Cavaliers: Cutting should be a key strength moving forward

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. celebrates with fans after scoring. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. celebrates with fans after scoring. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers were becoming more effective with their cutting leading into the season’s suspension, and as young pieces gain more experience, I’d expect that to be a key offensive strength in coming years.

It was evident that the Cleveland Cavaliers definitely took to J.B. Bickerstaff as being their head coach, and he seems to be the right fit for getting the most out of this club.

The Cavaliers were 5-6 under Bickerstaff, and while I’m not to going totally overreact to that, as compared to the Cavs’ overall record of 19-46 at this time with the league suspended, I’ve been pleased with Bickerstaff thus far. You can view other reported details about a possible season cancellation/potential alternative season scenarios here and also here, for reference.

Swinging back to Bickerstaff, he seems to be connecting with the Cavs players off the floor really well, too.

Anyhow, what was a notable positive in relation to the Cavs’ play, even in some games pre-All-Star break, though the results didn’t always necessarily lead to shots being knocked down, was Cleveland being more active in terms of man movement. That being said, I do have to give prior Cavs head coach John Beilein, who stepped down during the All-Star break and has since been re-assigned to an unspecified role within the organization, some credit for that.

That better cutting was especially the case and even more so post-All-Star, though, in relation to Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton, and Kevin Love, who was getting his share of catch-and-shoot looks coming off screens from Andre Drummond and/or Larry Nance Jr.

In off-screen scoring situations, Love has placed in a nice spot in the 68th percentile, per Synergy Sports, too, which is more than respectable for a big.

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Along with Love, who along with Sexton, was getting his share of interior looks off cuts, too, Nance has always been an active off-ball threat, and his continuous movement consistently gets him in the right position for putbacks, baseline dump-offs and now, with his improved three-point shot, some opportunistic corner triples.

In addition to those other pieces, as the season had gone on leading up to the NBA’s season suspension regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic, Kevin Porter Jr.‘s off-ball feel has impressed me (aside from missing nearly four games due to a concussion).

With more experience I’d hope in coming years, that feel should only get better for Porter, too.

Plus, with his ambidextrous finishing touch and power, which have played into him hitting 71.8 percent of his attempts from 0-3 feet from the rim in 2019-20, that will lead to plenty of easy buckets for him feasibly from deliveries from Darius Garland, Sexton, Nance and others.

Coupled with that, Porter has shown he’s more than capable of making extra passes to bigs inside after his movement, and with a potential sharpshooter on the floor with KPJ for possibly considerable stretches in coming years in Dylan Windler, who will likely miss all of this season due to a stress reaction in his left leg, Porter could have more spray-out options.

Not to mention, Windler, who shot 40.6 percent in his four-year career at Belmont from three-point range, per Sports Reference, has terrific timing in running off screens to shoot and is a particularly active cutter in going to the goal as well.

Related Story. How Dylan Windler can bolster the Cavs' bench production next season. light

Granted, I understand that the Cleveland Cavaliers have only placed in the 31st percentile as cutting finishers thus far this season, as indicated by Synergy. With the Wine and Gold being more productive in terms of ball and man movement, under Bickerstaff, in particular, though, I’d expect with young pieces continuing to gain valuable experience, cutting will become a key strength.

Cleveland was sixth in assist rate and 10th in effective field goal shooting, according to post-All-Star break, and their activity in terms of man movement was a huge part of that.

At any rate, even with it being uncertain if the Cavs will eventually re-sign Matthew Dellavedova, who is expiring, in the upcoming free agency period (whenever that is), Sexton was displaying more and more his development as a cutter with Delly running the show a bunch post-All-Star with Garland banged up with a groin strain.

Whether or not Delly is back, though, it seems that his presence has helped Collin both see the floor better as a passer and be more active as a cutter. That’s been along the baseline and moving up along the break, most notably, and I’d expect that to be more prevalent in Sexton’s minutes alongside Garland moving forward, too.

Furthermore, even with Andre Drummond (who I’d expect to opt into his $28.8 million player option for next season) feasibly being a potential trade chip next year as a hard roller/rebounding/interior presence, and Love seemingly as a trade asset down the road, Cleveland should still have Nance around.

Also, perhaps a 2020 NBA Draft prospect that’d be a productive roller/cutter in Dayton’s Obi Toppin or USC’s Onyeka Okongwu would provide constant activity in the cutting department, too.

Next. Larry Nance Jr. was establishing himself as the Cavs' third-best player. dark

Those interior pieces should be high quality cutters, and again, factoring in hopefully a healthier Windler with Osman and the improvement of Porter off-ball, and maybe with some more re-location looks for Garland as a shooter, I’d expect cutting to be a key strength for the Cavaliers moving forward.