Cavs Roster Breakdown
Since writing the observations of the last game, I wanted to provide a breakdown of the roster and predict next steps. So here goes
- Darius Garland — He definitely improved and became ‘The Guy’ on this team. His last game had some to be desired, but he clearly will get better and I expect him to exceed the star level of play next season.
- Collin Sexton — The biggest enigma this franchise has had, even bigger than Lebron. Lot of people don’t like him, many do like him, and there is nothing in between. Personally, I like him and have written the Cavs missed him more than any player this year, who was hurt. He’s a quick scorer, average defender, and will always fight with toughness and grit. The latter was missing the last few games and Cavs need guys who are tough. I would keep Sexton if I were the Cavs management.
- Caris Levert — He didn’t play much with this team and it showed. Never looked comfortable at times, and resorted to 1:1 play just to get points. At times it worked, other times it didn’t . Over thought everything and turned ball over more than desired. Again I want to see him with Cavs and some extended playing and an off season program with team. I think once he gets comfortable he and team will get better.
- Lauri Markkenen — He was definitely an upgrade over Nance Jr and was part of a special 7 footer display in the starting lineup that shook the league for a bit. He’s somewhat of a stiff, but who can drop 20+ any night, at least has the potential. I’d still keep him around, he appeared more comfortable in Cleveland than in Chicago. I also think he fits well with this team and another season will help him.
- Evan Mobely — Once he gets in the weight room and adds 10–15 lbs, works on offensive game and improves defensive game, he’s going to be a 20–10 guy easily, at his peak he may be 25–12 guy. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he achieved the latter next season. The Cavs literally lucked out on him and he’s only 20 years old. A lot to learn as a rook, but his upside is huge and Cavs need to develop him to max out that potential.
- Jarrett Allen — The late finger injury really derailed the season, but he definitely made a big jump as well this season. I would have him work on a mid range game to keep teams honest. A 10–12 foot range and knock those shots down at 50% clip should boost his game even more. It’s clear he’s the 100 million dollar man on this squad. Team REALLY struggled without him. I would also add some toughness to him, I think he was a bit soft at times against bigger and better centers. If he wants to be included in that group, be tougher and add that mid range and he should be good to hook.
- Issac Okoro — Well where do we start? I’ve written multiple times in past when he was drafted, he was two years away from doing much. Well his two years are up. This upcoming season, he’s gotta show something, preferably offensively. With the way the league is operating, there’s no excuse to go scoreless in 20 minutes as a starter, or score 4 points in 35 minutes. He’s gotta drop 10–15 points per game. That still doesn’t match his top 5 selection, but lets start reasonable and build from there. If he can’t attain that scoring metric, I think the Cavs need to seriously consider moving on and calling that selection a bust.
- Lamar Stevens — The ‘other Okoro’, his game is similar, and he needs to build some offensive game to stay on a roster. He brings toughness and smarts. He has grinded throughout his career and really been a central part for this team in getting better. It’s still shocking JB didn’t even bother playing him in the last game, even for a few minutes. Like Okoro, I think next season is big for Lamar and his career. Gotta improve the offensive arsenal and get the points. Otherwise, its 4-on-5 on offense when he’s on the floor. I still kinda like him more than Okoro, I think he’s confident and not scared, but when you can’t really shoot outside of dunks and layups at times, some of that doesn’t matter.
- Dean Wade — that knee injury sucked because he was getting better as the season went on. I think the Cavs missed him too at times, and he was at his peak, Kevin Love Jr. There is still a lot of upside to him and I think the Cavs should try to keep him. Granted coming off a knee injury may affect his game a bit, but, like Stevens, I think he needs to prove he can stay in this league. It would also help if his coach played him a lot more. I could see him eventually replace Love, whenever the Cavs or Love decide to part ways.
- Kevin Love — He actually tried this year and viola! The team was much better and so was he. Accepting a bench role and being a leader clearly paid dividends. Good for him in recognizing that after a season in which he milked an injury and quit on the team, among other things. I see the Cavs just running out his contract which ends after the 22–23 season. As long as he can duplicate what he did this season, Cavs should be in great shape.
- Cedi Osman & Dylan Windler — I’m putting these guys together as I think they may be done as Cavs. I think the Cavs are going to draft a wing, and possibly nab someone in free agency and these guys will be casualties. Cedi had a solid start but then really dipped below the curve to a point he was ‘unplayable’ last few games of season. For a guy who has been around when Lebron was even here, its stunning he never could take the next step on a consistent basis. I’ve never really been a fan of his, and just thought he was hyped up due to Lebron saying he ‘liked Cedi’s game’. I don’t think the Cavs will miss him if they part ways. Windler just never got a chance and never helped himself either. I’m not sure what other options he has, I think if he went to another lottery type team, he might get lost again in rotation. Best case scenario, he would need to go to contending team that would develop him more and maybe he splashes. I thought he would be solid dude that could hit the three and make some plays 10–15 minutes a game. It appears JB doesn’t like him and I think he’s a goner too.
- Brandon Goodwin/Moses Brown/RJ Nebhardt — All these guys were G-league pickups and at least the former two played some heavy minutes in the season. I liked Goodwin, I think he will have a solid career somewhere as a 3rd guard. Brown brought a lot of ‘big man energy’ but looked really raw. I think he helped this Cavs team because they weren’t as energized and tough, but outside of that he was usually the central issue of the teams problems. I would still keep him around for injury purposes and development, he could be something, but I’m not sure anything more than a rotational backup. Nebhardt rarely played but Cavs kept him on for the season. I’ll be honest I don’t think I’ve seen him play and if I did, I don’t remember.
- Ricky Rubio/Rajon Rondo — Put both these guys together since they combined to be the backup vet guard the Cavs had this whole season. Rubio was a huge blessing for this team and they never recovered when he was injured. He was falling back to the mean when he was injured, but it was the little things that kept this team in check. Even though the Cavs included him in a trade, I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought him back and tried it again, hoping he stays healthy a whole season or at least majority. Rondo just turned into a bust, on top of being hurt. It was a bad calculation in hindsight and another lesson learned, that maybe getting any veteran to fill a spot is not advisable. Cavs were better off just sticking with young core of guards.
Overall, this season was a success, its possible there could be more movement in off season as team management tries to figure out how to stay out of the lottery and notch a legit playoff spot (top 6). Clearly, this team has potential. As I wrote in the observation post, the coaching remains an issue, that probably won’t be addressed in any form. At minimum this team needs an offensive upgrade. They also need to manage minutes better and stop starting out hot and then fading when everyone else gets hot after the All Star break. Its a long season and they need to pace themselves. Team was playing super hard in Nov/Dec, then in March/April they were suffering bad losses and thus are picking in lottery. I would be a little surprised if they crack the top 10 in lottery and this draft isn’t as good as the last years. I still think team needs to prioritize free agency, they can’t get any younger, and need some vet presence and scoring. They need a wing player BADLY. Team has a lot of potential. I’m keeping my eye on the coaching staff cause I think that will be the culprit if expectations are not met once again. GO CAVS!