Cavs: 3 takeaways from J.B. Bickerstaff recent conversations with media

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff signals to his players in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff signals to his players in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff high-fives Cleveland center Andre Drummond. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Takeaway #1 from Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s recent media availability: Pushing for competitive play before 2020-21

It’s clear that Bickerstaff and the Cavaliers want the club to have some sort of competitive play before the 2020-21 season, which is still a long ways away for non-Orlando teams.

Of course, this would not mean technically completely meaningful games, such as regular season games, but if Cavs’ young pieces such as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Kevin Porter Jr. were able to get in work in joint practices and/or a mini Summer League, that wouldn’t hurt.

3 ways the Cavs can maximize Kevin Porter Jr.'s play next season. light. Related Story

That’s of course assuming the teams/league takes proper safety precautions regarding COVID-19. I believe that can definitely be the case, though.

Anyway, a key quote regarding how Bickerstaff and the Cavs really want to play against other squads/have more team chemistry build toward next season, was as follows on that recent appearance on The Woj Pod, and noted that this ending can’t impact 2020-21.

This was transcribed by Fear The Sword’s Chris Manning.

"“We can’t allow this to impact next season,” Bickerstaff said. “The biggest thing for young, developing players is to play games. If they don’t get to play and experience against other NBA players, it is a disadvantage. Building chemistry, building rhythm, guys starting to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That’s a huge thing for all of your groups. We can’t afford to go into 2020-21 and be a step slow, a step behind because some of these teams will be a couple months removed from playing competitive playoff-level basketball. The league, our front offices, our coaches – we’ve all been in communication because we have to figure something out because it’s too important.”"

It’d be nice to see, given these comments by Bickerstaff with Woj, for Dylan Windler to be able to get in some competitive play/joint practices for his development before next season, too.

Windler, who shot 40.6 percent from three-point range in a four-year career at Belmont, per Sports Reference, is a player that could be a great floor spacing/shooting presence for the Cleveland Cavaliers in coming years. Albeit he did not play at all in 2019-20 due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, and we did not see that possibility last season.

Windler, had the Cavs had more regular season games in Orlando, could’ve reportedly made his debut, though, and I’d imagine he could be participating in potential joint practices/a mini Summer League before next season.

Plus, given Bickerstaff’s above comments, considering that the Cavs only got to see Andre Drummond active with the group in eight games after being acquired near the trade deadline, I’m sure that was tough for them.

It’s unclear if Drummond can be a particularly effective fit alongside Garland, Sexton, Kevin Love and others, but perhaps if he was able to improve his on-floor chemistry before next season with them, that could help the squad going forward into 2020-21. Drummond is reportedly likely to pick up his $28.8 million player option for next season, so that’s where I’m coming from there.

Anyhow, with this mini Summer League/joint practices having a target date in August, reportedly, I’d think Drummond could be a participant, but that’s not clear.

With him seemingly having a high possibility of being back next season, I’d think it’d be beneficial for him, however, to do so, especially after Bickerstaff’s comments in highlighting how important it is for teams to build chemistry on the floor.

Drummond did have a solid interior presence on both ends with Cleveland in his brief sample with 17.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, but with him being a non-shooter and not too capable of switching out in pick-and-roll perimeter coverage, more work with other Cavs would be meaningful before next season. That’s assuming he is back.

Drummond still could be valuable, but we’ll see. Either way, it is abundantly clear that Bickerstaff and the Cavs are pushing for the league to allow for non-Orlando teams to get in these joint practices/a mini Summer League before next season, to help build more chemistry and aid in the further development of young players.

In terms of the second takeaway from Bickerstaff’s recent media availability, that was regarding how the league is looking to help prevent racial injustice.