With more than a month remaining before the 2023 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers could consider drafting Eastern Michigan University forward Emoni Bates.
“The Cavs’ pick went to the [Indiana] Pacers as part of the 2021 trade for wing Caris LeVert — and turned out to be the 26th selection this year,” Sam Amico wrote. “So their lone pick is now in the second round, No. 49 overall.
“Keep an eye out for Emoni Bates, the Eastern Michigan forward who was once considered to be among the top three or four prospects of his high school class. He actually began his college career at Memphis before transferring to EMU and the Mid-American Conference.”
With just two seasons of college experience, the 6-foot-9 Bates is still an unfinished product and has yet to live up to the once-high hopes that followed him. In some circles, his potential was once considered similar to that of Kevin Durant and former Cavs superstar LeBron James.
Yet, the reality is that he left the University of Memphis after one season and returned to his hometown of Ypsilanti, Mich. and play at Eastern Michigan.
In that lone season at Memphis, Bates averaged just 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. That was followed by a stronger year at Eastern Michigan in which he averaged 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest.
However, even before he played a game at Eastern Michigan, Bates had an ill-advised brush with the law. Last September, he was arrested on multiple charges, including carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks.
Those potential felony charges were later dropped.
Bates announced that he would enter the 2023 NBA Draft. At the annual draft combine in Chicago, his shooting ability has apparently impressed scouts.
Whether or not that means that Bates’ draft potential makes a healthy improvement remains to be seen. However, if it does, the likelihood of the Cavaliers even having the chance to select him will likely fade.
Bates’ physical gifts clearly have kept him in the mix when it comes to the draft. Teams in the second round are often looking for players with the potential to make an impact down the road.
Actually making it onto an NBA roster is still not a given for Bates, considering the maturity and dedication issues that still follow him. Still, if the Cavs or any other team are able to get him on the right track, they could end up with a steal for this draft.