CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Ochai Agbaji as the 14th pick in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Agbaji, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing out of Kansas, averaged 18.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for the Jayhawks this season, developing his game and becoming his team's leader as they won the national title earlier this year.
His growth and improvement has been one of Agbaji's shining attributes, staying all four years of his college career and working on his craft.
The 3-and-D wing seems to be a perfect fit for the Cavs, bringing an impressive catch-and-shoot ability. This past season with the Jayhawks saw Agbaji shooting 48% from the floor, 41% from three. Agbaji said after being drafted that he is excited to join the team and bring his winning attitude to the roster.
"I think just winning culture. Just getting in there, putting my handprint on the team in any way possible and just win-win for Cleveland and win for me," Agbaji said after being drafted.
Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said that Agbaji's shooting was one of the things that made him stand out to the organization, but his personality was the real selling point.
"He's just an incredible human being," Altman said. 'He just fit the character and work ethic...brings a lot of accolades but brings a humbleness."
The pick is different from years past, showing the Cavs are ready now to compete in a title run by shifting away from the developmental pieces and selecting a player who is ready now.
"He's going to defend, he's going to compete, and I know J.B. [Bickerstaff] wants to run him off a lot of stuff and get him some shots, so certainly more of a finished product than what was drafted in the past," Altman said.
The Cavs young roster for the 2021-2022 season included former draft picks from previous years such as Evan Mobley (2021), Isaac Okoro (2020), Darius Garland (2019) and Collin Sexton (2018).
Not only will Agbaji be joining a team of young up-and-comers, but they will also be led by veterans such as Kevin Love and Jarrett Allen.
The Cavs fell short of making the playoffs last season after losing to the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 seed in the postseason tournament.
By adding Agbaji, the Cavs hope that some of his winning ways translate in Cleveland.
"He has that winning pedigree that we like," Altman said.
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