Jarrett Allen is a pillar of the Cleveland defense, a player who has proven himself capable of doing everything asked of him as a paint defender. He can even switch onto the perimeter in a pinch. Together, he and Evan Mobley built the league’s best defense last season.
The difficulty with pairing Allen and Mobley comes on the offensive end, as playing two non-shooters in the frontcourt lowers their offensive ceiling and puts even more pressure on the other three positions. Eventually, the Cavs will probably have to break the pair up and move Allen to build a more balanced lineup.
Myles Turner may not be quite the defender that Allen is, but he is in a similar tier, a two-time block champion who finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting a few years back. He can also shoot, hitting 37.3 percent of his four 3-point attempts per game last season. He and Mobley would make a nasty defensive combination, and on offense, he would help space the court.
Buddy Hield can obviously space the court as one of the best high-volume shooters in NBA history, and he would be an upgrade over Max Strus as the starting small forward even if he lacks ideal size and defensive ability for the position. The Cavs would be banking on a massive step forward on offense offsetting the defensive loss, and they would hopefully be able to fill out the final bench positions with positive defenders.
There are some downsides to the deal. Turner doesn’t solve the Cavaliers’ defensive rebounding woes, and playing with Mobley will allow opponents to place their center on Mobley and a smaller forward on Turner; he hasn’t proven he can punish teams for doing that, putting pressure on Mobley to try and beat centers off-the-dribble or by developing his midrange jumper.
Still, the positives outweigh the negatives here. Paying Hield and Turner on new contracts over the next couple of seasons is an expensive proposition, but they should be worth the money. The lineup of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Buddy Hield, Evan Mobley and Myles Turner brings four legitimate shooters to the court and maintains an elite defensive pairing on the interior. This is a trade worth making.