Cavs: Health aside, what does Dylan Windler need to show next season?

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler shoots the ball. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler shoots the ball. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The start to Dylan Windler‘s career has been an unfortunate one as injuries have hampered him early. Drafted out of Belmont in the 2019 NBA Draft, Windler was looked at as the ideal three-point specialist to add to the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ core.

Standing at 6-foot-6, 196 pounds, Windler also has the ability to play multiple positions which is ideal in today’s NBA. Everything was going well for Windler until training camp where he sustained a lower leg stress reaction injury that would require surgery.

Windler would attempt a mid-season comeback but had a setback and was ultimately ruled out for the entire 2019-20 season. This season, just nine minutes into his rookie season, Windler would fracture the fourth metacarpal on his left hand on what can be deemed a freak accident, and later on in the season, he would have what turned out to be season-ending left knee surgery.

Windler had been out for a good chunk of games leading up to that point, in which the surgery was last week. And he while he was then set to be out indefinitely, he’ll reportedly be likely out through Summer League to come.

Windler playing in just 31 out of a potential 145 games through two seasons leaves his long-term future in Cleveland in question, seemingly. Add that he will be 25 by next season’s start and the Cavs are most likely to acquire another wing player in the offseason, you can see why there seems to be a sense of urgency for him to perform.

The good thing for Windler is that he’s showcased that he can do more than just shoot the ball and his shooting does not have to be off the charts for him to get minutes on the team. His 6-foot-10 wingspan allows for him to get great swipes at the ball and plucks, as well as alter shots against those who are smaller than him.

One of Windler’s biggest pluses was his rebounding ability for a wing and this has continued in the league. Of all players 6-foot-7 and under who have been playing at least 15 minutes a game this season, Windler comes in at 10th in rebounding percentage, according to

Offensively, aside from shooting, we have seen Windler continue to try and make the right plays. For someone who is looked at as a three-point specialist, it may be surprising that the majority of his shots came in the paint. And in the restricted area, he shot 60.5 percent, which has been 2.0 percent higher than the league average, according to StatMuse.

So what does Windler need to show in his burn next season for the Cavs?

For Windler, at the very least, showing consistency and an improved jump shot will be key for him in the minutes that the Cavaliers give him. In then-media availability during a stretch where Windler went nine-of-nine from three, he talked about how receiving passes off movement is better than just standing in the corner and hoisting up late shot clock looks, via Spencer Davies of

These quotes make sense seeing as Windler found success at Belmont scoring off handoffs and off-ball screens. Also, an increased pace could benefit Windler as he could get high percentage looks in transition from players such as Darius Garland and Collin Sexton.

Albeit for Windler to improve, it will also be up to the Cavaliers to get him those similar looks. If he’s able to improve on his shooting along with continuing to always make the right plays, finish strong at the rim as he has, and play solid team defense, he can re-establish himself as a prime piece for this Cavs’ team.

Looking at the roster, Cedi Osman seems to be someone the Cavs could feasibly look to move on from this offseason, and Taurean Prince is another name who could be moved. And both of those guys were pieces mentioned in trade rumors leading up to the league’s March 25 deadline for this season, for further context.

With this in mind, the off-bench wing position may be up for Windler to lose and it’s in his hands to assert himself into the primary rotation.

Next. The Cavs need to focus on these 3 things next season. dark

This is making for a do-or-die season for Windler to come and by next year’s trade deadline, we will likely have a much better understanding of what Windler’s future on the team looks like.