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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Taurean Prince, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers wing/forward Taurean Prince reacts in-game. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

What the Cavs got from McGee and Prince, and a bit on Hartenstein first

As a brief side note, what the Cavaliers got from Hartenstein post-deadline was quite the boost, as in his first time having a consistent role in his NBA career thus far, he was given meaningful minutes game-to-game, when healthy at least.

Hartenstein, who came over near the deadline along with two future second-round picks from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for McGee, had 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 blocks in 17.9 minutes per outing in 16 appearances with Cleveland.

I’d hope that the Cavs end up being able to re-sign this offseason, too, assuming he doesn’t pick up his $1.8 million player option, given how effective he was as a backup 5 before ending out mostly sidelined due to a concussion.

The limited number of appearances for Hartenstein with the Cavaliers, in this piece’s case, led to the omission of him though.

Swinging back then, McGee I thought did a solid job for the most part with Cleveland in the half-season he spent with them off the bench.

McGee, who was initially acquired via trade before the season from the Los Angeles Lakers, to go with a future second-round pick, had 8.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 15.2 minutes per contest with the Cavaliers.

While there were times shortly after Jarrett Allen was acquired via trade from the Brooklyn Nets (to go with Prince) and Andre Drummond was still in the lineup (before he was sitting prior to an eventual buyout) that had DNPs, McGee again did make his presence felt.

For the most part, I thought McGee was productive on the interior in his minutes-share, and even at 33, provided energy and was a quality rotational player as a lob threat and occasional post presence. There were some rough moments for him, but McGee was a pro’s pro for a mostly-young Cavs team, and his shot blocking/altering was still viable.

His leadership seemingly on and off the floor shouldn’t have been discounted either; it was a short, but fun stint involving McGee with Cleveland, and I’m very appreciative of what he had gave the Cavs before having been dealt.

We’ll then touch on Prince a bit from there.

Prince, who was as noted, the other piece acquired from Brooklyn earlier on in the season, was more often than not a capable shooter/scoring presence off the bench for Cleveland when available.

In 29 appearances, he had 10.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 23.7 minutes per outing post-trade, and most notably, hit 41.5 percent of his 4.1 three-point attempts per outing with the Cavs in 2020-21.

Prince’s catch-and-shoot abilities, which included some off-movement at times and via spot-ups off ball-swings/kickouts, was on display a good amount when he was able to go. Along with that, the on-ball shot creation from him was seen a considerable amount in rotational minutes, whether he was at the 3 or 4 in his playing time. I don’t gloss over that.

Granted, for Taurean, it was unfortunate for him that was sidelined for stretches, which included some games earlier on regarding an ankle injury, then a 10-game absence with games piling up with the schedule format in March, and his season ended out earlier.

That was due to left ankle surgery, and although he was managing it well it appeared and he hit 42.6 percent of his threes in his last 12 games active, I understand his camp/the Cavs having him get that done. He was reportedly expected to have that happen in the offseason before, too.

Now, Prince was previously a key player mentioned in trade rumors, as was the case with Cedi Osman, before the deadline, and it’d seem that he could end up being dealt before or during next season. But even with him set to be expiring after next season, with his shot creation capabilities, I could maybe see him sticking around through next year/perhaps back.

His absences were tough, though. That led to my decision having been Wade.

Lastly, we’ll hit on why I had Wade as the Cavs’ top bench player for 2020-21.

We’ll get into that now.