The Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot of pedigree on their roster. Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are All-Star guards on max contracts, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert are highly-paid successful players, and Evan Mobley was a top-3 pick and a defensive phenom. Kevin Love has a championship and five All-Star appearances under his belt.
Losing any of those players for an extended period of time would be a blow to the Cavs, but it would be an expected one. Less obvious is how the absence of a certain bench player has impacted the Cavs. He won’t ever make an All-Star game, and he’s under contract for just $1.9 million this season, but he is crucial nonetheless.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been hurting without a key role player. He’s not a star nor highly paid, but here is why the Cavs have been missing Dean Wade.
That player, if you haven’t guessed already, is Dean Wade. The undrafted forward out of Kansas State has grown from a non-guaranteed minimum contract to a critical role in the rotation. The Cavs don’t have another player who combines his set of skills on both ends of the court. Wade has missed the last six games due to knee bursitis, and his absence has been felt.
Wade is probable to return tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers, so the time is right to evaluate the loss of Wade on this team. How have the Cavs been hurting without Wade in the rotation? Let’s look at three areas.