Although Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley were great on the interior during the regular season, Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein proved to be too physical for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ duo in the postseason. Robinson had his way on the offensive glass and provided countless second chances for the New York Knicks offense. New York was able to pack the paint because Mobley and Allen couldn’t stretch the floor, allowing the Knicks’ big men to dominate the series.
Heading into the offseason, the obvious need on the Cavs’ list is wing depth. However, securing a quality big man could create the ability to run diverse lineups and adapt based on the opponents’ strengths. J.B. Bickerstaff has faced criticism for his lack of adjustments in the five-game series.
While he could have performed better, like everyone else in the organization, his options to make significant changes were limited due to the bench players being too similar to each other. Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens, and Dean Wade all played roles in getting the team to the postseason but were inconsistent in shooting the three, which limited their effectiveness against New York.
Look for versatile big men
The Cavs couldn’t rely solely on two big men to handle Mitchell Robinson, so how do they plan to defend against Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and other dominant paint players? The most crucial adjustment the Cavaliers needed to make against New York was to add shooting while ensuring they could still contain Jalen Brunson and maintain control in the paint. Allen and Mobley weren’t performing well enough to justify having both of them on the court, as it disrupted spacing.
If the organization intends to continue with them together in the long term, they need versatile options to be able to creatively manage their minutes. Here are three versatile big men the Cavaliers should consider signing in free agency.