One of the top storylines for the Cleveland Cavaliers in recent weeks has been how the Wine and Gold have gotten their share of contributions from guys who have suddenly had to play expanded roles.
With the injuries to Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, Donovan Mitchell previously out for a handful of games and even Caris LeVert battling injuries, Cleveland has needed others to step up. Players such as Isaac Okoro, Craig Porter, Jr. and Tristan Thompson (to some degree) all have given the Cavaliers some extra juice with the team in desperate need, and that has aided in Cleveland playing quality basketball. The Cavs are still right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and it has been inspiring to watch.
As for "other guys" stepping up, do not discount what Sam Merrill has done for the Cavaliers
Merrill made some cameos earlier in the regular season campaign for the Cavaliers, and did flash his deep shooting capabilities, but since, he has made quite the splash. That has helped give the bench more punch, along with other guys like Caris LeVert and Georges Niang making their presence felt.
Regarding Merrill, whose deal for this season was guaranteed as of January 10, his impressive work in recent weeks has been nothing short of astonishing at times. While Merrill did a terrific job as one of the driving forces for the Summer Cavs title team in Las Vegas over the summer and was great with the Cleveland Charge in the G League last year, how he's done for the Cavs lately has taken the fan base by storm.
First, let's dive into the first way Merrill has been a difference-maker for Cleveland's bench.