The Cleveland Cavaliers’ biggest need this offseason related to bringing in players that can shoot the basketball. It looks like Koby Altman acknowledged that, as the Cavs inked veteran sharpshooter Georges Niang to a three-year, $26 million deal on the first day of free agency.
Niang is coming to a Cavaliers team that was devoid of shooting in the playoffs. The Cavs shot 33 percent from three-point range in their playoff loss to the New York Knicks, and their lack of floor spacers allowed the Knicks to pack the paint and really stifle the Cavs offense. From Isaac Okoro not taking threes to other guys just bricking them, the Cavs’ shooting was not pretty.
Fortunately, Niang is one of the best floor spacing role players on the market and the Cavs got him at a great price. Given that shooters come at a premium in free agency, Niang’s deal is almost a bargain. Not only are Cavs fans going to love Niang’s price, but they are also going to love what he brings to this team.
Here are two reasons why Niang will quickly become a Cavs fan favorite.
The first one is obvious.
Reason No. 1: He can shoot the LIGHTS out.
The great thing about Niang is that he can shoot the LIGHTS out. He is coming off a season where he shot 40.1 percent from three-point range, making it five consecutive seasons of him shooting at least 40 percent from three. Niang also had 29 games of three or more threes last season, including a game in November where he went 7-of-10 against the Phoenix Suns. In addition to that, Niang shot 53 percent on corner threes last season, which would have been the best on the Cavs.
Niang’s shooting also translates in the playoffs as well, as he has shot 38 percent from three in 46 career postseason games. For Niang’s career, 70 percent of his shots have come from three-point range and the Cavs needed a specialist like him off the bench.
Niang is also the replacement the Cavs need for Kevin Love, too. Dean Wade was largely expected to fill that role for them, but he struggled mightily in the second half of the season and the playoffs, and coming off a shoulder injury didn’t help Wade. Hopefully he can find his niche again, but Niang is an experienced and consistent shooter that the Cavaliers sorely needed.
Reason No. 2: Playoff experience
Another great thing about Niang is that he has a wealth of playoff experience. He has played in 46 playoff games in his career, and that would be the most on the Cavs entire roster, including Donovan Mitchell. Niang has been there before and knows what it takes to win in the postseason.
While he has not made it past the second round due to the bad luck of the Philadelphia 76ers, Niang can help a young Cavs team when it comes to postseason knowledge. Niang has also played with Mitchell in the playoffs, so that familiarity helps out as well. Niang can pass on the lessons he learned to younger guys, specifically Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, who need those lessons. Having a great veteran locker room presence like that is vital for the Cavaliers, and will only make their team culture even stronger.
Niang may not be the blockbuster move Cavs fans were looking for this offseason, but he fills a HUGE need on the Cavs roster. He can step in and contribute right away and make them a better team as a stretch forward.
Clearly, Cavs fans are going to love Georges Niang.