No. 2: Niang gives Cleveland valuable energy minutes, a player who can play in multiple lineups
The biggest way Niang should help the Cavaliers is with his perimeter shooting, which we’ve demonstrated here. His shooting over the past four seasons speaks for itself, and the added spacing he’ll provide should go a long way for various on-ball options.
What’s important to note from him as well is how Niang should give this Cleveland bench a spark. The catch-and-shoot play will be the key there, but along with that element, Niang’s hustle, cutting abilities and transition finishing can all help the Cavaliers, too.
It’s not necessarily going to be a notable portion of his shot diet game-to-game, however, Niang is underrated as a transition target with his knack for finding open space, leaking to the wing and making quick decisions to either hoist from three, make skip passes or attack closeouts. Those sort of plays can ignite runs, and they are ways to get a team juice throughout contests.
Additionally, kind of in the same second realistic expectation for this Niang signing, his shooting and added spacing, and effectiveness as an off-ball player could lead to him having success at the 4, but also in some stretches at the 3 for Cleveland.
Granted, one would assume the majority of Niang’s minutes come at the 4, with Evan Mobley/Jarrett Allen at the 5. Even with that likely being the case, with Niang being a knockdown threat, decent ball-mover and heady cutter, he could theoretically play in some lineups with Mobley and Allen, or in potentially for spurts in other lineups with two other bigs.
All in all, Niang was a solid pickup for the Cavaliers to have for their shooting efforts, and his off-ball contributions should definitely make a difference for the Wine and Gold’s bench.