Ohio State shooting guard Malaki Branham isn’t the only player the Cavaliers hosted for a pre-draft workout on Wednesday.
Per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, G League Ignite swingman MarJon Beauchamp also came to town, as did several other prospects, to compete in 3-on-3 in front of members of the Cavs’ front office and scouting staff.
Branham, of course, is the name most people know and the most likely candidate, it seems, to be selected by the Cavs with their No. 14 overall pick later this month. Most respected mocks have him falling in the Nos. 12-16 range.
“I feel I’m one of the top shooters in the draft just because I’m so efficient at it and can shoot it at a high clip,” Branham said after a similar workout with the Knicks, via the New York Post’s Marc Berman. “I feel I’m one of the best shooters in the draft.”
Of course, a lot of Cavs fans are familiar with Branham, as he attended Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, which just happens to be the same high school that produced LeBron James. He was named first-team All-Ohio his junior and senior seasons and won two state championships with the Fighting Irish (2018 and ’20).
He then chose Ohio State over multiple other suitors, including Alabama and Baylor.
“One of things that makes him so special is he makes adjustments and picks things up really quickly,” Ohio State assistant Jon Diebler told Berman. “He’s got elite work ethic, and the other thing, he’s one of the most mature freshmen I’ve ever been around.”
The Cavs weren’t able to interview Branham at the NBA Combine in Chicago last month, Fedor reported, so bringing him in now makes sense.
Along with the lottery pick, the Cavs have two second-round selections (Nos. 39 and 56). They will be taking a look at multiple players who could be selected in those spots as well over the next few weeks.
Sources have also told Hoops Wire the Cavs might look to package their two second-rounders for an older veteran to help in reserve.
Anyway, back to Branham, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and third-team All-Big Ten. He clearly improved as the season went along, coming off the Buckeyes’ bench at first, then turning into a regular starter.
He also went through a hot stretch in February where he scored 22, 27 and 31 points in a three-game stretch. A native of Columbus, he averaged 13.7 points and 3.6 rebounds on the season.