On Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers will tip off their preseason action. Cleveland starts out their slate of exhibitions at the Atlanta Hawks, and Thursday, they’ll host the Orlando Magic.
For the Cavaliers, it is not ideal that Jarrett Allen is dealing with a bone bruise in his ankle, and is going to be sidelined for all of preseason. His status for the regular season is uncertain for now, and he’ll be re-evaluated later on in the month.
Despite that unfortunate situation for Allen, it will be meaningful to watch the Cavaliers’ key cogs in Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley in some action, and others. Mobley could have some more time than originally anticipated at the 5 in a couple of games seemingly in preseason, and maybe we’ll see Cleveland utilize him as a notable playmaker in those instances.
Heading into the new season, it is a plus that Cleveland is prioritizing more man and ball movement in their offense, and it’d be nice to see that put into action in preseason. Along those lines, fans should see some of the new Cavaliers’ offseason additions get solid looks during those exhibitions as shooters and/or off-ball threats, too.
It will be preseason, so fans shouldn’t put tons of stock into those exhibitions. Lineups are often jumbled for teams in that setting, and it’s not simple to forecast which crucial players will have a real chunk of run.
Even with those caveats, fans should be able to see some of Cavaliers players such as Max Strus, Georges Niang and perhaps Ty Jerome, to some degree, in preseason action.
Strus and Niang project to be sharpshooters for Cleveland in their time on the floor, and with the Cavs wanting to be more “dynamic” with their offensive movement this season, those players should have their share of opportunities. Getting them in-rhythm in that aspect in preseason would be a nice start, too, and Jerome himself is a fine shooter, and should aid in Cleveland’s ball movement in his minutes.
In addition to how those new faces can help in set situations, with the Cavaliers reportedly looking to push the ball more, maybe one could foresee Strus and Niang demonstrating how they can be dangerous shooters for Cleveland in transition.
Preseason could offer fans a glimpse into how Niang could be a Kevin Love-esque trailer for these Cavaliers, particularly in lineups Mobley is at the 5, and with Strus always in constant motion, he could be a run-out shooter target. Coupled with that element from Strus, he has the capability to get to the basket on-ball in those scenarios because of his shooting, and he displayed he can be a transition lob target with the Miami Heat at times last year.
Generally, despite Cleveland having to iron some things out in preseason play, and there slated to be some odd lineups, it will be fun to see how these new guys can potentially make a difference from the jump for the Wine and Gold.
The Cavs will again start at the Hawks on Tuesday before hosting the Magic on Thursday. After that, Cleveland will host Israeli club Maccabi Ra’anana next Monday, and the Cavs will wrap up preseason play at the Indiana Pacers on Oct. 20. The Atlanta game begins at 7:30 PM, and the others will start at 7 PM.