Alfonzo McKinnie should still be solid rotational option for Cavs

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Alfonzo McKinnie handles the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Alfonzo McKinnie handles the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Though I wouldn’t expect him to necessarily be a mainstay in the rotation for the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, Alfonzo McKinnie should still be a solid option for the Wine and Gold when needed.

It’s clear that next season, the Cleveland Cavaliers will realistically have Cedi Osman, feasibly Kevin Porter Jr. and feasibly Dylan Windler when it comes to viable small forward options. That’s hoping that Windler, who has not appeared yet for Cleveland due to complications and then eventual surgery related to a stress reaction in his left leg, prevented him playing to this point.

The 2019-20 season is on hiatus for the NBA at the moment, and it is unclear as to whether or not this season will play out, at least in some capacity, at this juncture.

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I would think, though, that Windler could be a key bench piece, and potentially move to a starting role as next season progresses, due to the shooting off-the-catch and via pull-ups, along with sound decision-making that he’d provide and could seemingly be an upgrade over Osman.

Porter, who has flashed a ton of potential thus far with 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as mostly a bench contributor, is also a player that I could see playing the 3 position again a considerable chunk or a fair amount of instances, too.

He has in most of his minutes with the Cavs sans Windler already, and it’s been a mixed bag, but he’s again, shown so much potential.

Porter’s chemistry with Darius Garland and/or Collin Sexton should improve in his second year, too.

Though, also factoring in how Cleveland could see KPJ as mostly a 2 man anyhow, as that’s his natural position, and with how Osman has underwhelmed and struggled defensively in his two seasons as a starter on-ball, I could see the Cavs selecting Auburn’s Isaac Okoro in the 2020 NBA Draft, and he could very well be in the 3-man mix. Windler could feasibly play the 4 spot at times, too.

Moreover, while I understand he’s not going to likely be an every-game player in the Cavs’ rotation next season, Alfonzo McKinnie should still be a solid option for Cleveland in meaningful minutes.

McKinnie, who previously was on two ten-day deals earlier in the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has since been signed a team-friendly multi-year contract where most of the years are non-guaranteed, has filled in pretty well for Cleveland when he was healthy aside from being sidelined for eight games post-All-Star due to a plantar fasciitis issue in his left foot.

McKinnie at 6-foot-7 held up fairly well as a rotational 3 and was alright as a 4-man for 42 percent of his minutes thus far in 2019-20, per Basketball Reference, too.

No, McKinnie, who has a lifetime average of 4.3 points per game in 13.1 minutes, mostly with the Golden State Warriors last season and some since with the Cavs, is not a player that’s going to score a bunch in most of his appearances when called upon. He’s also not a floor spacer.

That being said, the 27-year-old is a very effective cutter and putback man, and thus far this season, he’s hit 69.4 percent of his shot attempts from 0-3 feet from the rim. His cutting prowess would again mesh pretty well with Larry Nance Jr. and I’d think Windler’s floor-spacing ability and secondary playmaking acumen should really benefit McKinnie, if McKinnie is on the floor with him, as a 4 man I’d imagine.

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Most importantly, though, McKinnie has good team defensive instincts, is an able and willing rotator, and he is one of Cleveland’s more competent perimeter defenders that is fairly switchable.

He’s demonstrated his impact and feel as a helper by often getting his hands in passing lanes, leading to 1.4 steals per-36 minutes. Coupled with that, it’s often led to leak-outs going the other way, where he’s a more than capable cutter and/or finisher in transition thanks to his leaping ability and body control/finishing through contact.

While McKinnie’s had issues at times with fouling shooters after ball fakes, his aggression and willing and timely help again to me does ensure that when called upon next season (it’s uncertain if this season will resume at some point), he’d still be a solid rotational forward option for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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That relates to him being able to play meaningful minutes at the 4 spot, too. Hopefully he can stick around with Cleveland, in regards to his deal, mostly given his defensive prowess.