Cleveland Cavaliers: 5 players who have had biggest impact in 2019-20

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. high-fives Cleveland guard Collin Sexton in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. high-fives Cleveland guard Collin Sexton in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. looks to pass. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

#4: Larry Nance Jr.

Coming in at #4 regarding the biggest impact in 2019-20 to this point among Cavs players is Larry Nance Jr. 

The fifth-year big has been the Cavs’ best bench contributor this season, even after a relatively slow start to the season, as he was seemingly out of rhythm to begin the campaign when head coach John Beilein was Cleveland’s head coach. To his credit, Beilein featured Nance more as an interior player, post/secondary playmaker as the season progressed, though, and Jr. was really trending up after Bickerstaff took over at head coach.

Anyhow, Nance has been great for Cleveland, and has far exceeded expectations, as he’s continued to progress with his perimeter shooting as he got more comfortable as the year wore on leading into the hiatus.

He’s hit a career-best 35.2 percent of his three-pointers to this point, and on a career-high 2.8 attempts per contest, per Basketball Reference.

Related Story. Grading Larry Nance Jr.'s play thus far in 2019-20. light

Nance has had what is on track to be a career-best 10.1 points per game, too, to go with averaging 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 26.3 minutes per outing.

His impact game-to-game in mostly a bench role in spelling the likes of Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Andre Drummond a bit post-trade deadline has been felt on both ends in most games, even with far from exceptional on-ball and/or team defenders around him.

Nance has been arguably Cleveland’s best team defender this season and defender overall, as he is uber-disciplined on closeouts to shooters, has the fluidity to get through off-ball screens well to stay attached, and he routinely gets his hands in passing lanes to deter deliveries. Plus, in his last 15 games pre-hiatus, Nance led Cleveland in total steals with 22 steals, per

He’s again one of Cleveland’s best defensive rebounders, too, and of the Cavs’ bigs, he has by far and away the best handle, and that grab-and-go threat has paid dividends, and helped out pieces such as Sexton, Porter and Cedi Osman.

Swinging back to the offensive end, Nance, who has always been an active offensive rebounder/lob threat and screener, has even showed the capability to play the 3 position for Bickerstaff.

The continued positive strides he’s made as a secondary playmaker has been on display often, and his improved post game has given the Cavs an added wrinkle in some matchups, and factored in with the likes of Love, Drummond and/or Thompson, Cleveland’s been able to simply wear down some opponents post-All-Star.

Going forward, I’d expect Nance’s arrow to only point up.