Ty Jerome (C+)
Ty Jerome operated as the backup point guard, replacing Darius Garland and facilitating the offense. He was something of a disaster defensively and was foul-happy on top of that, picking up four fouls in about as many minutes before settling in. On offense he pushed in transition but in the halfcourt generally worked off-ball as Caris LeVert was the No. 1 option with that second unit.
Isaac Okoro (A)
No words need to be spent on Isaac Okoro’s defense, which is top-notch. The question for Okoro is the offense; can he improve his shot, and can he bring enough else to the table to punish defenses that ignore him? Check and check on Tuesday night. Okoro was confident in transition, he cut into space and even pumped an Atlanta defender into the air and drove into the paint before getting fouled. Most importantly he shot 2-for-4 from deep with a quick, confident trigger; if he keeps that up, he has a rotation spot this season.
Dean Wade (B)
Fans of Dean Wade and his fit with the best players on this team had to be initially discouraged after Tuesday night, as Wade appeared to be the last member of the second unit, staying on the court for much of the fourth quarter with the “third” unit players. After struggling with his shot last season due to a shoulder injury, Wade’s form looked back to normal and he shot 2-for-5 from deep.
Georges Niang (B+)
The presence of Max Strus as a shooter will absolutely help the starting lineup, but Georges Niang filling much of the “Kevin Love” role as a stretch-big may be just as important to the Cavaliers’ rotation. On Tuesday Niang was a strong +13 as he unlocked the second unit’s spacing and shot 2-for-4 from deep himself.
Damian Jones (B)
The Cavaliers initially started small but then brought in Damian Jones to play alongside Evan Mobley with the other starters. While he has at times operated as a stretch big he was firmly in the paint for most of his 20 minutes against the Hawks, finishing 4-for-4 from the field and pulling down six rebounds. On defense he was more of a mixed bag, not providing much resistance for opposing drivers.