Emoni Bates says Cavs have revived his love for basketball with ‘best week of my life’

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Cleveland Cavaliers rookie wing Emoni Bates said that the Cavs have revived his love for the game of basketball.

Bates, who played collegiately at the University of Memphis and Eastern Michigan University, was once a top recruit when he was in high school. The spotlight has been on Bates for quite some time, but it appears he just wants to be able to play the game he loves.

The Cavs used their second-round pick (No. 49 overall) to select Bates, and he will have a chance to compete for a spot in the Cavs’ wing rotation in the 2023-24 season.

Cleveland has made some serious upgrades on the wing this offseason, agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal for Max Strus involving the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs while making moves to bring in two other impressive shooters.

Cleveland is set to bring back Caris LeVert, who appeared in 74 games (30 starts) for Cleveland in the 2022-23 season. He averaged 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and an impressive 39.2 percent from the 3-point line.

The team also agreed on a deal with forward Georges Niang – a 40.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc last season.

There is still room for Bates to earn a role, however, as the team had to part ways with Lamar Stevens and Cedi Osman in the Strus trade.

Bates began his college career at Memphis, but he struggled to live up to the expectations set for him when he was in high school. The lanky forward 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 ahead of the 2022-23 season, where he showcased some of his scoring prowess.

Bates 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 at Eastern Michigan.

The Cavs are hoping that Bates can channel that scoring ability at the NBA level to become a helpful piece for them as they attempt to contend for an NBA title in the 2023-24 season and beyond.

Bates should get a chance to showcase his talent during the NBA’s Summer League.

If he plays well there, he’s going to start looking like a real steal for the Cavs.

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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.