This recap of the Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League game against the Milwaukee Bucks, in which the Cavs won 70-68 on Friday, was detailed by future Right Down Euclid member Collin O’Connor. You can follow him on Twitter at @coconnor_FRHC.
In a way that only the NBA can do, today will go down as one of the bigger ones when all is said and done, as the Cleveland Cavaliers were presented with the chance to welcome home LeBron James on the same day where Andrew Wiggins would compete in his first Las Vegas Summer League game in a Cavs uniform.
No matter what happened for the Cavs on the floor tonight, today’s successes in bringing back one of the best players in NBA history would have far overpowered that. However, there were definitely some positives to take away from the Cavaliers’ 70-68 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
All eyes were on the No. 1 pick as he stepped on to the floor as No. 21 for the first time in a Cavs uniform. In short, he did not disappoint.
He was clearly forcing the issue early in the game, but that is to be expected this early, especially in front of a packed house analyzing his every move. After forcing a few too many three-point field goals in the first quarter and adjusting to the speed of the game, Wiggins really came into his own in the second half, as he was given chances to show off his athleticism.
He finished a few plays at the rim, outmuscling and out jumping the interior defense of Milwaukee. He also threw in a couple of impressive step-backs, trying to create space from the length of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Defensively, the top pick in this year’s draft will definitely be a plus for this team. He spent a lot of time matched up against Jabari Parker and held his own in that regard. His athleticism on the boards is definitely a plus as well, but it will be nice to see him be more aggressive in that area and on the help side.
In total, Wiggins finished with 18 points, three rebounds, a steal and a turnover in 31 minutes. There were a couple of times where he would get off the floor where the only reaction was a jaw drop or uttering the word, “Wow.” At the very least, Cavs fans are in for a treat watching him jump out of the gym in transition this season.
While he shot just 7 for 18 from the field, he is consistently getting great lift on his jump shot with a pretty fundamental looking jumper, so the potential to be an effective jump shooter is definitely there. Tonight was overall a solid showing for the Cavs newest prospect.
Reports before the game stated that Bennett had trimmed down since last season and is working himself into better shape for his sophomore campaign. And, while he still is not all the way to where he probably needs to be, he was effective in his 30 minutes of play tonight.
The former No. 1 pick logged a lot of minutes and displayed a bit more aggression offensively than we are used to seeing from him. He had a couple of strong moves to the basket out of the post position and two very good finishes in transition, running the floor as a trailer.
While also spending some time matched up against Parker, he held his own on the defensive end of the floor as well and came away with seven rebounds.
Bennett’s first year in Cleveland was a bit of a disappointment to say the least, but he showed some things tonight that were a reminder of the potential he brings to this roster and what he can be if he continues to develop.
Matthew Dellavedova also put forth a strong effort running the point for the Cavaliers and being in control for most of the game. He shot just 3 of 11 from the floor, but did a good job as a game manager in this offense and finished with nine rebounds and six assists as well.
Alex Kirk got the start at center in this game and did a good job manning the middle. He finished with 12 rebounds, including four on the offensive end, and six points.
Offensively, the Cavaliers shot 38 percent from the field, but three-point shooting came at a premium, while they hit just 4 of 25 from beyond the arc. 9 of 26 field goals came from assists and they turned the ball over 16 times.
Defensively, Cleveland held the Bucks to just 39 percent shooting, while they also struggled from deep at just 2 for 20 from three-point range. The Cavs also won the battle of the glass with 10 more rebounds than the opposition.