The Guards, Part One
Sam Merrill was signed by the Cavaliers toward the end of last season via 10-day deal, and was essentially given a standard contract, but from here, his deal is non-guaranteed. He’s been a journeyman so far in the league. He was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans and then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2020 NBA Draft.
However, he was traded during the ensuing offseason to the Memphis Grizzlies. He was released by them back in January of 2022, then signed with the Sacramento Kings and then was released by them a couple of months later.
Now here in Cleveland, Merrill will try to stick on the Cavaliers roster while working on his toughness and technique while playing guard. The fact that he’s moved around so much could be either a good sign or a bad one for Merrill. Who’s going to come off the bench this next season for the Cavs behind Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell is still a bit up in the air. If Merrill can showcase his skills in these exhibition games in Vegas then he could become a contributing part of the team.
Craig Porter Jr.
The gritty guard from Wichita State has a story to tell and he guard keeps impressing coaches and organizations as he’s improved his game every step of the way. He averaged 13.5 points, six rebounds and five assists in his last season with the Shockers.
He also stayed put at Wichita State after the coach that recruited him Greg Marshall left the team. Porter didn’t enter the transfer portal like so many other players do these days.
Before college, it was a rough go of it as well as he grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He struggled in school with his academics and didn’t even play hoops for a while during that stretch. But now, he’s the newest member of the Cavaliers and recently signed a two-way contract so he will likely split his season between the big league team and the G League team.
The kid is an outstanding defensive player and has excellent skills at jumping, blocking shots, and skiing for rebounds. Pay close attention to Porter in these games. He will not disappoint.
The former Ole Miss player is now 25 years old and has moved around a bit while being around the NBA. He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks and played for their G League team initially. He eventually landed with the Cavs and played for the Canton Charge in the last 11 games of their season. He averaged nine points while playing about 20 minutes a game.
He shoots the ball well and averaged about 44 percent from the floor and was taking about three three-pointers a game and knocking down 42 percent of them.