3 best surprises for Cleveland Cavaliers this season, 2 biggest disappointments

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers
New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Sam Merrill is the secret weapon the Cavaliers needed this season

When Garland and Evan Mobley were sidelined for more than a month in December, it seemed that the offseason was the next time to feel any hope for the Cavaliers. Instead, Cleveland enjoyed the best quarter of their season, going 18-2 in 20 games with Mitchell and Jarrett Allen leading the way.

Alongside the star power in the Land, Sam Merrill entered the rotation and immediately made the most of his opportunities. Merrill joined the Cavaliers last season on a non-guaranteed deal, spending most of his time with the G-League affiliate Cleveland Charge. The mid-December run gave Merrill his chance to cement himself in the NBA once again.

Against his hometown team Utah Jazz in March, Merrill set Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse ablaze as he hit an NBA career-high 27 points with eight three-pointers off the bench. His consistency from deep continued throughout the year, breaking a franchise record for three-pointers made off the bench in a single season when the Cavaliers beat the Charlotte Hornets later in March.

With a 40.5 three-point percentage on 5.9 attempts per game, Merrill's fearless instant release punishes the slightest mistake from the defense. As any shooter, Merrill has fallen into slumps at times this season, but in total Merrill is the best surprise Cleveland basketball has enjoyed this year. The 27-year-old wing has won over the hearts of many fans and deserves a spot on the playoff rotation to uplift Cleveland's offense.