CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers added some championship pedigree, selecting Kansas forward Ochai Agbaji with the No. 14 overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.
The Cavs were looking to land a wing player and believe they got a good one in the 6-foot-5 Agbaji, who led Kansas to the NCAA title last season. Agbaji was named the most outstanding player at the Final Four.
The 22-year-old Agbaji averaged 18.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and made 41% of his 3-pointers last season.
He’ll join one of the league’s most intriguing young rosters in Cleveland, and a team with playoff aspirations following a turnaround season.
The Cavs entered the draft with four picks, one acquired earlier in the day in a trade with Sacramento. Cleveland, which already had the Nos. 39 and 56 picks, added No. 49 from the Kings in exchange for the draft rights to Sasha Vezenkov and $1.75 million.
After picking in the top five in each of the past three drafts, the Cavs weren’t under as much pressure to land a potential All-Star or even an immediate-impact player this year. They could be more selective.
A 22-win jump last season has vaulted the Cavs back into contending status. They’ve got one of the league’s most promising young cores, highlighted by All-Star guard Darius Garland and forward Evan Mobley, last year’s No. 3 overall pick who had a strong rookie year.
Cleveland was in position to make the playoffs last season for the first time since 2018. However, the Cavs, who were overrun by injuries throughout the year, collapsed down the stretch, losing eight of their last 11 and then to Brooklyn and Atlanta in the play-in format.
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