2022 NBA Draft: Could Johnny Davis be next in Team USA’s Cleveland Cavaliers pipeline

CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the first time since 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers are not in the top 5 in the NBA Draft. When a team holds pick #14 – the last selection in the lottery – they don’t control the outcome. There’s no Evan Mobley or Darius Garland coming. It’s not a small group of prospects to choose from this year. Sources tell cleveland.com the front office has about 10 players on its first-round radar, trying to identify the best combination of talent and fit.

The countdown begins. June 23 is fast approaching.

In the days leading up to the draft, cleveland.com will be looking at a handful of prospects who could realistically be in play with the 14th pick.

First: Wisconsin shooter Johnny Davis

Organic :

Statistics 2021-22: 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 42.7% FG, 30.6% 3P, 79.1% FT

Age: 20

Height: 6-5

Lester: 196

Wingspan: 6-8

Things to know:

Escape Star — A Wisconsin native who played alongside his twin brother, Davis was on a veteran roster in his freshman season, making for an unremarkable start to his college career. But with four of the previous season’s top five scorers, Davis nearly tripled his scoring average as a sophomore, becoming the center point of the Badgers offense and being named Big Ten Player of the Year. Davis is the fourth player in school history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, joining Devin Harris, Frank Kaminsky and Alando Tucker. All three were first-round picks.

Go to Hollywood — Enjoying his newfound fame, Davis is the star of Taco Bell’s latest ad. In the “Toasted Cheddar Chalupa” ad, Davis is in Brooklyn for the draft, briefly looking at his phone before hearing his name announced. He then walks to an overturned podium and hears a bell chime, which makes him think of a late night dinner at the Taco Bell. Instead of posing for pictures, he leaves the stage and walks out of the building, going straight to the fast food joint. Davis also has a promotional deal with Mountain Dew while serving as a brand ambassador for clothing company Jockey.

Golden Summer — Davis averaged 4.1 points at the FIBA ​​U19 Basketball World Cup 2021, helping his team win gold while playing alongside likely top 10 picks Jaden Ivey and Chet Holmgren.

Advanced Statistics — Even though 3-point shooting abandoned him for most of his second campaign, Davis showed deft post-up play and an ability to attack the dribble. Finishing with both hands, he averaged 1.20 points per shot around the rim in the half court, which ranked in the 66th percentile. He also scored 0.82 points per jump shot (53rd percentile). Davis had 6.4 fouls per 40 minutes, ranking 23rd in the nation. He attempted the fifth most free throws in the Big Ten, generating about 25% of his points from the strip.

About fit:

President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman has strong ties to USA Basketball. Being part of the program years ago, Altman still maintains many of those relationships. Each year at draft time, Altman spends weeks gathering first-hand feedback from his USAB sources. In each of the past four years, the player Cleveland drafted in the lottery – Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro and Evan Mobley – has spent time with Team USA. Chance? Barely. Each player came highly recommended by the USA team staff.

Could Davis, who met the Cavs at the scouting combine, continue that streak?

Considering he’s considered a “safe” pick with a high floor, chances are Davis won’t be on the set at 14. But it also doesn’t have the same benefits that teams usually expect from a lottery pick. This could lead to a draft night slide.

If Davis is available for the Cavs, they’ll give him a long look — even if he’s not an ideal candidate.

Drawing comparisons to Portland’s Josh Hart, Davis is more of a 2 than a 3. He occupies the deepest position in Cleveland, where Caris LeVert, Sexton (if he returns to restricted free agency) and Okoro stand on his path for consistent playtime. In years past, that might not have mattered. The Cavs didn’t let positional adjustment guide their decision-making. But after a 44-win season and heading into 2022-23 with playoff aspirations, the Cavs must consider how a prospect blends into the fabric of their roster. Davis would still be a justifiable selection. His tenacity, driving, punching and shooting would give Cleveland’s uneven offense a much-needed jolt — a midrange two-point weapon capable of taking some of the burden off Garland. Picking Davis would also provide a nice insurance policy in case offseason contract talks with Sexton or LeVert don’t go well.

What they say :

Davis– “These shooting percentages don’t represent me. I could have shot better from the free throw line and from the 3, especially. I thought by the end of the season I had taken a lot more contested shots. I also think later in the season the teams started to take a lot more interest in me because of the success I had earlier in the season.

Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report, NBA Draft Analyst — “I doubt he’ll be available at 14. While his limited 3 balls could impact his goalscoring potential as a rookie, that combination of size, shooting, fearlessness, aggression and tenacity defense should make him a valuable contributor.”

USA Team Official – “He’s a player who does all the little things well. Plays hard. Great teammate. Makes teammates better. He stood out because of the different level he played in terms of tenacity, reliability and IQ of basketball. He’s made a huge leap in his college career. He’s more confident. He’s shown that he can play with the best players in the country. It kind of surprised me at the level he’s got. already reached with his basketball ability.But he is a great boy who knows how to play and play hard.

“We had Chet and Jaden Ivey. During training camp, Johnny was one of our best players, maybe our best player. There’s just a commitment to play hard. He might not be as talented as some of these other guys, but you know what you’re going to get every day. He will present himself in the same way every day. I’ve been on the phone with all the scouts, general managers, assistant general managers and coaches in the league about these players. There are a lot of guys who could be better in terms of skills who won’t become as good as Johnny because they won’t spend their time working. I think in the long run, Johnny will be better than Ivey. I think Johnny is a top-tier entry-level shooting guard.

Scout — “Really good boy. Gym rat. Puts in time. His shooting has improved a ton over the last year, even though the numbers don’t show it. He’s more of a scorer than a shooter , but he has to be careful there.

Eastern Conference Executive — “I think Johnny will be in the top 10. I’d be a little surprised if he’s available in Cleveland. If he is, he’d be a great pick.

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