Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 ways FA target T.J. McConnell would help CLE

Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell handles the ball. (Photo by Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell handles the ball. (Photo by Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports) /
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T.J. McConnell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell steals the ball from Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant. (Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

#2: How McConnell would help the Cavs defense

The 6-foot-1 McConnell is a solid defender against opposing point guards, and with the style of defense he plays, is a 94-feet-of-annoyance-type defender in that way. As a result, he’s typically capable of setting the tone in his minutes in that realm, and it can take opponents out of rhythm, and cause them to have trouble getting into their set offense.

That sort of thing could really make a difference for spurts/stretches for the Cavaliers, and it could enable them to jump their share of passing lanes and/or really get into opposing shooters.

He’d help the squad’s team defense in his bench minutes, and feasibly at times if injuries occurred, as a spot starter, too.

In terms of the team defensive sense, Larry Nance Jr., when healthy, has proven to be one of the league’s more impactful disruptors in passing lanes, and had he played more, would’ve qualified as likely being in the top three among league leaders in steals per game last season. The same would’ve went in relation to deflections per game; Nance was fourth in that metric, for one, at 3.4, per’s player hustle data.

On that subject, though, McConnell was second in steals per contest last season at 1.9, and third in deflections per game at 3.5.

So clearly, similarly to Nance, albeit from a guard’s standpoint, McConnell’s feel for playing passing lanes and getting deflections could allow the Cavs to get their share of transition looks going the other way in stretches, and that’d give Cleveland energy in games.

It’d lead to opponents perhaps at times being more deterred from hitting skip feeds, and with Jarrett Allen behind him, McConnell with his ball pressure could seemingly take opponents out of rhythm and/or speed them up, too.

So, overall, if the Cavs were to sign him in upcoming free agency, of which is set to begin on August 6, it’s apparent that they’d be getting an impact defender off the bench in the 29-year-old McConnell.

Moving on, last but not least, McConnell could provide Cleveland with another nice pull-up shooter/driver.