ESPN analysts Richard Jefferson and Zach Lowe recently spoke about the outlook for the Cleveland Cavaliers, this year’s Summer League champions, as they look to take a step forward in the 2023-24 season.
Jefferson mentioned Cavs rookie Emoni Bates as a player who may be able to make an impact this season, and Lowe seemed to agree based on his body language. But when Jefferson brought up Cleveland’s Summer League title, Lowe couldn’t take him seriously.
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) September 20, 2023
“It’s not just [Max] Strus,” Jefferson said. “I love that because that’s what they were missing — they were missing floor spacing allowing those guys to work — but I also like the rookie Emoni Bates. So, you got a young guy — he’s 6-foot-9 — have him stay in the corner. Those are the guys that can create spacing for you in random moments when someone’s in foul trouble. They won the Summer League. … Emoni played well. Emoni played well, the young guy that they got in the second-round pick that a lot of people thought had a top-five talent.”
Lowe chimed in.
“Alright Cavs, you won Summer League!” Lowe said sarcastically. “Sell the conference finals tickets!”
“We won the Summer League my first year, and we went to the NBA Finals,” he said. “I’m just going off experience.”
Upon seeing the video, Bates offered his take.
I like what rich said
— Emoni Bates (@BatesEmoni) September 20, 2023
While winning Summer League is never the ultimate goal for any organization, the Cavs certainly deserve to feel good about their future given the fact that they took home the title in Las Vegas.
Bates made his feelings clear after helping the Cavs become Summer League champs, flexing about the accomplishment on social media. His excitement was certainly understandable, as the title was his first major feat in the NBA.
The rookie averaged 17.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game at Summer League, shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range. There are no guarantees that he will play a significant role for Cleveland in the upcoming season, but if his number gets called, he’ll certainly be ready.
The Cavs are trying to erase the disappointment of the 2023 NBA Playoffs as soon as possible. After a successful 2022-23 regular season, Cleveland ran into all sorts of trouble against the New York Knicks in the first round, losing in five games while looking outclassed.
Any sort of playoff success would be a step in the right direction this season, so the Cavs will look to check that box when the time comes. They’ll open their season in roughy one month against the Brooklyn Nets on the road.