Cleveland Cavaliers: Mario Chalmers may be ready for playoff run

Mar 4, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mario Chalmers (6) dribbles around Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) at FedExForum. Memphis defeated Utah 94-88. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mario Chalmers (6) dribbles around Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) at FedExForum. Memphis defeated Utah 94-88. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

All signs point to Mario Chalmers signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Per’s Joe Vardon, Kay Felder has won the backup point guard spot. However, what Tyronn Lue said specifically about Felder’s role  is that Felder is the backup for “right now”.

“Right now we’ll say he’s going to be our backup point guard for right now,” Lue said.

Felder is only the backup point guard for now, according to Lue. It’s a reasonable assumption that the Cavs already have another point guard in mind who they’ll rely upon to make veteran plays.

As a matter of fact, they do.

Mario Chalmers is recovering from an Achilles injury that he sustained at the end of the 2015-2016 season. However, once he’s healthy, he’s all but guaranteed to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. That time isn’t expected to come until January, around the same time that another member of the Heatles may be available as well. Still, Chalmers’ name has been linked with the Cleveland Cavaliers since the start of the summer.

This isn’t an indictment of poor play from Felder. On the contrary, Felder looks beyond his years as a point guard. Felder is a 5-foot-9 point guard who has made the jump from a running the point guard position for a mid-major basketball program at Oakland University to looking calm and comfortable while playing for the defending NBA champions. His play is impressive.

Offensively, Felder has found out where he thrives at as a scorer and can usually get there because of his athleticism and ball-handling, which are both outstanding. He’s improving as a true floor general and has command of the offense which is allowing him to generate assists consistently. Defensively, Felder has the biggest battle ahead of him as he has trouble getting around screens to contest shots. However, he’s generally shown a great ability to stay in front of his man when defending on-ball. He’s also come up with a few timely steals as he’s jumped out into the passing lane.

Related Story: 2016 Summmer League Player Report: Kay Felder

Felder is a talented young player that will only get better as he gains experience. However, Chalmers already is experienced and that’s what will make him valuable as the regular season winds down and the playoffs begin. He’s an eight year veteran and been to the playoffs six times. In addition, while playing for the Miami Heat, Chalmers went to the NBA Finals four times with LeBron James.

While Chalmers has the obvious advantage in terms of experience, he’s also a superior three-point shooter and defender. Offensively, Chalmers is a career 35.8 percent shooter in the regular season and 35.7 percent shooter in the playoffs. Defensively, Chalmers has 871 steals to his name in the regular season and 118 steals in the playoffs. He’s used a combination of quick hands, anticipation, and a long wingspan to rack up steals over his career and he’s a solid athlete as well. Subsequently, Chalmers has been one of the better point guards in the NBA on the defensive end..

In addition, at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Chalmers is nearly half-a-foot taller and 15 pounds heavier than Felder. That allows him to get through screens and contest shots better than the Cleveland Cavaliers current backup point guard.

Chalmers gives the Cavs peace of mind as they entrust a veteran point guard with backup duty on their playoff run.

He also gives the Cavs a shooter at point guard. This makes the team more of a threat to score because of the spacing effect but also because drive-and-kicks to shooters are James’ specialty. James’ ability to shoot makes him more dangerous as both a facilitator and a scorer, as he has more room to operate on drives. Lastly, Chalmers gives the Cavs a player they can trust as a defender. The best way to outscore opponents is to stop them from scoring. Even on an off night offensively, a great defensive team can pull out a win if they can get stops. Chalmers, because of his size, gives the Cleveland Cavaliers a better chance at playing that type of defense.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, who want to repeat as NBA champions, have justifiable confidence in Felder. Nonetheless, the prudent move for the team to make is signing a player with more NBA experience. Especially if that player allows the team to play to its strengths.

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Do you think Mario Chalmers will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers? Do you think he’s an improvement over Kay Felder? Let us know in the comments section or Twitter @KJG_NBA.