Hitting corner triples more would pay dividends for Cavs’ Alfonzo McKinnie

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Alfonzo McKinnie runs down the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Alfonzo McKinnie runs down the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Alfonzo McKinnie is mostly a defensive rotational piece for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but hitting corner three-pointers should be a focus area for him.

Alfonzo McKinnie, while his deal is non-guaranteed for next season/two more following that, is a piece that should stick around with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

To be clear, McKinnie shouldn’t be relied on to score a bunch in his minutes off the bench. That’s not McKinnie’s role. Where he has value, though, is in his ability to defend 3’s and 4’s, where he does a good job deterring drives, and he does a nice job in getting through off-ball screens to contest.

The 27-year-old McKinnie has the instincts to time up deflections/get steals after making plays in passing lanes, too. He averaged 1.4 steals per-36 minutes in 2019-20, per Basketball Reference.

From there, it is also evident that McKinnie is a player that thrives in the open floor on the break, where he is a more than capable finisher and he times up his cuts well in those situations.

That cutting ability/highly capable finishing from McKinnie is the same way in settled offense, too. With his strength and body control, he’s consistently made his presence his felt in that regard off deliveries from Kevin Porter Jr. and Larry Nance Jr., even while it’s not as if McKinnie’s a key option off the bench.

McKinnie only averaged 4.6 points in 14.8 per game this past season with the Cavaliers, but again, as a finisher near the rim, he did well. In the restricted area, he hit a healthy 65.7 percent of his attempts, per NBA.com’s shooting data, and for a rotational wing, I’ll take that clip.

For McKinnie on the offensive end, though, while I don’t expect him to be a floor spacer, really, it would pay off for him to pair that finishing with being more viable from the corner on spot-ups.

A point of emphasis for McKinnie as a reserve contributor for the Cleveland Cavaliers should be being more efficient on corner three-pointers.

Again, McKinnie, who has a scoring average of 4.3 points in 13.1 minutes per outing in 126 career appearances, is not a player that is a key scoring option. In perhaps coming years, though, it still would pay dividends for him to be more viable as a corner three-point shooter when the opportunities arise.

In 2019-20, McKinnie hit only 21.5 percent from downtown and just 27.6 percent of his corner triple attempts, which constituted 44.6 percent of his three-point attempts. With the Golden State Warriors in 2018-19, granted the team was star-studded, McKinnie shot better at 33.3 percent, per Basketball Reference.

Regardless, with the attention pieces such as KPJ, at times Collin Sexton and/or Kevin Love will draw, in his minutes on the floor, defenses will be closing out slow to McKinnie, to prevent straight-line drives more so from him.

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Considering that, while it’s no way a guarantee, it seems reasonable that he should be able to be more respectable from the corner as he gets more comfortable with the Wine and Gold.

McKinnie is not going to be a floor spacing presence, really, but if he were able to knock down 34-35.0 percent of his corner three-point attempts, that’d again pay dividends for him in his minutes off the bench, and for Cleveland.

Dylan Windler, who did not play at all in 2019-20 due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, should help open more space for McKinnie as well.

If Windler, who hit 42.9 percent from three-point range as a senior at Belmont, per Sports Reference, is able to be mostly healthy next season, he is a potential knockdown shooter for the Cavs off the bench. Plus, with good ball movement feel, he could aid McKinnie, too.

Going forward, while McKinnie is not going to be relied on as a key offensive option, he is again still a good cutter and finisher, but hitting triples more from the corner would pay dividends for him in his minutes off the bench. That’d only help his argument for sticking around, too, and I believe he probably should.

McKinnie is a nice rotational 3/4 option for the Cleveland Cavaliers because of what he brings on/off-ball defensively, though. That said, hitting those corner triples more, perhaps at around 35.0-plus percent, should be an area of focus for him.

If he stays healthy, that could be the case.

McKinnie, who was previously signed to two 10-day deals this past season, and then given a multi-year deal.

Those next three years are non-guaranteed again, but he was starting to find his groove more, before unfortunately missing an eight-game stretch post-All-Star leading into the season’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus because of plantar fasciitis. The Cavs’ 2019-20 is of course done now, too, ultimately.

Next. Making extra passes more would pay off for Collin Sexton. dark

Anyway, if McKinnie can be a viable three-point shooter from the corner in 2020-21/looking onward, that’d pay off and help out the likes of Nance, KPJ and others.