2021-2022 Cavaliers General Discussion

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CavsKermit

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I was looking at John Hollinger's season preview for the Cavs and I snipped out some of it.

The Cavs finished 22-50…The Cavs surrendered relatively few 3s and didn’t foul but surrendered way too many shots in the paint (they were second in opponent shots at the rim)…Cleveland was last in 3-point percentage (33.6 percent) and fifth from the bottom in frequency. Cleveland was also a poor 2-point shooting team, but at least offset that with a high free-throw rate. With too many players in roles outside their skill set, the Cavs also had the league’s second-highest turnover rate.

…this was a pretty good offseason for Cleveland. We’ll start with Mobley, a consensus no-brainer pick…he flashed Chris Bosh-type upside at USC.

Turning Prince into Rubio was an obvious win; if the Cavs falter this year, they can easily get their draft pick back by trading Rubio again at the trade deadline.

The other moves address a lack of shooting up and down the roster that should make the Cavs much more viable offensively…. most notable, however, is the Nance-for-Markkanen swap. While Nance was a valuable player, he was 29 and his contract expired in 2023. The entire point of having him was to be able to flip him to a win-now team for a younger player, and no team more desperately needed to take a shot at a stretch big than the Cavs.

The truth of any rebuild is that almost nothing else matters besides hitting big on a lottery pick. Without an All-Star-caliber centerpiece, it becomes incredibly difficult to assemble the other pieces necessary for playoff contention. That’s particularly true when a rebuild begins the way Cleveland’s did, with its best player departing for no compensation.

We’re in Year 4 post-LeBron and nearing decision time on some of those high lottery picks, and we don’t have a centerpiece yet. Partly, the lottery gods that so smiled upon Cleveland in the past haven’t been as kind — the Cavs won it four times in the LeBron years but landed eighth, fifth, fifth and third over the last four drawings.

The first three of those picks — Garland, Sexton and Okoro — haven’t busted exactly but have also yet to define themselves as core carry-forward pieces. All three are likely to start this year, owing as much to their draft position as their performance, and one can still make a glass-half-full case for each. It’s not like the Cavs missed out on some mega-star either; Sexton over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a mistake, but Garland’s draft class was brutal and the picks immediately following Okoro haven’t exactly torn up the league either.

Nonetheless, the pressure now shifts to Mobley to see if he can be The Guy, the player who is good enough to snap everybody else into a complementary role and make it plausible (not to mention attractive) to acquire good veterans.

So while the Cavs’ big-picture focus seems to be on making a half-push forward to playoff contention, the underlying issue hasn’t gone away. None of the last three lotto picks projects as a $10 million player for the coming season, and it’s hard to imagine Cleveland’s fortunes dramatically shifting without at least one home-grown breakout player.

Weaknesses remain — the forward depth is shaky at best, and three roster players (Love, Valentine and Windler) are perpetual injury questions. But the biggest issue is the one I alluded to above: Cleveland doesn’t have a best player. Or even really a second-best player. The highest-rated player on the team, BORD$-wise, is Rubio, who might not even start.

The Cavs will be pesky and force turnovers, Sexton will have some banger shooting nights, and another year of development will be a wind at the back of virtually every player on the roster. Garland, in particular, could have some breakout potential this season. The upgraded shooting on the wings will also help shove an archaic offense into the 21st century.

Nonetheless, I smell impatience in the air, and I’m hopeful the Cavs don’t overreact to a slow start. The biggest risk factor for the season is that the Cavs lose patience and opt for quick fixes to jet themselves into a slightly better present at the cost of a more genuinely rewarding future. The hardest part of any rebuild is right before the sun rises, and it’s not quite dawn here. - John Hollinger, The Athletic, 2021-22 season preview


My comment:

Last year the Cavs were abused at the rim (although not as bad as when they had Love and TT at the 4 and 5), didn't shoot many 3's, and didn't make the ones they shot. All that should change this years. Opponents will be less likely to take it to the hole with Allen, Mobley, and Markkanen lurking. There is an emphasis on getting the ball up the floor faster and taking more 3's.

So there should be some dramatic improvement in the areas the Cavs were worst in last year. But we still don't have a centerpiece, "The Guy", and we won't have one this season.
We were 29th in opponents 3 point % last season. We were bad all the way around defensively last season.
 

CavsKermit

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Hell no.

Anyway, I'm not sure why people keep repeating that we don't have people to play the 3. We might well see Markkanen there all season, for instance.
I don't know whether Lauri is starting-caliber 3 in the NBA, but I'm quite sure Parker is not. He's a bench scorer out of the 4 position and the Cavs are set at the 4.
 

weepinwillow

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I get Jabari had some pretty devastating knee issues, but man, that guy really, really, really slid. I'd have thought he'd have found a way as a bench scorer.
 

Ozone

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I would like to see more LM at the 3 in the rotations but dont expect him to play starter minutes there much at all.
He is not athletic enough to defend it. Mobley however is more than capable of playing the 3 and should get some run there as long as LM Love Allen and Wade can handle the 4-5 most of the time.
 

Heat Check

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I get Jabari had some pretty devastating knee issues, but man, that guy really, really, really slid. I'd have thought he'd have found a way as a bench scorer.

Yeah, the dude tore his left ACL not one but TWO times... but on the other hand, this is what he looked like after recovering from the 2nd surgery:


He's always been athletic enough to succeed. But he's constantly out of shape, seems unmotivated and is a career 32% 3pt shooter on pitiful volume.

Oh, did I mention he doesn't defend?
 

Ozone

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Jabari peaked in college same as Valentine neither are worth a roster spot
 

Heat Check

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I would like to see more LM at the 3 in the rotations but dont expect him to play starter minutes there much at all.
He is not athletic enough to defend it. Mobley however is more than capable of playing the 3 and should get some run there as long as LM Love Allen and Wade can handle the 4-5 most of the time.

Lauri has done a very nice job defending the 3 IMO. He moves his feet well for his size and is certainly better on the perimeter than he is protecting the rim. Also – foot speed is important but so is anticipation.

Mobley has the tools to be a very good perimeter defender after a while, but this season he will be abused there simply due to inexperience. Preseason is one thing, but the kid may be in for a bit of a shock once the real games start. I predict he'll be a fouling machine when he tries to defend the 3 spot.

Mobley's strength is protecting the rim and changing shots with his length and timing. He should be put into a position to succeed right away to increase his confidence.

As for playing the 3 on offense – Mobley has a looong way to go. He has no 3pt shot right now and that almost means you're 100% unplayable at that position these days. Hell, the same is pretty much true for PF's.
 

FrontPageNews

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Hell no.

Anyway, I'm not sure why people keep repeating that we don't have people to play the 3. We might well see Markkanen there all season, for instance.
If you have markkanen playing the 3 then you don’t have enough 3s.
 

daytripper

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If you want a long term answer at the 3 I'd start looking at the big wings that will be available mid to late lottery in the next draft. It sucks but the org has just not prioritized drafting 6'-7" players outside of Windler who was taken at the very tail end of the first round. Smart teams are drafting, developing and locking up their big wings. Based on JBB's comments I do expect Markannen to play a few minutes at SF or maybe even Mobley at some point although they should probably focus on developing at PF if that will be his position. Still holding out some hope for Windler to stay healthy too.
 

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