Report: Cavs have interest in 2 Ohio State standouts in addition to several other draft prospects

Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell

Thanks to the success that the Cleveland Cavaliers enjoyed in the 2021-22 NBA season, chances are good that they will not be picking very early in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft.

However, they’ll still have a chance to add some nice talent to their young roster later this year. On Wednesday, a hearty dump of Cavs draft intel surfaced, giving Cavs fans quite a bit of information on some names to look out for. Cavs insider Evan Dammarell offered a lot of great information regarding some names to keep in mind.

Most notably, it looks like the Cavs have interest in a couple of players who suited up at Ohio State University last season.

“When it comes to drafting in the first round, why doesn’t Cleveland stay within the Buckeye State?” Dammarell wrote. “According to sources, both Ohio State’s Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell are players that have fans in Cleveland’s front office. Cavaliers scouts were spotted taking both in when the Buckeyes defeated the Michigan Wolverines 68-57 in Ann Arbor around the All-Star Break.”

Dammarell also broke down some other possible draft options for the Cavs, including one older prospect who was instrumental in helping the University of Kansas earn the 2022 national title.

“Kansas senior Ochai Agbaji was already on some NBA team’s radars due to his defense but, he needed to refine his offensive game in order to take him to the next level,” Dammarell wrote. “Well, after he took a major leap en route to a National Championship that could make him a lottery pick for the Cavaliers.”

According to the report, it is Agbaji’s defensive ability that entices the Cavs most. Given Cleveland’s roster, that is not all that surprising. With Darius Garland securely slotted into the starting point guard position, the Cavs could certainly use some size and defensive ability playing next to him at key moments of the game.

“Sources say that the Cavaliers believe that they can help Agbaji produce from the perimeter at the next level,” Dammarell wrote. “But, those same sources say what really entices Cleveland is the former Jayhawk’s ability on defense. This shouldn’t come as any surprise since Agbaji’s defensive acumen was always going to get him minutes in the NBA. But, ideally, Cleveland could plug him in next to Garland and alleviate some of the pressure from opposing offenses. If you factor that in with the other stout defenders on the Cavaliers, then they could have a serious stew cooking.”

Finally, Dammarell broke down some other names to keep an eye on as the draft approaches.

“Other first-round players to keep an eye on for the Cavaliers: TyTy Washington, Johnny Davis, Jeremy Sochan,” he wrote.

Dammarell was not the only Cavs insider to post some juicy information about where the Cavs’ draft strategy is heading at the moment. Fellow Cavs insider Chris Fedor added some additional draft information of his own to the stream of news.

“Sources say the Cavs also like Kentucky guard TyTy Washington and G League Ignite playmaker Dyson Daniels — both fitting the need for a bigger, longer backup point guard,” he wrote.

Fedor mentioned some other names as well.

“Beyond everything else, the Cavs like many prospects that could be available at the end of the lottery, including Ohio State’s Malaki Branham — even though he’s more of a 2 than a 3 and there’s an overabundance of shooting guards on the roster already — Nikola Jovic, Duke center Mark Williams, Memphis’ Jalen Duren, Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, LSU’s Tari Eason, Kansas’ ready-made swingman Ochai Agbaji and French forward Ousmane Dieng, who one source predicted as having a floor of No. 12,” he wrote. “All could fill a need or add a desired trait — without sacrificing an asset in a trade-up.”

One thing that Cavs fans will notice immediately is that many of the players mentioned are guards. That fact shouldn’t come as much of a shock considering how bloated and talented Cleveland’s frontcourt rotation already is.

With the Cavs now securely in a position to challenge for a playoff spot next season, their focus likely shifts from finding potential stars to finding role players that can help improve the roster and give the young team a good chance to get even better next season.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login