After trading the No. 24 pick Tyus Jones to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Cavaliers made a trio of selections in the second round. With the 31st pick, the Cavaliers went international in a likely draft stash by drafting guard/forward Cedi Osman out of Turkey. They followed that up by drafting a more familiar name in Syracuse big man Rakeem Christmas. And finally, they chose St. John’s forward Sir’Dominic Pointer with pick No. 53.
I don’t pretend to understand the Euroleague basketball standards and hurdles to young guys playing, but the 20-year-old Osman played in 19.3 minutes per game last year (27 games) and averaged 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.7 steals while shooting 39.7/30.3/66.7 overall. He is 6-8 and 190 pounds. Chad Ford, while predicting him to go 34th in his mock draft, had this to say about Osman.
“He’s a playmaking three who, while he can’t really shoot, does just about everything else well. He’s a likely draft-and-stash”
What I can tell you after looking at 15 minutes of video on the guy is that he’s very active and fundamental on the court, and there’s a lot of raw size, length, and speed there. Ford called Osman his third best international prospect following Kristaps Porzingis (went fourth overall to New York) and Mario Hezonja (fifth to Orlando). He has two years remaining on his contract in Europe and is likely to play that out. The Cavaliers know this, and they were probably only looking to add one player to the roster from this draft.
That one player is likely Christmas, who is a 23-year-old senior that can immediately step in as a fifth big man option for the wine and gold with the likely departures of Kendrick Perkins and Brendan Haywood. Christmas is a hair under 6-10, but he sports a 7-5 wingspan and is known for his shot blocking, defense (co-defensive player of the year in the ACC), rebounding, and improved post play. He averaged 17.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in 34.3 minutes for the Orange. As a senior, his numbers improved drastically.
Rakeem Christmas had one of the biggest turnarounds in recent memory as a senior. Improved by leaps and bounds. pic.twitter.com/AbGbivThpK
— Synergy Basketball (@SynergySST) June 26, 2015
And finally, we have Pointer. He’s another senior who is known for his defensive prowess. He is listed at 6-5 and 193 pounds. He won co-defensive player of the year honors in the Big East. DraftExpress had him listed at No. 88 on their Top 100 prospects list, likely due to his offensive game limitations (just 21 threes in four years but a career 48 percent shooter for his career). He more than doubled his scoring average in his senior year, scoring 13.7 per game and shooting over 52 percent.
The numbers you should pay attention to for Pointer: 94.2 defensive rating, 2.2 steals per 40, 2.8 blocks per 40, 8.9 rebounds per 40. If Pointer sticks, it will be because of his ability to give the Cavaliers another hard-nosed wing defender in addition to LeBron James and (hopefully) Iman Shumpert. You can read more about Pointer and his rocky first three years with St. John’s here.