This stat fully encapsulates the Sam Merrill Experience with the Cavs

Sam Merrill has not been bashful in his chances with the Cavaliers.

Sam Merrill, Cleveland Cavaliers
Sam Merrill, Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Coming into this season, and even a bit into the campaign, it seemed unlikely that Sam Merrill would have meaningful chances regularly with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Merrill came into the season with a ton of players ahead of him on Cleveland's depth chart, his deal was set to be non-guaranteed, and last season, he was initially signed via 10-day contract. So, with that sort of background in mind, Merrill might've been on the outside looking in, seemingly at best-case.

This is pro sports, though, and eventually, with injuries at various points to the Cavaliers' perimeter guys, the opportunities would come for Merrill, and he's shown what he can do as a shooter for this group.

While he has still had some DNPs based on matchups and/or in instances where the Cavaliers have had players such as Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell back involved, Merrill has had more chances in recent weeks, and he's responded. He demonstrated how he can be downright deadly from beyond the arc for the Cleveland Charge last G League season, and in Cleveland's run to a Summer League title in Las Vegas in July, and he's carried that forward with the Cavs.

If anything, it's been so refreshing to see a shooter fire away at will from deep, which is something that has given Cleveland more dynanism, at least for spurts, on offense.

Furthermore, this stat as of Monday night, as h/t NBA University on X/Twitter, really painted the picture of what it's been like to watch Merrill in his minutes. The stat has held true among qualified players, as of Tuesday.

Merrill is shooting the ball with the ultimate confidence, and he's more than made his mark for the Cavs.

On the season, Merrill has now posted 6.3 points in 11.6 minutes per contest, in what's amounted to 18 games played, but as was aforementioned, he's had far more opportunities recently. Over his last eight appearances, Merrill has had 11.1 points in 16.7 minutes per game, and most notably, he's connected on a scorching 48.1 percent of his three-point attempts in that stretch.

In back-to-back games on Dec. 18 and Dec. 20, Merrill had career-highs with 19 and then 27 points in wins over the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz, and he made five and eight triples in those games. He would give Cleveland a lift in minutes off the bench in the Cavaliers' near-comeback in a close loss at the Toronto Raptors on Monday as well, when he had 16 points. In that one, he shot four-of-eight from downtown, and had tacked on three rebounds in his 17 minutes.

Granted, he's still had some DNPs in recent weeks, and there are limitations with Merrill, as he's not going to be much of a shot creation presence, and Cleveland shouldn't be expecting much in the playmaking department for others with him. Defensively, he can get exposed at times as well, and one wouldn't put him in the "impact defender" variety, realistically.

All things considered, however, what Merrill has shown has been encouraging, and he's proven himself to be a more than capable shooter, and movement shooter at that. He's shown he can be a weapon for the rotation.

Despite there being some weaknesses for Merrill, and one will have to see what his outlook is when Cleveland gets Darius Garland back in the fold, and/or Ty Jerome, it's been great to see Merrill find his way as the season has worn on. With what he's provided as a movement flamethrower in a rotational sense, one should expect for his contract to become guaranteed for this season soon, considering its Jan. 10 guarantee date.

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Whether or not Merrill can be a rotational fixture at some point when Cleveland has other key offensive players back is difficult to project, but when he's in there, it's clear his confidence will never waver. For a player with his role, that provides some reassurance, and when he's out there, defenses have to pay close attention to him, which also helps out his teammates.