Key Takeaway No. 2: Sam Merrill needs more minutes
Sam Merrill was the star of the show in this game. He had 27 points, and also knocked down eight of his 11 three-point attempts. Every time Merrill got himself off of a screen, he had the confidence and poise to be able to knock down a triple.
Merrill’s jump shot is really quick. Defenders barely have time to react to his shot, and by that point, the ball will be already out of his hands. Merrill is a career 37.5 percent three-point shooter. Granted, he’s only played 41 games in his whole NBA career, and has only averaged 8.5 minutes per game in those games.
In college, where Merrill got a lot of minutes, he was a career 42.0 percent three-point shooter at Utah State. That percentage shows that Merrill has the ability to be an incredible, knockdown shooter. Having a player like Merrill in the lineup could really open the floor for the Cavs’ slashers, such as Donovan Mitchell and Isaac Okoro.
The commentators mentioned in the game that Merrill was the new best sharpshooter in Summer League history. Max Strus had the previous record of seven three-pointers in a singular Summer League game, but as of now, his new teammate, Sam Merrill, owns that title.
The Cavs’ backcourt depth is full as of now. Ty Jerome, Ricky Rubio, Caris LeVert, Max Strus, and Isaac Okoro are all players who can play either backup point guard or backup shooting guard. But as a differentiator, Merrill has something that none of those players have, and that is deadly accuracy from beyond the arc. That could be a reason why he could get more minutes come regular season, even if it’s a long shot.
The Cavaliers could get their first Summer League championship this year, considering how well their team has played together. As of now, it’s too early to tell. Fortunately, there is a good chance that they’ll be in the semifinal round, as the four teams with highest scores will be in competition for that championship.
As of now the Cavaliers have a good shot it seems.