Australian NBA Draft prospect, Luke Travers, was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 56th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on Friday.
This makes another year where multiple draft prospects have come from the NBL and been selected in the NBA Draft.
During the pre-draft workouts, Travers was projected to be a late second-round pick or potentially go undrafted. He trained in front of eight teams and was invited to the G League Elite Camp.
Travers went from not having the attention of the NBA scouts to being drafted after an impressive season with the Perth Wildcats.
During the 2021-22 NBL season, Travers averaged 7.8 points per game on 42 per cent from the field and 25 per cent from the three-point line. He also averaged 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 22 minutes per game.
This past NBL season, Travers was able to show his versatility, playing in multiple positions, showing his athleticism at the rim and even showing signs he could play as a point guard.
The Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time in four years had a winning record, losing in the play-in tournament to the Atlanta Hawks. Kevin Love shined as a six-man, Evan Mobley was runner-up in the Rookie of The Year race and Jarrett Allen showed how good he is as a rim protector.
At one point during the season, the Cavaliers were among the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, injuries to mid-season trade acquired Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, as well as a season-ending injury to Ricky Rubio, who they used to trade for LeVert, and Collin Sexton would slowly hurt the Cavaliers in their run to the playoffs before finishing as the eighth seed at the end of the season before the play-in commenced.
While this team could not make it to the playoffs, the team took strides and we saw the development and improvement of franchise point guard Darius Garland.
It is still unclear whether the Cavs will look to bring Travers over for Summer League, or whether they will opt to stash him.
But if Travers was to make the roster, he has shown he’d fit as a rotational player that could play off the ball and be able to catch and drive from the wing and be a two-way player with his defence, standing at 6’7 with a 6’10 wingspan.
His ability to anticipate passes and play in the passing lanes and be able to lead a fast break could be a valuable contributor in a second-string rotation for the Cavaliers right now.
With Cleveland investing in the players that can play the forward position, as well as scorers like LeVert, Travers having a rotation spot and making a contribution right away would take a series of events for that to happen.
Cleveland ranked 17th in points off turnovers per game (15.8 points per game) and 20th in fast-break points per game (11.2 points per game). When the Cavaliers are fully healthy and with how young they are, this team could be very exciting to watch with the offensive talents they have and the rim protection from Allen and the all-around defensive effort from Mobley.
Travers has shown he can play off the ball, at the wing or in the corner when he is not facilitating the offence. Travers is most dangerous when the wing is open, and as soon as he catches the ball, he is fully confident in driving to the basket and either finishing with a dunk or with a variety of layups, using his length to get the shot up over the defenders.
With his long wingspan, Travers has shown his ability to grab offensive rebounds and second-chance points. His rebounding along with his confidence to score points on anybody in any situation would be a boost to the Cavaliers when he improves more aspects of his game and understands NBA defensive schemes.
If not stashed, Travers could potentially play in the G-League this upcoming season, with some NBA playing time throughout the year when resting specific players or at the end of the season, especially if the Cavaliers make the playoffs.
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Fit with the Cavaliers Rotation
With an organisation trying to make the playoffs, Travers could potentially spend his time in the G-League, if he isn’t stashed. If he does get some playing him this upcoming season, Travers will be coming off the bench behind Issac Okoro.
Travers could potentially be used at the point guard position as he can move the ball and find his teammates when they are open. This would be possible if Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff sees an opportunity when using Travers to play a tall lineup.
With his defensive, scoring ability, and versatility Bickerstaff could implement Travers in a multitude of different lineups.
What he needs to improve
The largest area of Travers’ game is his three-point shot, as he shot 25 per cent from three in his latest NBL season.
The current demand of the NBA requires players to be able to shoot from deep and contribute with three-pointers. Only attempting two threes per game in the 2021-22 NBL season, Travers needs to attempt more threes and turn some of his drives to the rim with three-point catch and shoot and spot-up opportunities.
There is hope he continues developing his game, particularly the three-point shot. If Travers was able to turn 25 per cent on two shots to 35 per cent on five to eight shots from three, it would make a huge difference for the Cavaliers with defences having to cover him rather than collapse into the paint or focus on his teammates on the perimeter.
Last season the Cavaliers ranked 20th in three-pointers made per game, with 11.6 per game and 22nd in three-point attempts per game, attempting 32.7 per game. Cleveland ranked 15th for three-point percentage, shooting 35.5 per cent per game.
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