Georges Niang was one of the two snipers the Cleveland Cavaliers brought in this offseason to bolster their three-point shooting. The other player that fit that mold was Max Strus, who was acquired via sign-and-trade from the Miami Heat, in what was a transaction involving the San Antonio Spurs as well.
Niang/his representation and the Cavaliers agreed to terms on a three-year, $25 million contract, whereas Strus’ deal was Cleveland’s biggest signing in free agency with him set to make $62.3 million over a four-year span.
No matter the compensation levels, both Niang and Strus fit the profile of knockdown catch-and-shoot targets for Cleveland’s key options to look to for kickouts, skip feeds and ball-swings deliveries. Strus is also a heck of a movement shooter, and he should have a variety of looks with Cleveland next year.
Niang would seem likely to have more of a bench role it appears, but he’ll still have plenty of opportunities, one would assume, in his minutes on the floor as one of Cleveland’s key subs. He was brought in to shoot the rock, and he’ll do just that.
So when looking at this next 2023-24 season, what would a successful year look like for Niang with the Cavs?
Niang was brought to Cleveland to be a knockdown catch-and-shoot guy, and whether or not he at times starts here and there, he’ll likely have his share of chances to be just that.
Over the last four seasons, Niang has connected on 40.7 percent of his deep attempts, with the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz. In the past two regular seasons with the Sixers, he’s hit 154 and 156 three-point shots, and had his moments in the postseason as well, when he’s shot 46.2 and 37.2 percent from deep, though his minutes have been reduced then.
It’s abundantly clear why Niang was brought on-board with the Wine and Gold, anyway. With the way he can space and shoot the floor, and occasionally play as a pick-and-pop guy, he should help playmakers such as Darius Garland, his longtime Jazz teammate in Donovan Mitchell and others, like Caris LeVert.
While the volume is naturally going to fluctuate some with him as a role piece and likely rotational contributor, Niang’s shooting could lead to him being a real factor in potential closing lineups, and he should prove valuable for Cleveland.
Also, despite most of his shot diet feasibly coming from set spot-ups/ball-swings, he’ll be a capable trailing shooter in secondary transition situations to look to, a la Kevin Love before. And Niang can make some plays to counter hard closeouts as a crafty finisher on some floaters and push shots. That’s something to keep in mind for how his skill set can help the Wine and Gold, too, for what it’s worth.
Regarding the overall play for him for 2023-234, for Niang, if he were able to keep his streak of hitting 40.0-plus percent of his three-point attempts next season, that’d of course be a positive indicator of how he’s doing for the Cavaliers. Hopefully, he can be an impactful rotational player for the Cavs come the postseason as well, to that point.
It remains to be seen if Niang will be a closing lineup player, as he’s not the greatest defensively with quickness limitations and he’s not going to be a defensive playmaker, per se. But if he’s a knockdown shooting forward, he should prove to be a good bench contributor.
The 30-year-old Niang was a sensible signing by Cleveland, and for stretches, he should be able to function competently either with Jarrett Allen or Evan Mobley. In some lineups, him playing the 3 could work in spurts as well.