Emoni Bates Is Still Apparently Can’t- Miss Despite Being Drafted In The Second Round | He’s Looking Like A Starter For Cavs In Summer League

Cleveland Cavaliers 2023 second round draft pick Emoni Bates has been playing well in Las Vegas Summer League and has the Cavs in the championship game. Bates is averaging 16.8 points per game on 41 percent shooting from three. If this shooting is real, Bates has a chance to turn his reputation around and be the Cavaliers starting small forward of the future.

Just Two Years Ago He Looked Like A Future Star

Bates, the No. 5-ranked high school player in the country in 2021. He was the first sophomore ever to be named Gatorade National Player of the Year. He was called “Baby Kevin Durant.”

He had a weird finish to his prep career, including playing at a prep school founded by his father.

Bates initially committed to Michigan State to play college ball, only to decommit and reopen his recruitment. He eventually chose the University of Memphis to play under coach Penny Hardaway and with his friend Jalen Duren. After an underwhelming season where he only started 13 games and didn’t develop, Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan.

He was arrested last September and charged with two felonies, carrying a concealed weapon and altering ID marks on a gun. The charges were ultimately dropped in an agreement between the prosecution and Bates’ defense attorney. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and in order to have his record expunged had to complete a diversion program.

Bates Has An Opportunity To Make It

Bates was ultimately reinstated at Eastern Michigan and he averaged 19 points per game on 40/33/78 shooting splits.

Poor shooting coupled with questions about his maturity and decision making, tied to the arrest, caused him to slide late into the second round.

He signed a two-way deal with the Cavaliers, which means he’ll likely begin the year in the G League. But if that shooting continues in training camp and preseason he might not be there for long.

Bates has several NBA players rooting for him, as they know the talent he possesses and the YouTube sensation he was as a high schooler.

“I’ve got a lot of [NBA] vets in my corner… Of course, Donovan [Mitchell]… Also, Ja Morant, Dejounte Murray, Miles Bridges, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant. They all just tell me, like, ‘stay in the gym.’..For me to have those guys to talk to, it means a lot.”

It’s hard dealing with fame and success as an adult, let alone as a 16-year-old kid. Bates has gone through some stuff and seen what life could be like on the other side.

If he heeds the word of these NBA vets and “stays in the gym” he could be the starting small forward the Cavaliers lacked in last year’s playoffs.

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