In the offseason, it was not surprising when the Cleveland Cavaliers brought in shooting. Cleveland added the likes of Georges Niang, Max Strus (via sign-and-trade) and Ty Jerome, all three of whom are quality shooters.
Strus and Niang both should give the Cavaliers’ key options more room to operate, and for a club prioritizing having more man and ball movement this season, those players will give the team more pop. Strus and Niang connected on 197 and 154 three-point shots last regular season for the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively. Expect them both to have their share of production in that aspect this coming season.
Both should be volume catch-and-shoot players for Cleveland from here, and with players with their skill sets in the fold, the Cavaliers will have a more diversified offense.
Cleveland’s top options in Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley will have their share of looks as creators, and it should be intriguing to watch Mobley in more of playmaking role in his third season. For the Cavaliers to boost their offense, they’ll need their top guys to make plays consistently, but generally speaking, one thing this does appear to be certain going into this new campaign: the Wine and Gold will get more threes up.
In the preseason, the Cavaliers were playing faster as compared to last season, and they were firing away more from beyond the arc.
Last regular season, Cleveland averaged 31.6 three-point attempts per game, and 11.6 three-pointers made then. By comparison, Cleveland averaged 41.8 deep ball attempts, and made 14.5 three-pointers per outing in the preseason.
It’s been encouraging to see the Cavs’ movement offensively, and the team pushing the pace more and getting quicker into their offense should enable shooters such as Strus to have more opportunities to fire away. Cleveland was 12th in pace in preseason action, whereas last season, they played at the league’s slowest pace.
Additionally, to those points, with the movement being emphasized in the Cavaliers offense this coming season, one could foresee Garland and to some degree Mitchell having more chances to have off-ball and/or movement shooting looks. That could very well lead to the Cavs getting up some more quality attempts from three, and in turn, defenses could have less answers when defending the Wine and Gold, with the others involved and with Cleveland having Evan Mobley and others as interior players.
Now, while Jarrett Allen being sidelined still in preseason could’ve factored into the Cavs’ three-point splits, and there could seemingly be some of a reduce in minutes for Allen this season, his vertical and screening presence still can help Cleveland’s movement focus. Allen is an underappreciated passer as well, and does run the floor as an active big.
Regardless of the Allen element, with the additions brought in over the offseason, what Cleveland seems to be stressing throughout preseason/training camp, and to be less pick-and-roll and iso-reliant, shooting more from three could open things up. And as a result of ball-swings and the movement/off-ball play paying off, the Wine and Gold should still be able to take advantage as drivers more in key situations.
There will be some growing pains early on, and guys will have to get acclimated, but Cleveland’s movement and perimeter shooting focus should pay dividends this coming regular season and hopefully in the playoffs.