Cavaliers need shooters to capitalize on their dynamic duo

Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /
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When the Orlando Magic made their run to the 2009 NBA Finals, a run in which they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, it was because they surrounded Dwight Howard with shooters like Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, J.J. Redick, Mickael Pietrus, and Courtney Lee. The Magic were innovators by utilizing this strategy of surrounding their star with shooting.

When the Miami Heat won back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013, they surrounded Dwayne Wade and LeBron James with shooters like Hall of Famer Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers (who has a knack for making big shots), James Jones, and Lewis (although Jones and Lewis didn’t play much in the 2013 Finals against the Spurs).

When LeBron came back to Cleveland for his second run, from 2015-2018, the Cavs tried to implement the same formula of surrounding their star with shooters. The Warriors dynasty has been supported by great shooting, although the best shooting comes from the “Splash Brothers” Steph and Klay.

Regardless, there is a track record of teams succeeding in the modern NBA when they invest in shooters. If the Cavaliers want to capitalize on their dynamic duo of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, they’ll need to surround them with shooters.

The Cleveland Cavaliers need to find shooting to truly contend

Prior to this past season, the Cavaliers hadn’t made the playoffs since 2018 when they got swept by the Golden State Warriors (a team full of shooters) in the NBA Finals, but they ended that drought as they captured the No. 4 seed in the East. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers ran into their kryptonite and the New York Knicks took them out in five games. If they had more shooters to surround Garland and Mitchell, the Cavs could have beaten the Knicks, and instead, they’d have faced the Miami Heat in the Second Round.

Garland and Mitchell can both shoot the mid-range and three-pointer. Mitchell set the franchise record for three-pointers made in a single season, passing JR Smith’s mark in 2015-16. However, the offense flows best when they are getting to the rim. In order for them to do that, they need to be surrounded by shooters that spread out the defense and give them room to operate.