What Cavs FA target Pat Connaughton could provide

Milwaukee Bucks guard/wing Pat Connaughton reacts in-game. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks guard/wing Pat Connaughton reacts in-game. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Pat Connaughton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Milwaukee Bucks wing Pat Connaughton blocks a shot. (Photo by Ashley Landis – Pool/Getty Images) /

Solid wing defense/athleticism for the Cavs

Connaughton, who started to really get legitimate minutes with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017-18, came on some then and has been a nice rotational piece for the Milwaukee Bucks the past two seasons.

So if the Cavaliers were to sign him, he could provide added wing depth for the Wine and Gold, seemingly at the 2 and 3 spots. Connaughton, firstly, is a pretty competent defender on the perimeter, and though being on the Bucks aided him the past two years from a rim protection standpoint, he does a solid job in containing driving/pull-up threats.

And in the team defensive sense, Connaughton is active, and typically a willing and able helper when that’s needed, which could aid pieces such as Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. in stretches on the floor with them. Connaughton seems to take proper angles off-ball in his contests most of the time as well, which could aid Cleveland’s defense when he’s on the floor, in relief of Cedi Osman, for instance.

Another plus for Connaughton is his athleticism. He was a 2020 NBA Dunk Contest participant, and in that realm, Connaughton is explosive vertically.

That, along with Pat’s timing, leads to some putback dunks for him coming from the weak side, and his above-the-rim athleticism aids him in the finishing realm as a cutter, too, and/or occasionally after hard closeouts to him on straight-line drives. Let’s not discount that in the open floor, either.

Along with Connaughton being a really athletic wing offensively, while he might not aid nearly in the realm of the aforementioned Jones as a rotational helping shot blocker, Connaughton’s leaping ability and timing does allow him to help as a rotator on a number of occasions, too.

0.9 blocks per-36 minutes for Connaughton in 2019-20 demonstrated that, to an extent, and that could aid the Cavaliers in Connaughton’s would-be bench role in stretches.

Moving on, the other way Connaughton could help Cleveland following them signing him this upcoming free agency period could be his perimeter shooting, to an extent.