One of the biggest disappointments of the Cleveland Cavaliers 2022-23 season was the play of their bench. While the play of the players that came off the bench wasn’t the best, part of the poor play was a result of their head coach J.B. Bickerstaff playing his bench very little compared to the rest of the NBA.
Some will say that the coach couldn’t play his bench because they weren’t any good, but if you look back at the time he gave his bench to actually play, it was one of the fewest of any squad in the NBA. They were used the third-least of any team in the NBA at only an 80 minute-per-game average. Players on the Cleveland bench were never given the necessary time to really contribute in any significant way.
So, as we take a look at how the bench of the Wine and Gold this next season will be better, I have to add a disclaimer that all of this hinges on the concept of Bickerstaff actually trusting his players and giving them their time to help the whole team out. I’m not yet sold on this idea but I’m going to show how, if the coach does his job, then this Cavs team will be so much better than last season.
To that point, here’s three ways the Cavaliers bench will be better in the 2023-24 campaign.
We’ll begin with the first involving more reliable guys to trust.
No. 1: More consistency and quality
A few weeks ago the Cavs parted ways with both Lamar Stevens and Cedi Osman, who were both popular players of many Cleveland fans. Neither was a star but they routinely stepped up from time to time and made us all think that they would really help this team win a title.
However, they were also inconsistent when they played and when given chances in many other games they couldn’t deliver. Part of that problem was also because of their coach not understanding how to play certain players on the team, though.
Regardless, they are now gone by way of the sign-and-trade move for Max Strus, and in has come Strus, Georges Niang, Ty Jerome and Damian Jones. Strus may become a starter as he took on that role when he was with the Miami Heat last season. These new Cavs players have shown some better, consistent play in their basketball careers.
Niang has increased his three-point shooting every season over the last five. In the last two seasons, he’s shot 771 of them and made 310 for a 40 percent rate. For comparison’s sake, former Cavaliers player Cedi Osman totaled 671 three-point attempts in his last two seasons for a 36 percent clip.
Jerome has simply been solid in his production while on the court. He won’t blow you away in any particular offensive category but he contributes in many areas. Also, he’s a good defender and will help the team when his number is called.
He increased his two-point shooting by shooting 56 percent from the floor on 152 shot attempts. Jerome can give the Cavs 15 to 20 minutes off the bench and if he’s given that time, then the Cavaliers will be in good shape.