Is Cavaliers Guard Emoni Bates The Steal Of The 2023 NBA Draft?

1739835397 1024x682 1
1739835397 1024x682 1

From a young age, basketball player Emoni Bates was thought to be a sure-fire NBA prospect. He would be the next phenom to enter the league, potentially with a LeBron James-like path through teenage superstardom. During his sophomore season in high school, he was named the National Gatorade Player of the Year, and was even featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Bates was widely considered the top recruit in his class.

Emoni Bates Could Be The Steal Of The 2023 NBA Draft

But during his junior year, his development seemed to stall. Recruiting and media outlets took notice, and his stock dropped a bit, but was still widely regarded as one of the top-5 players in his class. He signed with Memphis to play for Penny Hardaway’s Tigers, but his NBA stock dropped even more with his lackluster performance during his freshman season. After transferring and playing at Eastern Michigan for a year, Bates declared for the NBA Draft amid little fan fare.

Instead of being a top overall pick like he showed promise of being, Emoni Bates was selected in the second round, 48th pick overall, of the 2023 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After playing well in Summer League, Bates signed a two-way contract with the Cavs for the 2023-24 season, meaning that he would potentially split time between the NBA and the G-League.

He got his start in the league rather quickly. Within the first five games of the season, the Cavaliers were dealing with some injury issues. They needed depth, and turned to Bates to fill a void and get some early season run. He participated in two contests, playing 23 minutes against the Knicks and 6 against the Pacers. Against Indiana, he took just one shot and missed, and failed to record any other statistics. But against New York, Bates made two of the five three pointers that he took, finishing with 9 points on the night and pulling down an impressive six rebounds in somewhat limited minutes.

Strong Reaction To First G-League Appearance For Bates

The sample size was of course small, but the rookie was trending in the right direction. The news got even better on Friday, when Bates played his first G-League game of the season for the Cleveland Charge. He hit seven three-pointers and finished with 29 points against the Wisconsin Herd, and there was a strong social media reaction around the NBA, most notably from Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell:

What the future holds for Bates is unknown. His name is known well in basketball circles for his childhood stardom, and if he continues to improve with showings like he’s had so far this year, then he will get plenty of opportunities this season and beyond.

Based on the reactions to his play so far, fans in Cleveland believe that Emoni Bates is the steal of the 2023 NBA Draft.

Arrow to top