All the chatter about the Cleveland Cavaliers possibly trading the No. 5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night never materialized.
That’s because they believe that they could have a backcourt that could one day approximate the successes of the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
In other words, the Cavs selected Darius Garland fifth overall in the hopes of pairing him with Collin Sexton, the team’s lottery pick last year, to form a duo that looks like the Eastern Conference version of Lillard and McCollum.
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon reported that general manager Koby Altman had a conversation with Sexton, who envisioned himself and Garland playing successful basketball together:
14. Altman said he spoke to Sexton, too, about possibly adding Garland. The conversation apparently took place Thursday, before the draft began. Altman said Sexton studied the Portland Trail Blazers’ run to the Western Conference finals — steered by, ahem, two smaller, scoring guards in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
15. “He brought that up, said ‘that could be us,’” Altman said. “Darius relished the opportunity as well. When we knew those two were on board, it made it a lot easier.”
Sexton and Garland are both 6-foot-2, which is not that far off from the Blazers’ 6-foot-3 backcourt mates. If they can somehow mask their defensive deficiencies, it’s not that difficult imagining the Cavs having couple of special guards with explosive potential.