Darius Garland (C+)
It wasn’t a great night for Darius Garland, who was repeatedly getting into the paint and then absolutely flubbing the finishes. He shot just 1-for-10 from the field, including 0-for-5 from 3-point range. What’s more, on a night when the Cavs had 30 assists, he tallied just two of them as the ball was spread around more.
Donovan Mitchell (B)
Mitchell’s night on offense was relatively mundane, as he scored 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field and only a single free-throw attempt. Where Mitchell actually popped was on defense as he was active in passing lanes, tallying three steals and nearly getting his hands on a few others.
Max Strus (B+)
The stat line for Max Strus was nothing to write home about: 1-for-4 shooting, three points, a game-worst -11 for the night. Yet his impact on the offense was undeniable, spacing the court and confidently shooting off the catch or moving the ball to a more open teammate. He took and made the first shot of the year for Cleveland, a smooth 3-pointer he should hit again and again this year.
Caris LeVert (C-)
Caris LeVert started with Strus as the two forwards in the absence of Jarrett Allen, an ultra-small look that made sense against the Hawks’ small starting lineup. He was the first starter out of the game so that he could return to run the second-unit offense. LeVert ran the floor well in transition but his work in the halfcourt was rough, with a number of errant passes (three turnovers that could have been six) and a few ill-advised jumpers.
Evan Mobley (B+)
Evan Mobley was clearly not in his top gear defensively but still had great pop around the rim, sticking with one player on the drive and swatting away his shot. Of greater import was his rebounding, with Mobley pulling down nine total rebounds including seven defensive boards. On offense he tried a lot of moves in the paint; some worked, some didn’t.
The biggest development was the amount of time Mobley spent on the elbow handling the ball, serving as a hub for the offense as shooters moved around him. This is a much more comfortable place for Mobley then as the roll man catching the ball on the short roll and trying to make passing reads on the move.