Grade the Trade: Minnesota acquires point guard of the future in mock deal

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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Grading the trade for the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers will potentially go through their second rebuild this decade. This time around, Cleveland is already set with two franchise pillars. Mitchell and Evan Mobley are the two stalwarts who should be around for quite some time.

Extracting Garland from the lineup will allow Mitchell to initiate the offense. Conley fits in well as an off-ball point guard. He's a fantastic ball mover and precise spot-up shooter. The Ohio State product knocked down 42.6 percent of his spot-up looks this past season.

At six feet, Conley is actually an inch shorter than Garland. However, he's a much better defender. For instance, Conley's opponents shot 1.2 percent worse when defended by the Wolves floor general. As for Garland, his matchups shot 4.5 percent better when the Cavalier guard was the primary defender.

Conley isn't a difference-maker on the defense, but he's a quality player on the less glamorous end. McDaniels is the difference-maker. His opponents shot 1.7 percent worse from the floor this season. At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot wingspan, McDaniels forced his opponents to shoot 7.1 percent worse at the rim.

The Timberwolves forward is agile enough on the perimeter to defend the opposing squad's best point guards. He's defended Denver Nuggets' star guard Jamal Murray for just over 27 minutes this postseason. McDaniels has forced Murray to shoot 32.0 percent from the floor and he's caused four turnovers.

Subtracting a near-20-point scorer and a sharpshooter would be a negative on offense. Garland is by far and away the second-best shotmaker on the roster—he's more of a 1B than actual number two. Nevertheless, positional fit sometimes serves a better purpose.

Conley works better as a low-usage fit next to a high-usage two-guard. And McDaniels burgeoning offensive game boosts the potential of this hypothetical blockbuster. A 6-foot-9 wing who's shown glimpses of spot-up marksmanship and off-the-dribble creation is worth trading for, even if he averaged barely over 10 points per game this past season.

With McDaniels at the small forward, the Cavs would have the luxury of trotting out another plus defender at the two-guard—Max Strus. Keeping Jarrett Allen is an option, but it seems the Cavs prefer Evan Mobley as the full-time five.

Potential starting lineup: Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Jaden McDaniels, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

Cleveland earns a B+ for this trade. Shipping out a 24-year-old with an All-Star isn't easy to stomach. But, if the Cavaliers are intent on splitting up their backcourt, acquiring McDaniels is no consolation. The 23-year-old forward is the type of player every contender dreams of.

Cavaliers Grade. B+. If the Cavaliers are intent on shipping out Garland, their focus should be acquiring a two-way wing. While McDaniels isn't as accomplished as the Cavs All-Star, he's an ascending young talent.. . Cleveland Cavaliers