3 reasons why the Cavs are elite contenders in East after free agency

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Max Strus, Miami Heat. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

Reason No. 2: The Cavs’ shooting got A LOT better

The main weakness on the Cavs roster was their lack of shooting, and that reared its ugly head in the playoffs. Cleveland shot 33 percent from three-point range against the Knicks, including an ugly 13-of-56 from there in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden. That is 23 percent.

Sure, the two greatest players of all time wore the number 23, but that is not a number you want to shoot from three. If you are going to have two non-shooting bigs in Mobley and Allen on the court, you need to have a sharpshooter next to them.

Fortunately, the Cavaliers brought in Max Strus and Georges Niang to fix that problem. Yes, they traded fan favorites Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens, but neither of those guys had the playoff experience or shooting ability of Strus and Niang.

Strus is a 37 percent three-point shooter for his career and Niang is at 40 percent for his. The two have also combined for 89 playoff games, bringing their playoff experience to a young Cavs team that could use some. Strus and Niang also combined to hit 351 threes last season. As a team last season, the Cavs made 950 threes, which was 19th in the league.

If one were to swap Osman and Stevens with Strus and Niang last season, the Cavs would have hit 1,155 total threes. That would have been good enough for fifth in the NBA.

Strus and Niang drastically improve the shooting of the Cavs and the numbers back it up. The Wine and Gold may have had to give a combined $89 million to those two guys, but they needed to add another dimension to their compact offense.