Stock up, Stock down: Cavaliers who can make a difference in the new year

Georges Niang and Sam Merrill, Cleveland Cavaliers
Georges Niang and Sam Merrill, Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Stock up: Dean Wade is back to form with the Cavaliers

After the Cavaliers agreed to a buy out with long-time big man and 2016 NBA Champion Kevin Love, his assumed successor Dean Wade ended the 2022-23 season with shockingly poor 3-point shooting.

The former G-League prospect suffered a shoulder injury pretty early into last season, and it seemed to linger throughout the rest of the year. His shot was not nearly as fluid as it had been beforehand, and it appeared that the Cavs made the wrong choice in the young forward.

This led to low expectations for Wade this year. Between him and Niang, Wade was probable to fall out of the rotation if he did not show signs of improvement early on. In 20 games played, Wade has shot 36.6 percent from deep and grabbed a career-high 4.3 rebounds (including 1.3 offensive rebounds) per game. While his overall role on the team is nothing massive, Wade is giving Cleveland a solid 3-and-D option at either forward spot.

Wade has started 13 games for the Cavaliers whenever Allen or Mobley are out with injury. With Mobley's prolonged absence ahead, Wade will likely continue as Cleveland's starting power forward next to Jarrett Allen for the foreseeable future. With Wade in the starting lineup, the Cavaliers are surrounding Allen with four reliable 3-point shooters, giving him plenty of space in the paint to operate.

The impact that Wade makes over the next several weeks could help the Cavs determine their long-term goals with their frontcourt as a stretch big.

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Going forward, Cleveland is going to see exactly what each of these players is made of. No win is going to come easy for the Cavaliers right now, meaning every lineup decision and every poor performance can drastically shift any player's stock.