3 Cavaliers players that need to step up in the second half of the season

Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons
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The Cleveland Cavaliers had an up and down first half of the season. Starting off the year 13-12 by mid-December before eventually entering the All-Star break 36-17 with the second seed in the East.

The Cavaliers have dealt with injuries and adversity all season. They were missing Darius Garland and Evan Mobley for more than a month and went 15-4 in that stretch. They have had the NBA’s best net rating since the start of 2024 on their rise to the second seed in the East. The Wine and Gold are ready to rock-n-roll.

However, Cleveland knows that the regular season is not the measure of this team’s success. It is all about one thing: atoning for last year’s short-lived postseason run. The Cavs have not gotten over the bullying the New York Knicks gave them last season. Granted, they were young and inexperienced, but the fashion in which they lost was the most disturbing part.

In order for the Cavs to achieve their postseason goals, they obviously need their core four of Mitchell, Garland, Mobley, and Allen to continue to play at a high level. That goes without saying. What needs to happen alongside them, though, is the guys around them stepping up to lift the team in critical moments. Here are three players that need to step up for the Cavaliers in the second half of the season.

3. Max Strus

Max Strus has been one of the Cavs’ most impactful players this season. His defense has been beyond good, his veteran leadership has galvanized the squad and his offensive movement has opened up the floor for the offense. He is also averaging a career high in assists with 3.8 each night, displaying his versatility on offense. His impact has been there; however, the one thing that Strus has been inconsistent with is knocking down shots.

To date, Strus is shooting 34 percent from three-point range. That would be his lowest percentage since his rookie year if it does not raise by the end of the season. He is attempting seven threes per game to improve Cleveland's volume, but 34 percent is still a low number. Strus is also only shooting 36 percent on catch-and-shoot looks. He has got to be better shooting the ball.

Not only does he need to up his percentage, but Strus also needs to be more consistent as well. Against the Wizards last week, three points in 27 minutes and missed all three shots he took. In 12 games this month, he has five single-digit scoring games on low efficiency.

Now, Strus has improved his shooting from three over the season. He shot 39 percent in the month of February, which is way up from the 29 and 31 percent he shot from three in December and January. This includes his seven-of-ten from three performance against the Dallas Mavericks, which ended his halfcourt game winner. Hopefully that will serve as a catalyst for him moving forward.