Cavs should have bench three-point shooting uptick in 2020-21

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler poses for a photo. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler poses for a photo. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Next season, the three-point shooting among key Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench pieces should see an uptick.

The Cleveland Cavaliers‘ were playing better leading into the 2019-20 season’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus, and one could see that when J.B. Bickerstaff took over as head coach post-All-Star break, the group seemed to be re-energized.

Cleveland was sixth in assist rate in that span, when the club had a more respectable record of 5-6, and the Wine and Gold had the league’s 10th-best effective field goal shooting rate, per

It was somewhat unfortunate for the Cavs that given the better play they were showing, that the season’s suspension happened, and that Cleveland’s season was officially over as of last week.

Cleveland, with them having the league’s second-worst record currently, was not one of the league’s top 22 teams, and in turn, was not a team invited to the season resumption in Orlando at Disney.

That being said, it was again a positive that the Cavs were playing better leading into the hiatus, and Collin Sexton, who had averaged 25.5 points post-All-Star break, clearly looks to be the Wine and Gold’s go-to scorer leading into next season.

Additionally, it was a positive that Darius Garland, though he have plenty of struggles as a rookie, had been turning a corner it seemed as a player and was getting more comfortable before missing the Cavs’ last five games due to a left groin strain.

Garland had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.9-to-1.8 in his last 10 games active, and had a better 44.1 percent field goal percentage, as compared to his season’s clip at 40.1 percent. In addition to that, Kevin Love seemed to get a boost with Bickerstaff at the helm, and Larry Nance Jr. was really playing well.

What is something that still jumped out, though, is that the Cavs still could use the shooting presence/spacing and/or secondary playmaking of Dylan Windler off the bench, and hopefully, next season, we see that.

I also believe Kevin Porter Jr., who shot 33.5 percent from three-point range as a rookie, should progress more as a deep shooter, and overall, the Cavs’ key bench pieces should be more capable from deep.

Looking at 2020-21, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ deep shooting should see an uptick in terms of volume and efficiency among key bench pieces.

Only three bench units have averaged less three-pointers made per game than Cleveland’s bench at this point in 2019-20 (and obviously they can’t improve there now), and the Cavs’ bench placed 25th in deep attempts, per

Looking at next season, while I wouldn’t expect the Cavs’ bench to be a top 10 unit in those metrics all of a sudden, factoring in Windler and Porter showing growth as a deep shooter as his rookie year progressed, and also Nance, Cleveland’s key bench pieces I’d expect to be more capable from deep.

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Windler did not play at all in 2019-20 due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, but on the plus side, it seems realistic that he could be a participant in reported potential joint practices/a mini Summer League for the Cavs against other teams, if that plays out before next season.

While it will take some time for Windler to get his legs under him, he could bring a key spacing element for the Cleveland Cavaliers as a reserve, and pretty early on I believe.

He shot 40.6 percent from deep in a four-year career at Belmont and as a senior, thanks in large part to his polished pull-up game as well, Windler had 21.3 points per game and shot 42.9 percent from deep on 7.1 attempts per outing, per Sports Reference.

I could see Windler be a dangerous pick-and-pop threat, and feasibly be able to get some pull-up three-point looks throughout games as a pick-and-roll ball-handler that could take advantage of bigs switched out on to him, too. Along with that, with Windler being a solid secondary playmaker/ball-mover, he’ll be able to feed Porter, Nance and/of course others such as Love and Sexton.

In addition, I could see Cedi Osman move more to a bench role earlier on into next season if Cleveland ended up selecting a player such as Auburn’s Isaac Okoro in the 2020 NBA Draft, given Okoro’s athleticism, finishing ability and very high defensive upside.

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That’s not a guarantee regarding Osman, but if it is the case, which I believe it frankly should be eventually, he’d be a productive rotational wing, though, that has good passing instincts and shot 38.3 percent from three-point range in 2019-20.

As a bench contributor, he’d still bring a valuable three-point shooting element in minutes on the floor, and could really help out Windler, Nance and others in that regard, and Osman might end up being a bit more aggressive/freed up offensively against bench wings more.

Anyhow, even while I’d still like to see Nance at the elbows at times again next season offensively, given his improved ball handling, Nance’s secondary playmaking in hitting shooters should be make him even more valuable with Windler and feasibly Osman as a bench contributor out there with Nance often.

The same goes with KPJ, who shot 37.7 percent from downtown in his 18 2020 games active, per Basketball Reference.

Let’s not dismiss Nance himself proving to be a viable catch-and-shoot three-point shooter as well, and he hit a career-best 35.2 percent from deep on 2.8 attempts per game in 2019-20.

So looking at next season, with KPJ having a good chance of improving as a deep shooter, given his driving ability, and with him being able to dish to shooters, coupled with Windler, especially and potentially Osman off the bench more next season, the Cavs’ bench should be more capable from three-point range.

That’s still feasibly with Porter coming off the bench mostly, and even whether or not Osman does start on most occasions, Nance’s continued perimeter growth plays into that, and again, Windler should be crucial here.

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I see the Cavs placing more in the middle of the pack or perhaps the top half of the league in bench three-point shooting metrics in 2020-21, which would be a quality boost for the Wine and Gold.