson won the Naismith Player of the Year award in college basketball, making him only the third freshman ever to win the award. The other two player to win before him were Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.