Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE
The Cavaliers have had some struggles on the defensive end in recent years. Byron Scott thinks this team is better than in years past because of one guy in particular.
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott has some high praise for swingman Alonzo Gee. Byron said that Gee is one of the "best defenders in the league" on two different occasion on Monday, once in shoot-around and once in the post game. You can listen to the post-game interview with Coach Scott here.
Alonzo has a limited offensive game and isn't a great shooter. He isn't a great ball-handler and he doesn't create much for others. He will continue to get heavy minutes, however, because of what he does on the defensive end of the floor. While Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are trying to carry much of the offensive load, Gee is holding down the fort on defense. Gee's athleticism and versatility make him very valuable to the Cavaliers. He can guard shooting guards and small forwards, but also switches onto point guards at times. Against the Clippers on Monday, Alonzo spent a good amount of time on Chris Paul and his length seemed to bother the best point guard in the world. In the previous game, Gee spent some time guarding Brandon Jennings as well. This is a pretty creative way to let Kyrie save some energy on defense so that he can continue to dominate on offense.
The Cavs want to get out and run, and the only way you can do that is if you get stops on defense. So even if Gee and guys like Tristan Thompson aren't putting up big offensive numbers, their defensive efforts help make Kyrie and Dion's job much easier.
To give you an idea of how Alonzo impacts the game, the Cavaliers average about 5 more possessions per 48 minutes when he is on the court versus when he is on the bench. Cleveland wants to play at a faster pace and Gee helps them do that.