3 Cavaliers that should play more, 2 that should play less

Dean Wade and Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Dean Wade and Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Dean Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

No. 1: Dean Wade needs to play more

Dean Wade is a contentious topic of conversation among most Cavaliers fans. Some are convinced that Wade’s new contract is a waste of guaranteed money, that he is “just a guy” and the Cavs need to use his salary as matching salary in a trade for another wing. Others believe he is the perfect glue guy for a lot of lineups and that injuries played a part in his up-and-down season.

The answer will be officially provided this season and likely not before, but the evidence is certainly much stronger for the second group. When Dean Wade is on the court the Cavaliers play better. That was true last season even in the midst of his injuries and poor shooting: when he was on the court, the Cavs had a +2.4 point differential. His two most-used lineups, with Wade playing small forward with a mix of the starters and Caris LeVert, were around +22 points per 100 possessions.

That’s been the story for years with Wade; the Cavs’ best lineups have featured Wade playing either forward position. He has barely received any run as a starter, but the Cavs clearly understood his value to some extent, handing him a three-year contract extension that kicks in this season.

Wade will need to workshop his jumper this summer; it was clearly off when he returned from injury. But his defense, rebounding, ball movement and shooting come together in a player who deserves not only to play more than he did last season; he is likely the best option to start.