The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Duke point guard Tyus Jones with the #24 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, but they didn’t make the selection to add him to their roster; they made the pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who sent Cleveland the #31 and #36 picks, as well as a future second round pick in exchange.
It wasn’t an entirely enigmatic move for the Cavs to make, as they pretty clearly are in a position to win immediately and don’t want to spend any time developing young players for another title run next season. Trading away that first round pick absolves them of any guaranteed contracts coming out of the draft this year, increasing their free agency flexibility not only in re-signing Kevin Love but adding some other veteran pieces as well.
As for Jones, he was the last of the first-round point guards to come off the board, which is a little curious considering his clutch role in the national championship game this past spring. He’s a little smaller than some of the guys that went before him, but he was a top high school recruit just a year ago and obviously performed on a big enough to stage to warrant consideration as a first round pick.
In Minnesota, he’ll back up Ricky Rubio, which means he should get about 20-30 starts a year while Rubio nurses his unending string of nagging injuries. Adding Jones and Karl-Anthony Towns gives the Wolves a couple more very promising young prospects. Along with the New York Knicks, it’s pretty clear that Minnesota had one of the best drafts of the night.
For what it’s worth, the Cavaliers returned Cedi Osman and Rakeem Christmas in the trade, either (or neither) of whom could make the roster next season. Christmas is a talented kid and a value pick at #36, but the Cavs should have a loaded frontcourt next year. It’s not clear where he’d fit among all the other bigs already on the roster.
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