The Cavs cannot afford to fail to integrate their newest additions
The Cavaliers had an active summer, adding some of the league’s best spot-up shooters in Max Strus and Georges Niang. Additionally, they signed 6-foot-5 combo guard Ty Jerome on a team-friendly contract before trading for big man Damian Jones from the Jazz.
There is no certainty on how many minutes each of these players will have per game, though Strus seems to be a guarantee to fulfill a significant portion of wing minutes. Whether or not the newest Cavs see the court consistently, it will be on Bickerstaff and his coaching staff to make the most of their talents.
Last season, the Cavaliers were ranked 12th in 3-point percentage among all 30 teams, although they had two premier backcourt shooters in Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. Garland was ranked in the 86th percentile for 3-point percentage among point guards, while Mitchell was ranked in the 77th percentile for combo guards, per Cleaning the Glass (subscription required).
Much of the Cavaliers’ success from beyond the arc came exclusively from their backcourt duo, while the rest of the team struggled to consistently connect on long range attempts. Their offensive schemes grew stagnant, often relying on high pick-and-rolls to create repetitive gameplans.
Although Cleveland still needs to answer some big questions this season, their free agency efforts have seemingly addressed their desperate need for 3-point threats. Should Bickerstaff continue his subpar offensive agendas, Strus and Niang’s long range versatility will be nullified by inefficient strategies, leading to another disappointing playoff appearance.
As the Cavs near ever closer to the NBA luxury tax threshold, failing to utilize every player’s strengths will be detrimental to Cleveland’s future. The key to their success will be in the coach’s hands, which may prove to be a cause for celebration or serious concern.
If next season has an equally middle ground offense, this could quickly lead into the second possible disaster next season.