The Cleveland Cavaliers recognized that they needed to improve their shooting this offseason, and accordingly were aggressive in adding high-volume shooters. Max Strus was the centerpiece of their moves, but they also signed Georges Niang and Ty Jerome, drafted Emoni Bates and elected not to waive Sam Merrill.
Yet through xx games, the Cavaliers were simply middle-of-the-pack in shooting frequency from long-range. That changed when Darius Garland and Evan Mobley went down, and the Cavs needed to find another path to efficient offense. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff's solution? Bombs Away.
In their last 13 games, the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the entire NBA in 3-point attempts, hoisting up 43.9 shots per game from beyond the arc. Donovan Mitchell is always going to get shots up, but the Cavs are specifically running sets for Max Strus, Dean Wade and Sam Merrill to get open for catch-and-shoot opportunities.
At the same time, the Cavs are continuing to run opponents off of the 3-point line; in that same stretch they are giving up the eighth-fewest opponent 3-point attempts per game at just 33.5. That means each game they are getting up an extra 10 3-point shots than their opponents, and that math is extremely difficult to overcome.
Could Cavaliers trade Evan Mobley?
The Cleveland Cavaliers seem committed to giving this group of players another run at the playoffs, so a trade of one of their core players seems unlikely by this trade deadline. At the same time, this dominant run with Jarrett Allen at center and a floor-spacer at the four (be that Dean Wade or Georges Niang) has raised questions about the long-term viability of two non-shooters sharing the court in Evan Mobley and Allen. Those aren't new questions, but new evidence is being piled sky-high that the offense takes off when it's not being constricted.
Trading Allen has always been the assumed path, but what if the answer is actually to trade Evan Mobley? He has more trade value, and Allen has been tremendous manning the middle. It's a wild idea, and teams generally don't move on from young players as impressive as Mobley, but it's an idea worth exploring.