First off, since this is my first fanpost, I just wanted to say I love the community y’all have on the site and I love the Cavs so I’m hoping to be able to join in the discussion some this year.
I wanted to try and figure out what sort of impact we can expect Mike Brown to have on the team defense for the Wine and Gold this season. He’s already off to an awesome start with all three of our free agent signings mentioning him as a major reason for their signing in Cleveland and summer league gave us a good indication of his relationship with Dion Waiters.
With the bar set at making the playoffs for next year, we know that our defense absolutely must improve from last year (27th in Def Rtg). To have a good shot at the playoffs I think it is fair to say we need at least an average defense. Obviously we have had good bit of roster turnover and we are expecting individual improvement out of our young guys but I think there are 2 specific areas where Mike Brown will definitely improve the team.
Last year the Cavs finished 25th in defensive rebound % (DRB%) which is just not good enough. Luckily for us, Mike Brown’s specialty appears to be DRB%. The Cavs finished 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 9th, and 2nd in Mike Brown’s years in Cleveland (05/06-09/10) despite our best rebounder for most of that time being the immortal Drew Gooden. The year before Mike Brown arrived in Cleveland the Cavs finished 12th in DRB%. The 2010-2011 Lakers finished 22nd in DRB%, lost their second best defensive rebounder (Lamar Odom), brought in Mike Brown and not a whole lot else, and finished 6th in DRB%. All of the players in their main rotation besides Kobe increased their DRB%. I think we can have confidence that with the addition of Earl Clark, Bynum(hopefully), Jack, Varajao, and Bennett along with the teaching and emphasis of Mike Brown we can absolutely be an elite defensive rebounding team next year.
Last season the Cavs fouled a ton. We finished 25th in fta/fga, meaning we were giving up lots of high efficiency points at the foul line and getting our own players into foul trouble. Mike Brown’s Cavs teams had an average finish of 12 in this category during his time here, and his most recent full Laker team finished 1st in foul aversion. I think we can expect better positioning by all of our players leading to less fouls this year.
I always hear people say oh yes Mike Brown will definitely make the Cavs a better defensive team this season and I agree, but hopefully now we can have a better understanding of just exactly what we mean when we say this.
All stats from Basketball Reference. Would love to hear your thoughts.