Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell shared a wholesome interaction with rookie Emoni Bates on Twitter after the Cavs drafted Bates in the 2023 NBA Draft.
I can’t wait big bro💯 https://t.co/bdHSDSv4HB
— Emoni Bates (@BatesEmoni) June 23, 2023
The Cavs used their second-round pick (No. 49 overall) to select Bates, who was a highly touted prospect when he was in high school.
Bates began his college career at the University of Memphis, but he didn’t produce immediately at the collegiate level. He shot just 38.6 percent from the field and averaged 9.7 points per game in his freshman season with the Tigers.
That led to him transferring to Eastern Michigan University ahead of the 2022-23 season.
The former top recruit showed just how talented he was at Eastern Michigan, albeit in a weaker conference than Memphis.
The young forward averaged 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game while shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from beyond the arc in the 2022-23 season.
The Cavs are hoping that Bates can show why he was such a highly coveted prospect during his high school days at the NBA level.
Bates is entering a solid situation where he has a lot of veterans like Mitchell that can help him be successful in the NBA.
The Cavs do have a weakness at the wing spot, especially if the team loses Caris LeVert in free agency.
Mitchell, a first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, knows what it takes to rise to stardom in the NBA. He’s made four All-Star teams and was named to his first All-NBA team in the 2022-23 season. He’s already showing great leadership by welcoming Bates to the team, and he should be a positive influence on the rookie forward.
The Cavs and Mitchell earned the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2022-23 season, and they’re hoping to build on that next season. If Bates can carve out a role in the Cavs’ rotation, the team is going to be in a good spot to do that in the 2023-24 campaign.
Unless the Cavs make a trade or add more players in free agency, Bates will likely compete with the likes of Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens and LeVert (if he’s re-signed) for minutes next season.