Since Sam Merrill has had regular chances with the Cleveland Cavaliers within the rotation, his shooting efforts have been big-time for the Cleveland bench.
Over Merrill's last 17 appearances, he is posting 12.7 points per contest and canning an average of 3.6 three-point attempts. He has cashed in on 44.3 percent of his three-point tries in that span, has a three-point shooting clip of 43.2 percent on the season and has had no conscience as his lethal threes decimate rivals' chances of success.
Something that popped out recently among the Cavs X/Twitterverse was particularly striking about Merrill, though. Tony Pesta of Fear The Sword and Right Down Euclid mentioned how Merrill was second in the NBA in made threes since December 15 among bench players, hitting that mark in only 288 minutes played.
Cavaliers stars Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen and other Cavs teammates have been vocal about the "Money Merrill" campaign to send him to the Three-Point Contest next month in Indiana during All-Star Weekend. The hype train continues to build in the process.
How Sam Merrill has earned his hype with Cavaliers fans
Since he has been regularly involved with the Cavaliers, Merrill has shown no hesitation from beyond the arc, and as Pesta laid out above, he had been second in threes made since mid-December among bench players. Since that post, he has overtaken the top place in that category.
Following Cleveland's rout of the Orlando Magic on Monday, Merrill added to his threes-made total, and he had 26 points and knocked in eight deep balls on their way to the win. Cleveland's eight-game winning streak was snapped in a Wednesday loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, but Merrill did have four triples in that game, increasing his tally to 57 threes made since that December 15 benchmark.
Merrill's given the Cavaliers another big-time movement shooting option to go with Max Strus, and Merrill's flamethrowing has made such an impact for Cleveland's bench, to mesh with guys such as Caris LeVert, Craig Porter Jr. and Georges Niang. Plus, Merrill's chemistry with Mitchell has also only gotten better.
Additionally, Cleveland's revamped offensive approach prioritizing man and ball movement has led to tons of looks for Merrill, and he has taken full advantage of the chances. Merrill's off-ball movement has led to countless open shots to cap off an active offensive set.
On the campaign, Merrill has connected on a sizzling 47.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point attempts. He's placed in the 92nd percentile in total points per 100 shot attempts as well at 127.5 this season, per Cleaning The Glass.
Given what he has shown, though he has not had the volume of some other players in bigger roles on their respective clubs such as Stephen Curry, Paul George and Klay Thompson, Merrill has been getting his deep shots up in bunches since he has been involved. Merrill leads the NBA in qualified players in threes made and attempted per 100 possessions, and he may have a legitimate campaign for the Three-Point Contest if he keeps up his production.
Whether Merrill actually reps the Cavs in Indy next month remains to be seen, but he clearly would not mind getting some golf in. Rest assured, he is making a name for himself with the shooting boost he provides for the Wine and Gold.
He is an uber-confident shooter who has been among several Cavaliers players who have stepped up over the course of the past six-to-seven weeks, and it has been terrific to watch Merrill take full advantage of the chances he gets. "Money Merrill" is quickly becoming quite the fan fave.