The Cleveland Cavaliers’ two biggest offseason additions came with their signing of Georges Niang via three-year, $25 million deal and then Cleveland acquiring Max Strus by way of sign-and-trade from the Miami Heat. Strus’ contract with Cleveland was for four years and $62.3 million.
Both of those free agency signings should give the Cavaliers’ offense an added perimeter shooting boost, and they should open up more room for Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley. Cleveland will have to iron some things out from a rotational standpoint to enable Strus and Niang to get into a rhythm as shooters, but in time, that shouldn’t necessarily be be a huge dilemma.
Strus and Niang made 197 and 154 three-point shots in the regular season for their former clubs in Miami and the Philadelphia 76ers, and in recent seasons, both have made their presences’ felt in the playoffs. The Cavaliers bringing those guys in was sensible, even if Strus’ contract might have been a bit of an overpay.
Although Niang might not have quite the volume of opportunities Strus could be in line to have as a deep shooter for Cleveland this upcoming season, what might be something to look out for from him, regarding his tangible impact?
One could point to a streak from him that may be flying a bit under the radar that’s fairly impressive for the stretch forward, involving his perimeter shooting.
If Niang keeps his streak of shooting 40.0 percent-plus from three, that’d be a positive indicator for the Cavs.
Niang shot 40.1 percent from three-point range last season for Philadelphia, and 40.3 percent in the 2021-22 campaign; his volume was 4.9 and 5.1 attempts per contest then for the Sixers. In those past two seasons, he’s placed in the 87th and 77th percentile in spot-up shooting scoring, per Synergy Sports.
Furthermore, in the three prior seasons to then, he hit 42.5, 40.0 percent and 41.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc for the Utah Jazz, when his average volume over that span was 3.2 per game.
Whichever way anybody would want to slice it, he’s been able to prove himself as a knockdown catch-and-shoot player over that time.
In the past four seasons, in particular, he’s been a productive rotational shooter as he gotten more opportunities, and the Cavaliers are hoping that type of play continues in upcoming seasons to make things easier for Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, among others. Niang has familiarity with Mitchell as well, with the Jazz connection, which should hopefully bode well.
It’s going to take some games for Cleveland to get their rotational trends down, and it’ll depend on gameflow to some extent, but when Niang is in games, his shooting and effect as a spacer should leave an imprint.
His volume will probably be vary somewhat with the others involved as deep threats of course, however, with the track record he’s had for several seasons, defenses will have to continually account for him. At least in theory, that from Niang should have an impact in stretches of contests for Cleveland, and hopefully, he can be a meaningful playoff contributor as well.
Time will tell as far as Niang’s efficiency for the Cavs, but based on how his recent seasons have been, he could again end up being a 40.0-plus percent deep shooter in his minutes.
That should prove to be a positive indicator if so, or near that, based on his volume for some time.