5 Cavaliers who dazzled vs the Magic (and one Squib)

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Dean Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

No. 2: Max Strus

We’ll get the bad out of the way: Max Strus at 6’5″ had no chance of defending the 6’10” Franz Wagner (it’s possible he’s grown even taller than that over the summer). Wagner is poised to be a breakout star this season, and the Cavs had no size to throw at him while also defending the 6’10” Paolo Banchero and 6’11” Wendell Carter Jr. Strus fought hard, but he has no shot against gigantic wings like Wagner.

Now let’s move to the positives, as Strus did everything the Cavaliers hoped he would do when signing him this summer. His floor-spacing was evident on every play, as defenders were incredibly loath to leave him in any way. He went 3-for-7 from 3-point range with one additional layup, his only 2-point attempt of the preseason. He also chipped in six rebounds and a whopping five assists. He made any lineup he was in hum offensively.

No. 3: Dean Wade

Heading into the season, it was and is a real question where Dean Wade stands in the pecking order, and whether that meant he would be in the regular rotation or just outside. That question is yet to be answered, but with Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert both out the combo forward got extended minutes and made the most of them.

Wade’s shot abandoned him last season but it’s back to its former glory thus far in the preseason, as Wade shot 4-for-6 from deep and 5-for-8 overall. What’s more, he was the Cavs’ best defender (non-Mobley division) taking on the Magic’s star frontcourt and more than holding his own, including one possession early in the third quarter where he stayed in front of Banchero and forced a miss. He crashed the glass, getting two key offensive rebounds in addition to four on the other end, and his 14 points were second-most on the team.