3 players Cavs should target with No. 3 pick in 2021 NBA Draft

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The odds ended up being in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ favor on July 29 when Cleveland received the No. 3 overall pick in the lottery.

Cleveland will have a chance to find a really solid piece in the 2021 NBA Draft that can fit in with its young core of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro.

Assuming that Cleveland brings back Allen, who is a restricted free agent this offseason, the Cavs have some flexibility with their No. 3 overall pick.

There won’t be an immediate need to fill, which means the Cavs can truly take the player they believe will best help them compete for a playoff spot in the 2021-22 season.

The Cavs could trade the pick, but there has been a report the team no longer has that option on the table.

They could always change their minds, but the Cavs know that they are more than just one piece away from competing for an NBA title.

If Cleveland can find another young piece to complement its current roster, the Cavs will finally have a young core that could help them attract the missing piece in free agency.

Even if that avenue doesn’t open up, the Cavs would be wise to continue stockpiling young talent in hopes that they find a franchise-altering star, or so they can move one of their young pieces for a player that better fits the roster.

Here are three players that the Cavs should have their eye on heading into the 2021 NBA Draft.

1. Jalen Green, Guard, G League Ignite

Green seems like the ideal fit for what Cleveland needs on offense. Sexton can’t carry the team himself, and Green is arguably the best pure scorer in the draft.

He and Okoro would have very different styles on the wing, which would be good for the Cavs for matchup purposes, and Green’s offensive game looks extremely polished for a 19-year-old.

Green has the makings of a star at the wing spot, and the Cavs may have a chance to draft him at No. 3 if Jalen Suggs and Cade Cunningham go with the first two picks.

In his G League season, Green averaged 17.9 points per game while shooting an efficient 46.1 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

He already has an arsenal of moves and a very respectable perimeter game. Cleveland simply needs to inject some offense into its lineup outside of Sexton (and sometimes Garland).

Green is the perfect fit, and he has a more defined game than the next two players on this list.

2. Jonathan Kuminga, Forward, G League Ignite

Kuminga, who is still just 18 years old, is a freakish athlete that could become a great two-way player for the Cavs.

Kuminga’s game is still extremely raw, but he possesses the athleticism that could make him a great slasher right away for Cleveland.

With Okoro already in the fold, the Cavs need another wing they can rely on, and Dylan Windler’s injuries coupled with Cedi Osman’s inconsistency truly leaves Cleveland with a hole at that spot.

The other aspect that Kuminga will bring to the roster is that he has the makeup to be an elite perimeter defender. At 6-foot-6, he can guard point guards but also switch on bigger players. He certainly has work to do at that end of the floor, but the tools are there.

Kuminga is a little bit more of a project at No. 3 than the Cavs may like, but he’s a consensus top-five selection for a reason. Cleveland needs to find elite defensive wings to make up for Sexton’s and Garland’s lack of size, and Kuminga will be able to get by on athleticism alone at times on offense.

There will be growing pains, but he still averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 38.7 percent from the floor and 24.6 percent from 3 in the G League last season.

The shooting will have to come along, but it’s hard to deny Kuminga’s rare physical gifts.

3. Evan Mobley, Center, University of Southern California

On the off chance that Cleveland doesn’t bring back Jarrett Allen, Mobley would make the most sense at No. 3.

A 7-footer, Mobley can stretch the floor (he shot 30.0 percent from 3 at USC last season), and he is already an elite defender. He scores at all different levels, and here’s a glimpse of what he brings to the table as an offensive player:


Mobley averaged 2.9 blocks per game in his freshman season, but he possesses the rare ability to switch onto guards, a skill that has become vital in today’s NBA. As more teams move towards positionless basketball, having a big man that can defend multiple positions is one of the most important things in the game.

There aren’t many in the league right now, but Mobley could certainly be one of them.

With Kevin Love looking like he’s on his last legs as a player, the Cavs honestly could pair Mobley and Allen together to create an ultra-athletic paint duo. It may take some time for Mobley to become enough of an outside threat to do that, but he already looks like a polished scorer at such a young age.

Cleveland has a lot of options at No. 3, but it will come down to who the Cavs deem is the best fit for the franchise going forward. Whether it’s a guard or a big, Cleveland needs to hit on this pick if the rebuild is truly going to start turning a corner.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.