Matthew Cleveland Scouting Report

Scouting Reports

Name: Matthew Cleveland

Birth Date: September 15, 2002

Height/Weight: 6’7/200

Wingspan/ standing reach: N/A

Hand size: N/A

Position: Wing

Pre-Draft team: Miami 

Tools: Frame, 3&D potential

Background: Transferred from FSU in 2023. Nike Hoop Summit alumnus. Was the Georgia 2A Player of the Year in 2021. NHS member in high school with a 3.9 GPA.

Stats: 13.7 PPG 6.1 RPG 1.7 APG 1.3 SPG 0.4 BPG 1.9 TOPG on 49/36/79.5


  • Strong instincts on defense
  • Good cutter; times his cuts well and finds holes easily.
  • Good finisher at the rim
  • Good athlete that can finish above the rim well
  • Long arms and ideal frame
  • Quick jumper release
  • Great motor
  • Follows his own shot well
  • Has a good motor and doesn’t take plays off


  • Funky jumper form; needs to fix elbow and hand placement (?)
  • Doesn’t create much separation 
  • Needs to reduce turnovers; doesn’t have many boneheaded mistakes, but also doesn’t have many playmaking chances which furthers his need for a lower TO%
  • Must tighten his handle and improve ball security

Swing Skills:

  • How real is his jump shooting improvement?
  • What does his creation upside look like? Can he be trusted with the ball in his hands to make the right play consistently?
  • What is his standout trait?


Matthew Cleveland has emerged as the ideal modern NBA wing archetype in his junior season at Miami. He thrives as an off-ball threat while playing committed defense, giving him upside as an off-ball two-way wing. Combining athleticism and motor allows for him to consistently win 50/50 balls including rebounds, and his jump shot has shown significant improvement in his lone season at Miami.

Cleveland will need to prove a standout trait, since a lot of his statistical profile seems to be an anomaly despite nothing showing as a plus trait. With a vanilla advanced statistical profile with no standout traits either way, his 3 point shooting explosion is likely fool’s gold. He has improved his shot mechanics by straightening his elbow and reworking his release motion to allow for more power, which has been a key reason his 3 point shot improved. While his jump from career splits of 45/29/62 at Florida State to 49/36/79.5 is impressive, his catch & shoot numbers show reasons for caution. On the year, Cleveland shot 37.2% on catch & shoot 3s and ranked in the 71st percentile on all catch & shoot jumpers. However, his catch & shoot splits between open and contested 3s is jarring: 29-78 overall from 3, but 9-38 on contested 3s and 20-40 on open 3s. While it is impressive that he made defenses pay by doing his job of hitting open 3s, contested 3s will be the stat the teams are likely to value more when a player like Cleveland takes a jump as a shooter. Beyond his shooting, Cleveland also did not disrupt offenses as much as his frame suggests he could have. With this, in a league that prioritizes having an elite skill to cling to as a role player, Cleveland struggles to have one definitive skill that translates right away.

Cleveland profiles primarily as an off-ball threat, being a good cutter and having some success in the shooting department. At Miami, Cleveland’s most common off-ball plays were: cuts to the basket, flashes at the free throw line for him to read the offense as either a scorer or passer, and as a spot-up shooter around the perimeter. This gave him three level scoring as an off-ball threat, which played a role in him having a career best shooting year. However, it should be noted that his 2 point jump shot percentage regressed from 36.8% last year at Florida State to 35.6% this year at Miami, per Synergy Sports. While the numbers regressed, teams respected his jump shot more this year, leading to more contested jumpers and decreased efficiency. One benefit of staying in college another year could be to build upon his breakout shooting season by improving his overall jump shot percentage, especially from mid range. However, an argument can be made that these mid range numbers will be almost irrelevant, given the NBA’s movement towards more analytically-oriented shot selection, with stars being the mid range shooters and role players/off-ball players being almost exclusively rim and perimeter finishers.

With the ball in his hands, Cleveland is limited. While he is able to create a little bit at the college level, he is better off as an off-ball player due to a subpar handle, a negative assist:turnover ratio every year in college, and being prone to losing the ball to active hands. While not an inherently bad decision maker that would make coaches pull their hair out, he rarely makes great decisions, and mostly executes simple plays. While this does have value, for example properly reading the extra pass as a shooter, it again comes down to not having a standout trait in any one department, including playmaking. 

Defensively, Cleveland has ideal tools with long arms and good athleticism, but his tools are theoretical right now more than practical. He gets burned too easily by fakes and jab steps, and can be separated from too easily for someone with the physical tools he has. Defense is one of the key areas where the stats and eye test match, with both suggesting the lack of defensive dominance as a potential red flag. Cleveland doesn’t consistently do the same things top defensive prospects do: he doesn’t shut off drives as much as he should, he doesn’t block many shots, he can be screened out of plays easily, and he can be late on getting a hand up on the perimeter, making it easier for shooters to get their shots off over him. With how quick both the speed of the game and the speed of getting shots up in the NBA is, being ahead of shot contests (without sacrificing positioning against the drive) is a key trait for wing defenders to have. Even on some of his best plays defensively, Cleveland still doesn’t dominate possessions. 

Take the below play as an example, where he defends the P&R reject drive well. Even as he times the drive well and he gets a good contest, in between those two parts of the play is the concern: the offensive player still gets to his spot and pushes Cleveland off of his spot to get to the rim. In the NBA, players are even stronger and more skilled at finishing at the rim, making even a good play for Cleveland a potentially negative play.

While his defense could improve in the NBA as he gets stronger and develops under an NBA system, there are not enough indicators to give Cleveland the benefit of the doubt at the moment. He doesn’t dominate possessions in college, he needs to continue adding strength, and teams may worry he doesn’t have the proper traits that can be taught to be a successful defender. Because of this, Cleveland’s offense will have to be almost flawless to translate to the NBA, but given similar offensive red flags, that may be unlikely.

Similar to: Troy Brown Jr

Projected draft range: 50-undrafted

Expected role: Off-ball & D wing

Unplayable if: Shooting doesn’t translate up and his lack of defense and secondary offensive skills get exposed by opposing teams.

Exceeds expectations if: His junior year breakout jump shooting season was a flash of things to come rather than a one-off, and his defense improves with NBA coaching and added strength.


Shot Chart: