Cleveland Cavaliers: Grading Alfonzo McKinnie’s 2019-20 play thus far

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) /
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Alfonzo McKinnie, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Alfonzo McKinnie defends on-ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Taking a look at McKinnie’s defensive play

On the defensive end, McKinnie’s play stands out.

He’s a reliable rotator, gets his hands in passing lanes which leads to deflections and/or steals regularly, and he has shown the capability to guard 3’s and 4’s pretty well.

He is much more consistent in that regard against 3’s than say, Cedi Osman.

McKinnie is pretty competent in deterring drivers and has active hands that often keep ball-handlers honest when looking to get up pull-ups. Plus, McKinnie has placed in the 87th percentile against pick-and-roll ball-handlers on a frequency of 27.5 percent thus far this season, per Synergy.

He has good lateral quickness to slide effectively, and generally, contests in a controlled manner when guarding on-ball.

In terms of off-ball defense, McKinnie has been very good as well, as he has averaged a robust 1.4 steals per-36 minutes to this point, and that’s gotten himself, Sexton, Porter and/or Larry Nance Jr. in a considerable amount of instances out and running.

McKinnie’s timing as a rotator has been there most of the time, too, and that’s often helped out his teammates, much like Matthew Dellavedova in that regard.

The biggest issue for McKinnie, though, is at times, he can be overpowered when matching up against more physical matchups when he’s been going up against 4’s at only 215 pounds, and on close-outs to shooters off-ball, he does tend to pick up unnecessary fouls.

4.4 fouls per-36 in this 2019-20 season to this point is a bit much, and hopefully, he can be more under control on rotating closeouts.

Overall, though, I’ve been more than pleased with McKinnie’s play on the defensive end thus far this season for the Cleveland Cavaliers. His presence on that end has seemingly always been felt when he’s been out there.

McKinnie’s defensive grade in 2019-20 thus far: B+

Next up, I’ll touch on the explanation for McKinnie’s overall grade thus far this season.