A Cavs bench role for LeVert should be clear move post-Mitchell trade

Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports)
Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ recent trade acquisition of Donovan Mitchell being paired with Darius Garland in the backcourt, it was apparent, in my opinion, that the Wine and Gold should be back to prioritizing defense at the starting 3 spot.

For now, it would seem that guys such as Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert could be in line to start in that role, with the Evan Mobley-Jarrett Allen pairing in the starting frontcourt, but with the tall-ball success Cleveland had last season, I’d be in favor of Dean Wade getting that nod.

Wade’s defense has been underrated when he’s been regularly in the rotation, and playing off of Garland, Mitchell and Mobley for extended stretches, Wade could be very effective as an off-ball shooter.

He also did a solid job for the Cavaliers when he was needed in starts last season, and while it might not be necessarily a popular selection, I’d prefer Cleveland have him in that starting 3 role, at least to begin in the early portion of this coming season.

Circling back, though, when it comes to the aforementioned LeVert, with the recent Mitchell trade acquisition, LeVert should be in a bench role, ideally, I personally believe.

I’m sure LeVert could get some play with both Garland and Mitchell, but for stretches, in a bench role, he could be a meaningful shot creation presence when at least one of those players are getting a breather. Or, LeVert could function as a de facto lead guard at times in some matchups.

A Cavs bench role for LeVert should be a clear move post-Mitchell trade.

Prior to the trade last week, it was reportedly likely that LeVert was going to start at the 2 for Cleveland, prior to training camp that is. Now, perhaps he’ll slot in some matchups in starting at the 3 for the Cavaliers, but I’d much rather that be the route Cleveland goes involving Wade, for defense and LeVert/Okoro maybe to have more opportunities.

In LeVert’s case, his foot sprain post-All-Star break didn’t enable him to establish a rhythm consistently in his time following his trade acquisition from the Indiana Pacers.

He was better, in fairness, in his 10 appearances as a starter with the Cavs, as an aside. He had 15.8 points and 4.6 assists per contest, and shot 47.3 percent then, compared to in nine regular season games off the bench, him having 11.1 points and 3.2 assists, albeit with a shooting clip of 38.6 percent.

In any case, with Collin Sexton now on the Utah Jazz, Cleveland I think would be better-served to have LeVert as a bench shot creator.

I’m just not sure if he’ll be able to get looks in his preferred spots in potentially elongated stretches with Garland and Mitchell on the floor with him, along with feasibly Mobley, who seems primed for an offensive leap in Year 2.

Granted, I’d imagine we’ll see legit stretches with Garland, Mitchell and LeVert in there with defensive-oriented bigs with them. But, in general, to enable LeVert to have more on-ball opportunities at times, and/or some pick-and-roll work, him being able to have a larger role in bench units would be sensible.

The Cavs will have to figure things out involving other guys in the fold, though, and if LeVert is potentially an expiring trade piece, then it is what it is, if Cleveland possibly were to swing another deal with him as part of a package. We’ll have to see on that front, perhaps down the road.

In the mean time, in the scenario he is around, the Cavs should probably have LeVert as a bench guy to go to, or at least see how that is, and if needed, adjust accordingly.

Next. Predicting Mobley's stat line in 2022-23 season with Cavs. dark

Maybe when Ricky Rubio is back from his ACL injury recovery in seemingly December/January, Cleveland will have to recalibrate, or maybe that’s possibly when a move could theoretically be made.