Cleveland Cavaliers: Who was best bench player in 2020-21?

Cleveland Cavaliers bigs Dean Wade (#32) and Larry Nance Jr. (#22) celebrate in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers bigs Dean Wade (#32) and Larry Nance Jr. (#22) celebrate in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers huddle before the start of a game. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers were often crippled by injury this now-past season, and the condensed schedule didn’t aid them in that way.

On a positive note in that realm though, aside from the growth of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland throughout the season, it did lead to a number of young pieces getting their share of meaningful playing time that may have benefited from that sort of thing.

Guys such as Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens come to mind in that regard, and Stevens, particularly when Kevin Love and also Larry Nance Jr. were sidelined. Stevens did still get some playing time following when both were available, albeit it was more so before the closing stretch of the season.

He did prove to be a quality defender, regardless, and Cleveland eventually signing him to a multi-year deal with the years following this now-past season non-guaranteed was a smart move, I believe.

In terms of other bench pieces that made their presence felt, in particular, the likes of Taurean Prince, JaVale McGee pre-trade deadline and then Isaiah Hartenstein post-deadline were noteworthy in 2020-21.

Matthew Dellavedova, from a primary playmaking standpoint when he was available, was impactful, too, as evidenced by his 9.3 assists per-36 minutes. But his lack of scoring capabilities and injury woes make it very difficult for him to foresee him being back next season.

Anyway, while Cleveland’s bench next season would greatly benefit from a presence such as a T.J. McConnell, Patty Mills or Frank Ntilikina I believe, as potential free agency targets, there were plenty of nice moments/games from individual guys. And here, we’ll touch on a few of the best bench performers from this now-past season/highlight who was the best one in a general sense.

The three Cavs players that were in the conversation for that were McGee, Prince and Wade.

We’ll first look back at McGee and Prince’s contributions.