2023 NBA Draft: The Top 15 Veteran Prospects in the ACC

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Matthew Cleveland, Florida State

Following in the outsized footsteps of Patrick Williams and Scottie Barnes, Matthew Cleveland repurposed the role of “Star Freshman Coming Off The Bench” for Florida State. Cleveland isn’t the same caliber of prospect as Williams and Barnes, both of whom went on to become Top 4 picks and are currently starters in the NBA before turning 21.

Cleveland struggled with his jumper this past season: 17.6 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-34 3PA) and 31.5 percent on long 2s (41-of-130 2PA), per Bart Torvik’s shot data. He was one of only two ACC players with 30+ 3PA who made seven or fewer 3s.

According to Synergy Sports, Cleveland scored 0.53 points per spot-up possession (25.9 eFG%). Of the 85 ACC players that recorded 50+ spot-up possessions, Cleveland was the only one with an effective shooting rate under 28 percent.

However, Cleveland still offers plenty of upside as a 6-foot-6 wing that can defend, play in transition and attack downhill. If the shot comes together, look out. During his freshman season, Cleveland averaged 11.5 points (24.3 percent usage rate), 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game (12.0 percent turnover rate).

Cleveland’s defense is the conversation-starter for him as a prospect. With his size and athleticism, Cleveland played well in Florida State’s 1-5 switch scheme; he guarded a variety of position types this past season. Plus, he has good tools and instincts to apply on that side of the floor — both as a back-line/help-side rim protector and at the point of attack.

As an offensive catalyst off the bench, Cleveland shot 66.2 percent at the rim this season, including a team-high 27 dunks.

He also showed flashes as a cutter, moving along the baseline and crashing down from the slot. And when there’s an angle to exploit, Cleveland can be an powerful straight-line driver — both in transition and in the half court.

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