So, first things first, don't go and ruin the fun by looking up the stats before you come to a conclusion...
As we've discussed here on many occasions, and most posters have agreed, a "3-and-D" small forward seems like an ideal fit next to Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters moving forward. Given the ball-handling, penetrating, and distributing abilities of both of our young guards, the Cavs (given the right offensive scheme) should be able to generate plenty of open spot-up looks behind the arc. Well, unfortunately, we've had to watch far too many Alonzo Gee, Earl Clark, Luke Walton (sorry, Kendy), and Anthony Bennett bricks and even air balls following nice drive-and-kicks from our talented backcourt tandem. Luol Deng, although a better option than the ones I just mentioned, has been inconsistent, and only hit on 34.5% of his 3s since joining the Cavs. (But hey, at least our guys only air ball 3-pointers...)
Assuming David Griffin (or whoever holds the title of Cavaliers' GM this off-season) sees things the same way we do, he should be looking for a reliable spot-up threat to man the SF position. With Kyrie's additional experience playing off the ball this season, as well as Dion's somewhat surprising spot-up 3-point accuracy, this would give the offense at least two dangerous perimeter shooting threats on any dribble drive, whether it comes via ISO or a pick and roll. It should also open up clearer paths to the rim, with defenders forced to stick closer to their men, rather than completely ignoring Alonzo Gee in the corner and clogging the paint.
So let's pretend for a minute that you all agree with me - "Our SF next year would ideally be an above-average long-range shooter, as well as a strong defender." I then propose a simple question: How much would you be willing to pay for each of the following players?
- 29 years old, 6'8"
- Career 3pt% - 34.9% (1611 attempts)
- 2013-14 averages - 16.3 PER, 41.9% 3pt, 403 att, 52.1% 3pt att rate, 104 DRtg (1 pt better than team avg)
- 2010-14 combined avgs - 13.9 PER, 36.7% 3pt, 970 att, 40.6% 3pt att rate, 103 DRtg
- 2010-14 Games/Minutes Played - 241 gm / 7,892 min
- 29 years old, 6'8"
- Career 3pt% - 33.2% (1286 attempts)
- 2013-14 averages - 15.7 PER, 32.0% 3pt, 178 att, 21.8% 3pt att rate, 106 DRtg (1.5 pts worse than team avg)
- 2010-14 combined avgs - 15.1 PER, 34.0% 3pt, 959 att, 25.1% 3pt att rate, 103 DRtg
- 2010-14 Games/Minutes Played - 270 gm / 10,335 min
Now, this may appear that I'm trying to make an obvious point, or make Player B look inferior. In fact, Player B is widely regarded as the better player by most around the league and in fan circles. However, would anyone disagree that Player A appears to better fit the definition of a "3-and-D" role player? (D-Rating as a statistic is noisy, and I understand that. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the Synergy numbers to corroborate or contradict the numbers posted here. Player B is probably the better defender, but not by a huge margin.)
There are obviously other aspects of their games that contribute to the overall value of these players. Things like passing, ball-handling, finishing at the rim, and even attitude/leadership are important. But my question is, other than attitude/leadership, do we really need much of those other things from our SF? With two playmaking guards who are most-effective with the ball in their hands, both scoring and setting up teammates, wouldn't an ideal running mate be someone who works best without the ball and can consistently hit from behind the arc? And does it really make sense to pay more for a better overall player who is better because he possesses additional skills that we don't particularly need from that position?
At this point, I think at least one of the mystery players is obvious, and many of you can probably guess the other one. Anyway, what do you think? Did I just waste my time writing 650 words on a topic no one cares about?? Well then...