The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t off to the smoothest of starts. Darius Garland is turning the ball over at historic levels, their shooters are cold, and frequent injuries have made it difficult to build chemistry. It’s a long season, but the start was not a good one.
That can also be said about a number of former Cavaliers players playing around the NBA. These players are off to rocky starts to begin 2023-24, whether that’s cold shooting, terrible defense or some painful combination of the two. Let’s take a look at five Cavaliers alumni who are not having the start to the season that they wanted.
We start our tour of former Cavaliers players in Utah, as the Jazz have been frequent trade partners for the Cavs. That includes last summer’s blockbuster for Donovan Mitchell, where Cleveland sent the No. 14 pick, former Kansas wing Ochai Agbaji, to Utah as part of the generous package for Mitchell.
Agbaji finished his rookie season on a high note, breeding optimism for his ability to take a step forward this year. That has not happened at all, as Agbaji is averaging just 14.7 minutes per game and shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from deep. He isn’t drawing fouls (just two attempts all season) and he has nearly as many turnovers as assists.
Agbaji’s pedigree is as a shooter, but after hitting just 35.5 percent last year he hasn’t yet shown himself to be a knockdown perimeter threat. When you add in a paucity of steals and blocks, Agbaji has to bring the impact on offense. Missing shots and being bulldozed on defense is not the combination for a player hoping to secure a long-term starting spot.