Cavs will seemingly look to push pace more in coming years

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

I’d expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to push the pace more in coming years to feature their young guns.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have not been a team that have really been able to push pace a ton in the 2019-20 season, as they are 21st in pace thus far, and as you know, the season is currently suspended due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

It’s uncertain whether or not the season will eventually play out, and for recent reported updates, you can view those here and also here, and per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” a 25-day window for training/getting players back into game shape would be needed if the season does at some point resume.

Swinging back to the Cavs, though Kevin Love and Andre Drummond, who I’d imagine would opt into his $28.8 million player option for next season, could project as key pieces next year for Cleveland, a former NBA general manager told Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz post-trade deadline that he could essentially see Drummond being moved even shortly thereafter opting in or traded after agreeing to a long-term deal and being involved in a sign-and-trade.

This was set to be in the summer at that time, before the league’s suspension, which would then at the time realistically be the key time for league’s offseason, which will seemingly be pushed back to later on in the year.

Either way, Swartz also noted how Cleveland being in their current rebuild will “likely push for a Love trade once again while listening to offers for Drummond.”

Granted, I would still expect that the Cavaliers would want to see how Love and Drummond could potentially fit and could feasibly look to trade both more so mid-next season, but in coming years, I again would imagine the Cavs will look to push the pace more.

That would seemingly feature young players such as Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr., and realistically even Darius Garland if he can gain more explosive quickness (which I believe he will in due time), or Dylan Windler, who if he eventually gets back to full strength from a stress reaction in his left leg, could provide solid secondary playmaking and be a terrific trailing wing as a shooter from the perimeter.

Of course, the Cavs this season have had the highest turnover rate in the league, as noted by, but with young pieces such as Sexton, Garland and Porter gaining more meaningful experience, I believe a fair amount of their live-ball turnovers could be alleviated.

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Also, if Cleveland ended up selecting a perimeter player such as LaMelo Ball of the NBL’s Illawarra Hawks, Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Deni Avdija of the I-BSL’s Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, their playmaking in coming years could only be enhanced, and those pieces, especially Ball and Okoro, would fit right into a faster-paced approach by the Cavs and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff which could create more cross-matching in transition/secondary transition.

That could lead to more easy offense for Sexton and Porter, more free throw opportunities, more corner three-point looks for Windler and Cedi Osman as reserves, and also over time, generate more ball-swings leading to quality off-screen looks mid-clock.

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Moreover, with Larry Nance Jr., who is on pace for a career-best 10.1 points per game thus far this season and had 3.2 assists per game post-All-Star, showing grab-and-go ability, Cleveland looking to push pace more could further utilize that from Nance, too.

Plus, with his passing vision for a big and athleticism, it’d likely bode well as Nance is a low-turnover player, and whether or not Love is around, Nance, who is on track for a career-high 35.2 percent from three-point land this season, could become a nice trailing big for Garland, Porter, Ball, Windler or others to target.

Or if Cleveland elects to go with a big in the 2020 NBA Draft, such as Dayton’s Obi Toppin or USC’s Onyeka Okongwu, who are both terrific athletes and finishers and have shown good passing instincts, they’d also fit right into the Cleveland Cavaliers emphasizing pushing pace more.

Along with that, Okongwu, in particular, projects a terrific team defender, and with instances with him and Nance out there, and with Tristan Thompson reportedly likely playing elsewhere next season, Cleveland could be able to create more live-ball turnovers, given Okongwu and Nance’s ability to cut off passing lanes. They’d also have better rolling finishing in secondary transition following that, as both have better handling capability than Thompson, even with him somewhat improved there in settled situations.

Anyhow, with the Cavs seemingly wanting to feature their young guns more in coming years to see how they further develop and with Cleveland wanting to be more switchable defensively down the road or have a wing upgrade over Osman, I’d expect the Wine and Gold to look to push the pace more to get Sexton, Porter and others easier opportunities throughout games to force the issue. Hopefully with more depth, Cleveland could be able to do that more, too.

Now, I wouldn’t expect the Cavaliers to drastically become way more uptempo right away and become a top-five team in terms of pace, but next season, I could very well see the Cavaliers be in the top half of the league in pace, and play faster as the following campaign progresses.

That could open up more secondary playmaking opportunities, and see how young pieces such as Windler operate as cutters/off-ball threats when the Cavs get switches they want.

Plus, over time, while the defense will still take its lumps anyway with young players, more aggressiveness defensively with disciplined closeouts should open up leak-out rebounds and pieces such as Sexton, Porter and Nance should be able to generate their considerable share of steals.

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So again, especially if Cleveland moves one or both of Love/Drummond down the road, I’d definitely think that would indicate the Cavs would be looking to run even more so in coming years, which is understandable for a team focused on getting young pieces more favorable chances throughout games.