Georges Niang is starting to put his imprint on the Cavaliers

Georges Niang, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk-USA TODAY Sports)
Georges Niang, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk-USA TODAY Sports) /

Georges Niang’s start to his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers has not been the most memorable. He’s had 6.1 points per outing, and has converted on just 26.5 percent of his three-point attempts in his first seven appearances of the 2023-24 campaign.

After the Cavaliers added him via free agency in the offseason, it was not the initial start one would’ve wanted from him. Niang started out one-of-12 (8.3 percent) from three-point territory in his first three contests of the year, and he did not hit a three in Cleveland’s opening two games.

The rough start wasn’t all on Niang, though. Cleveland not having Darius Garland in four of the team’s first six games didn’t help the club’s shooters, and in a new situation, it wasn’t the end of the world.

Fortunately, it does seem as if Niang is beginning to find his way with the Wine and Gold, too. Even with the overall splits not being how one would anticipate they’ll nearly be when he’s settled in more with the Cavs, he has been more effective of late, and he should be just fine soon enough.

Niang is starting to put his imprint on the Cavaliers.

Niang hasn’t necessarily been lighting it up in Cleveland’s recent handful of games, but he’s fared better as he’s started to get more acclimated with his new club.

In the last four contests, Niang has averaged 8.5 points, and has hit 36.4 percent of his three-point attempts in his 26.2 minutes per game in that span. He’s also averaged 6.0 rebounds across those four outings, which included him having 10 big boards in a key, bounce-back win for Cleveland on Nov. 1 at the New York Knicks. For his hustle plays, and taking the challenge defensively, Niang received a hard-earned Cavs Junkyard Dog Chain after that one, for good measure.

Now, there have been some errant misses on occasion still, however, he’s begun to find his spots more in the flow of the Cavaliers offense. With Garland back, that should pay off more for Niang, among others, such as Max Strus, as well from here.

One could foresee Niang still being somewhat streaky as a catch-and-shoot player on a new squad, and coming off the bench for the most part, that’s to be expected, to some degree.

That from him aside, as was previously mentioned, while he’s not going to have notable assist totals, Niang has started to find his rhythm as a shooter/off-ball player. And regarding the movement element, in the last batch of games, whether or not the eventual shots were made, he’s regularly made sensible hockey assists or one-more passes to potent shooters.

What Niang does is not going to lead to guady traditional numbers, but he does help space the floor, he can be a boost for defensive rebounding, and he’s beginning to show how he can make subtle plays in games to affect winning. He did so in Cleveland’s win on Sunday over the Golden State Warriors.

Granted, Niang does have limitations, as the Cavaliers don’t want him self-creating often, and defensively, his lack of quickness is something that can lead to him being susceptible to blow-bys against quicker players or fouls. He really competes on that end, though, and as more recent contests have demonstrated, he can bring an added edge to his teams, and with his gritty play and with how he can affect movement in his minutes, it’s easy to understand why guys like Mitchell, his former Utah Jazz teammate, love Niang.

Next. The unsurprising Cavaliers lineup that is destroying opponents. dark

Niang is starting to put his unique stamp on the Wine and Gold, and it’s been a pleasure to watch.