No. 1: Niang gives the rotation a knockdown stretch big again
He wasn’t nearly the sharpshooting presence off the bench he was in the 2021-22 season for Cleveland because of a thumb injury, but Kevin Love’s shooting reputation was still meaningful this now-past season before his eventual buyout. Love had fallen out of the rotation prior to his buyout agreement with the Cavaliers post-trade deadline, and has since re-signed with the Miami Heat, who picked him up following that release.
Generally, though, despite his struggles with the Cavs in the 2022-23 campaign, not having him around did still lead to Cleveland not having a big with a knockdown shooting reputation in the rotation anymore.
Fortunately, the Cavaliers do have that type of contributor again with this signing of Niang.
Niang connected on 40.1 percent of his three-point attempts last season with the 76ers, and 40.3 percent of his deep tries the season prior with them. Including his previous two seasons before that with the Jazz, Niang has converted on 40.7 percent of his deep attempts over the last four seasons, on what’s been 4.4 attempts per contest.
Niang is not nearly the movement shooter Love was for the Cavs when healthy and in-rhythm, but he’s made 154, 156 and 124 three-point shots over the past three regular seasons with the Sixers and Jazz. In his minutes on the floor with Cleveland, he should give Darius Garland, Niang’s former teammate in Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers in general, a heck of a kickout and ball-swing target for catch-and-shoot looks.
It will pay dividends for Cleveland’s rotation to have Niang’s stretch big capabilities out there as a spacer for extended stretches, and in the playoffs, hopefully. He didn’t nearly the volume he had in the regular season in the 2023 playoffs with Philly, but he did hit 46.2 percent of his 2.4 deep attempts per game then, in two rounds.