Cavs’ 2019-20 season is over, but they should be encouraged for 2020-21

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) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2019-20 season is officially done, but they should be encouraged in relation to next season.

The NBA’s 2019-20 campaign is going to resume later this summer via centralized site at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, with the season reportedly going to have the top 22 teams in action. That will not include the Cleveland Cavaliers, who went into the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus with the league’s second-worst record at 19-46, though.

In terms of the reported details, for how the season is going to play out, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, you can view those here.

Furthermore, after a scheduled conference call where the NBA Board of Governors were expected to approve the league’s proposed 22-team plan and ultimately did, per Wojnarowski, the 2019-20 season is officially over for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Here was that update from Wojnarowski earlier, and shortly before, he reported that the league’s upcoming lottery will be held on August 25 and that the 2020 NBA Draft will be on October 15.

Charania reported other details, albeit he did note they could seemingly be changed and that they “can remain fluid” regarding 2020-21, ultimately.

In terms of the Cavs’ team statements on the league’s return-to-play announcement, you can view that here.

On the plus side for the Cleveland Cavaliers, looking at next season, there’s hope in terms of their outlook, and they should be encouraged by their better post-All-Star play.

Post-All-Star break leading into the NBA season’s hiatus, the Cavs were a more respectable 5-6 after J.B. Bickerstaff took over the head coaching reigns.

In that span, even though it was a short sample size, it was nice that the squad had the league’s sixth-best assist rate and were 10th in effective field goal shooting rate, per

Overall, it’s also good to know for the Cavs’ sake, that they know what they have in Collin Sexton in a go-to scoring sense for next season and looking onward, along with what Larry Nance Jr. brings as the team’s best all-around big on both ends.

Nance had a career-best 10.1 points per game in 2019-20, and also shot a career-best from three-point range at 35.2 percent. Plus, he had 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per outing, and post-All-Star break, he even proved to be a viable 3 man option for Bickerstaff, as KJG’s Amadou Sow highlighted.

It was good to see Kevin Porter Jr. get a bunch of meaningful playing time as a rookie and flash his potential with 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per outing, too, and I’d expect him to play more than 23.2 minutes per outing next season.

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Even while the Cavs didn’t get to see how trade deadline addition Andre Drummond mixed in with pieces such as Kevin Love, Darius Garland, Sexton and others much, they should have more of a sample size next season.

Drummond is reportedly likely to pick up his $28.8 million player option for 2020-21, and as the season progresses, next season should give the Cleveland Cavaliers a better feel for if/how Drummond can fit in coming years.

To go feasibly with the two-way interior presence of Drummond, I’d also think that Dylan Windler could have a key impact next year, at least in a rotational sense.

Windler, who hit 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts in a four-year collegiate career at Belmont, per Sports Reference, didn’t play at all in 2019-20 for Cleveland due to complications with a stress reaction in his left leg.

While he’ll take some time to get his legs under him, I’d imagine that going into next year, Windler should be more ready to roll, and he could seemingly provide a potential sharpshooting threat, valuable cutting, pick-and-roll ball-handling/rolling and secondary playmaking off the bench.

Also factoring in how Love, who was somewhat silently really efficient for Cleveland in 2019-20 with a near-career-best 55.0 percent effective field goal shooting rate, was seemingly more locked-in for Bickerstaff as the head coach, I’d think the Cavs in general should be encouraged when looking at next season’s outlook.

Even while the upcoming draft is not a really strong one, Cleveland being tied for having the best odds of landing the number one pick, at 14.0 percent per Tankathon, also is a positive. I’d imagine the Cavaliers could land a player such as Auburn wing Isaac Okoro or USC big Onyeka Okongwu to add for the rotation in coming years at least, and that’d be a big plus for the defensive end.

So while the 2019-20 campaign is over, and overall, it was a rough one, the Wine and Gold were trending in a positive direction under Bickerstaff as head coach and I’m hopeful he can keep them on the right path.

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Next season, we should see more signs of growth from Sexton, KPJ, Garland, who displayed good playmaking feel much of his rookie year, and hopefully Windler can be ready, and I’d expect the squad to keep trending upward in regards to their rebuild.