WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says he gives the Cavs’ 2019 draft performance a B+. The June draft was significant for the team that's in a rebuilding stage and has a new head coach in John Beilein.
With the No. 5 overall pick, they selected Darius Garland of Vanderbilt University.
“All of a sudden about four days before the draft, I got word that Garland’s agents, Rich Paul and Mark Termini of Klutch Sports, set up a private workout for the Cavs in Los Angeles. The Cavs put five people on a jet to go out there and watch him work out,” Pluto said.
He said Garland was the top-ranked high school point guard.
“He had offers from all of these huge schools. He’s from Nashville. His family had been friends with the coach at Vanderbilt, the hometown school, since like the fifth grade," Pluto said. "Also, the family takes education seriously, and Vanderbilt is a good school. So he stayed home to play there.”
But five games into his freshman season last year, he was injured in a game against Kent State University.
“He has meniscus surgery, which is better than ACL, but it’s still knee surgery. So he kind of fell off some of the draft radar,” he said.
Pluto calls Garland “intriguing.”
At No. 26, the Cavs selected Dylan Windler of Belmont University in Nashville.
“Right after John Beilein was hired as coach, Windler was the first player they brought in to Cleveland for a workout. He’s 6 foot 8 (inches tall), averaged 11 rebounds a game and 20-some points, and shot 43% on three-pointers,” Pluto said.
Kevin Porter Jr.
Then came the surprise move that gave the Cavs the No. 30 pick.
“There was somebody in the organization that fell in love with Kevin Porter Jr. of University of Southern California, another highly ranked high school prospect," Pluto said. "He and another player got suspended for a couple of games. And he has some weird stats. He averaged 9.5 points, shoots 40% on threes, which is good, but he shoots 52% from the foul line. So, I don’t know what to make of this guy. The Cavs just decided to go for him.”
Pluto said he guesses Porter is like the Cavs' "lottery ticket in the draft."
"Maybe he ends up pulling himself together and ends up being the player they thought he was, or maybe he has problems. But the other two guys are like solid as a rock character-wise and checked a lot of boxes they were looking for," he said.