Cleveland Cavaliers will need help from veteran swingman to fix their season

Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers
Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been looking out of sorts at times, and even with Cleveland still in a good spot at second in the Eastern Conference Standings, there’s hardly time to relax. The East is tight, and unfortunately, Cleveland might be without Donovan Mitchell for the next few games still.

Mitchell, who has missed the last five games, reportedly had a PRP injection in his left knee after a prolonged bone bruise, and there’s uncertainty relating to when he may be back. That doesn’t make things simple, particularly in a difficult month of March.

The Cavs were able to ride an insane fourth-quarter effort from Dean Wade to upset the Boston Celtics this past week, but the Cavaliers will need consistent production from their sixth man Caris LeVert to stay afloat in the final stretch of the season.

LeVert has been making things happen as the second unit leader much of the year, and his various contributions can’t be discounted. He’s Cleveland’s most versatile bench player who was sensibly brought back last summer on a two-year contract.

That said, he’s been off as a scorer since the break. Post-All-Star, LeVert has converted on just 34.7 percent of his shot attempts, and he's shot 28.9 percent from three-point range. He is tasked with doing a number of things for Cleveland, but with what the Cavaliers are currently dealing with, they need LeVert to be more on-point as a scorer, with the closing stretch in mind, too.

Cleveland needs Caris LeVert to help right the ship this season

LeVert is one of Cleveland's top players, and he's one of their best passers. He has the vision and requisite passing capabilities to generate open looks for both interior and perimeter targets, and he can make things happen when he touches the paint. His dynamism as a scorer brings defenses away from their assignments, and he has been more than willing to dart a quick pass to a shooter or cutter.

With more of a playmaking workload since All-Star break, he's also had eight assists in his last nine games. The Columbus native had seven assists in Cleveland's overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a +18 plus/minus. His defensive efforts also help set the tone for the Cavs on that end in key stretches, often taking on high-level assignments alongside Isaac Okoro on the wings.

In the final handful of matches, the Cavs could certainly utilize LeVert's shot-making more game-to-game to help overcome their endless injury woes. He did have 15 points versus Minnesota, but he was still five-of-15 in that contest.

LeVert's quickness combined with his handle and ability to get through gaps with change of pace makes him one of the Cavaliers' top on-ball threats, and his playmaking feel combined with that makes him a formidable bench contributor. But, his effective scoring has hit a rut. As was aforementioned, his efficiency has been down, and particularly with Mitchell sidelined, the Cavaliers need LeVert to be more on-point in that way in this upcoming stretch.

To LeVert's credit, he's had his share of quality scoring performances, and when he touches the paint, he is putting pressure on defenses even if the shots don't fall every time. That still has to be a point of emphasis when he's out there.

All things considered, with the injuries to Mitchell and Evan Mobley, Cleveland could benefit from improved production out of LeVert, including Darius Garland. The Cavaliers' sixth man could prove critical in the squad's efforts to find a rhythm ahead of the palyoffs. Whether that plays out in upcoming games will be something one should be keeping an eye on for Caris. But that doesn't diminish his impact in other ways.

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