Cleveland Cavaliers: Two key team offensive goals 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) /
2 of 3
Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love (#0) reacts during a game with his teammates. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Team goal #1 for the Cleveland Cavaliers offense in 2020-21: An assist rate in the top half of the NBA

It’s clear as day that Collin Sexton should be the Cavs’ primary option offensively next season.

Going into his third season in the league, Sexton will be coming off a season in which he led the Cavs in scoring with 20.8 points per game, and the Young Bull will be filling it up throughout stretches of games still in an unassisted way. That’s perfectly fine with me, but the Cavs’ ball movement needs to take precedent more in 2020-21.

Cleveland was showing that sort of thing early on this past season, but John Beilein clearly was not the right candidate to be a head coach of NBA players, and next year, there will be more give-and-take it seems.

Hopefully next year, though, Bickerstaff can have Darius Garland make quicker decisions more often to initiate the offense, and with highly capable big man secondary playmakers in Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. still helping getting the ball moving, that should aid Garland.

It was good to see Garland show real growth as a playmaker/decision-maker pre-hiatus and before he missed Cleveland’s last five games before the season’s suspension due to a left groin strain, though.

He had 4.9 assists to just 1.8 turnovers per outing on average in his last 10 games active, and I believe we’ll continue to see Garland improve as he gets more comfortable alongside Love, Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr., Cedi Osman, Nance and/or others.

light. Related Story. One key goal for Darius Garland for next season

Additionally, with KPJ having an encouraging 14.7 percent assist rate as a rookie, including an assist rate of 17.1 percent in his last 12 games active, with more on-ball creation opportunity for him next season, that should play into Cleveland getting more easy dump-offs and spray outs to shooters. Porter has the feel to see those looks, and we saw that more and more as his rookie year progressed.

Plus, with Dylan Windler seemingly in the fold next year as a heck of an off-ball threat, that should lead to quality man/ball movement within the offense a bunch when he’s on the floor. Along with that, Windler is a very capable ball-mover himself, and he should have terrific two-man games with KPJ and Nance.

Windler did not play at all in 2019-20 due to complications with a stress reaction in his left leg, but I’d expect to him much healthier next season and help the Cavs’ ball and man movement be more consistent throughout games.

I could very well see Matthew Dellavedova, who led Cleveland with 5.5 assists per game post-All-Star, aid in the ball movement realm next season, too. It seems to be a good possibility he could be re-signed as a solid reserve point guard/playmaking option that always gets others involved.

Anyhow, with more passing growth from Garland and KPJ, and at least continued progression in terms of hitting drive-and-kicks from Sexton’s end, I see a realistic and meaningful goal for Cleveland as being in the top half of the NBA in assist rate next season.

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

I understand the sample size was only 11 games, but the Cavs were showing better ball movement before Bickerstaff took the head coaching reigns, and I do give Beilein credit for that, to an extent.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were sixth in the league in assist rate post-All-Star break, though, and while they were only 24th on the year, that was very encouraging, and I believe Windler’s presence will lead to more productive ball-swings/reversals. With Bickerstaff seeming to get the squad bought in to playing for another and young pieces getting more in-tune with Love and others, this goal doesn’t seem too lofty to me.

Again, though, Sexton, KPJ and Love to a degree will get theirs, and I believe Windler can as well, and Garland should have more willingness to take over as a scorer at times.

Overall, however, if the Cavs’ playmaking is more of a focus throughout contests, there’d be much more offensive flow game-to-game, and more quality shots. Bickerstaff and company will stress that, of course, and it will resonate more so than with Beilein it seems.

The second 2020-21 Cleveland team offensive goal has to do with their perimeter shooting.