The only free agent of any importance in or out was Nik Stauskas who the team lost. That will be a small hit, but nothing serious. The draft was huge for Cleveland. Garland was a clear 4th best player in this class when healthy. He has the ability to shoot and be a playmaker. Kevin Porter was a steal late due to some off the court issues, but if those are figured out they may have gotten another lottery talent. Dylan Windler is a solid modern day 4. He is a better defender than people realize and while his shot is unorthodox, it goes in. Dean Wade likely won’t get any minutes but even he in the 2nd round was a good pick up. Another player who can stretch the floor and was a great college player. The Cavs went with a weird mix of unproven and extremely proven college players in the draft, and I think it should work well.
G: Darius Garland
G: Colin Sexton
F: Cedi Osman
F: Larry Nance
C; Kevin Love
Bench: Tristan Thompson, Kevin Porter, Dylan Windler, and Jordan Clarkson
Garland and Sexton fitting together is a tricky one, but the NBA has gone to more guards and ball-handlers and maybe Beilein will find a way to make it work. If they can have a Lillard and CJ type relationship on the court (less talented) then it could work really well with them together. After that the return of Kevin Love is huge. Love played just 22 games last year, but with him healthy if gives them more floor spacing and better rebounding. That’s a rare combo that should allow Windler to get more minutes since Love will make up for his lack of rebounding. Porter could be the X-Factor off the bench. I think he fits with the roster well at the 2, but if he can fit in playing more forward and move Osman to the bench, this roster could be a sleeper to make the playoffs in the weak East.
Prediction: 33-49 (11th in East) / Misses Playoffs
The Cavs might have one of the largest ranges of possibilities. The team’s floor is another season of tanking, benching Love and going closer to 20 wins, but if the team meshes and a young team develops quickly this team could get closer to 40 wins and a playoff push. For now, I have them at 33 wins, which many might say is worse than either. This season will really be dependent on the backcourts development not only as players but in their relationship together on the floor. Garland just coming off an injury, having missed all of SEC play, he will be facing a big jump in competition than what he has played before. I think Garland will take an extra year to develop. Love is good enough alone to give the team around 7-8 more wins in a weak East, along with Sexton’s development, Clarkson’s ability off the bench, and the ability to move Windler into the 4 should be enough to get the Cavs to 33 wins.
Next year the team loses basically all those bad contracts they signed after the 2016 NBA Championship. Thompson (18 million), Henson (10 million), Dellavedova (9 million), and Knight (15 million) all come off the books. You notice 3 of those players I don’t have being major rotation players in 2019-20. The Cavs need to develop the young talent to show some mid-level veterans that this is a promising place to come and teach young guys while also getting minutes and competing for the playoffs. The expiring contracts could be enticing to a team at the deadline, but I think the Cavs should avoid the urge to trade them for a long term bad contract and a draft pick which is what a team would likely offer. The cap flexibility could be more valuable with Porter, Sexton, Garland, and Windler all being the youth movement they need. The Cavs with some help could get back into the playoffs, and if that backcourt can peak as high as some believe, this team could eventually be very enticing for some quality (not star) free agents.
*Everything in this article was discussed with Louie Snyder