Cavaliers: 2 potential Matthew Dellavedova replacements

San Diego State Aztecs guard Malachi Flynn handles the ball. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
San Diego State Aztecs guard Malachi Flynn handles the ball. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images) /
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Dante Exum, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dante Exum lays the ball in. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

A Cleveland Cavaliers potential in-house Delly replacement: Dante Exum

Dante Exum was involved in the first trade of the 2019-20 NBA season for Cleveland along with then-multiple second-round picks from Utah for Jordan Clarkson. Besides his career game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, there wasn’t much to take away from Exum last season.

In 24 games played for the Cavaliers, Exum put up just 5.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 47.9 percent from the field and a career-high 35.1 percent from three-point land, albeit on 1.5 attempts per game. Despite what the stats may say, there is potential for Exum to be a key competent for this team with a bigger role.

Looking at his shooting, there is some hope there and the Cavaliers are a team known to improve their players’ shooting abilities. Guys such as Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr. and Collin Sexton have all improved their shots over time and Exum could follow in their footsteps.

Exum also has potential as a defender. His 6-foot-5 frame gives him the ability to play a combination of positions for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Pair that with his quick feet and reflexes and the Cavs may have something to work with there. Back in the 2018 playoffs, Exum was given the James Harden assignment and had success in it.

In 53 possessions that Exum guarded Harden during those playoffs, Harden had just 12 points on three-of-14 shooting, as h/t Andrew Bailey of then-SLC Dunk, and seemingly from stats gathered from matchup data. If Exum can tap back into his old self defensively, the Cavaliers could have a nice gem on their hands.

Making a prediction, I see Exum working well as an off-ball slasher alongside our young guards. Exum’s ability to hit the occasional three could help to keep defenses honest, and defensively, he should find success guarding multiple positions.

Exum has just one more year left on his deal so this upcoming season is a big one for him. On the Cavaliers, I would expect Exum to have opportunities to showcase his skills, and what he does with those opportunities will have a huge indication on his future in the NBA. Exum has to stay healthy, though, and for him, that is a huge if.

The second potential Dellavedova replacement could come via the 2020 NBA Draft, via second-round pick purchase, perhaps.