Cleveland Cavaliers: Two expectations for the bench in 2020-21

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Damyean Dotson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers guard/wing Damyean Dotson looks to make a play. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

Cavs bench expectation #1: Show competence on both offense and defense

For teams without multiple superstars, having a competent bench is crucial to have success as a squad. Looking at bench statistics, of the top 15 teams in bench points per game last season, 10 of them had made the Orlando bubble. These teams have all made the correct moves to add offensive and defensive punches off the bench, and the Cavaliers have seemed to follow that same guideline.

As stated above, key players expected to get minutes off of the Cavaliers’ bench are Kevin Porter Jr., Dante Exum, Isaac Okoro/Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Larry Nance Jr., JaVale McGee and Damyean Dotson, all of which provide certain aspects of basketball.

Looking at improved offensive competence from this unit, the additions of Windler and Dotson, as well as the potential of Osman moving to the bench, would give the Cavaliers much needed shooting off the bench, seeing as they were ranked 28th in bench three-point shooting last season. Looking at Windler, he was the 26th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and didn’t play during his rookie year due to injury.

He was known as a sniper during his college days at Belmont and in his senior year, he averaged 21.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, shooting 54.0 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range on 7.1 three-point attempts per game. Dotson and Osman are both multi-year players who have shot at least 36.0 percent from deep during a season, and their efforts will be noticed this upcoming season for the Cavs.

This added shooting will help to open up the offense more, keep the defense honest, and in an overall sense, improve the bench scoring for this team. Looking at bench scoring, where the Cavaliers rank in this department will be reliant on the jump that Porter Jr. makes in his game.

Drafted 30th overall in last year’s draft, Porter Jr. was traded to the Cavaliers for at the time four second-round picks and cash. That was then via deal with the Detroit Pistons, who acquired that pick originally via trade before with the Milwaukee Bucks.

In his first season with the Cavaliers, Porter Jr. showcased his athleticism, on-ball creation, playmaking abilities, and a better-than-advertised jumper. His potential is through the roof and he is someone that many don’t expect to come off the bench for long.

Until the time for him to start comes, he will continue to provide the Cavaliers with a scoring punch, and a go-to guy off the bench.

Defensively, the Cavaliers have added a lot of players with versatility. Guys like Exum, Porter Jr., Dotson, Osman, Windler, Nance Jr. and the potential of Okoro all have the ability to guard multiple positions. The Cavaliers also traded for McGee, someone who gives the Cavs a rim protector and a voice on defense for that back-up unit.

Building that chemistry on the bench will also play a big part in just how good that unit is for the Cavaliers and it will be interesting to see just how long all these players take to adjust to playing with each other.