The next man up in our players previews is the teams oldest player; Shawn Marion.
Starting with the basics, Marion -- a 15 year NBA Veteran -- is 36 years old, and will be turning 37 during the NBA playoffs. At 6'7" he has the size, length, and bulk to adequately play both forward positions.
Playing nearly 32 minutes a night in 76 games, Marion averaged 10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game for the Mavericks last season. What can we expect in a Cavaliers uniform?
The primary utility Marion provides the Cavaliers is his defense. Last season he was again good on that end for the Mavericks, but he was clearly more effective early in the season. This opinion was shared by a few different Mavericks writers I reached out to, who all commented on his minutes load, and continued decline as the season wore on. The Cavs are in a good position to manage Marion's minutes, and they're going to need to. Marion's length and intelligence is going to be incredibly valuable in saving LeBron James from banging with bigger forwards or chasing around smaller players. Again, the caveat is managing his minutes. Marion obviously won't have the opportunity to play 32 minutes a night with LeBron James and Kevin Love in town, but keeping him at 15-20 minutes per game while taking some games off is probably best.
Marion is an interesting fit on offense. At this stage in his career, there really isn't a thing he does that stands out, but there isn't really anything he does poorly either. He keeps the ball moving, he can put it on the floor a little, and he isn't a shooter that teams will completely abandon. His shot chart from last season:
The good 3-point shooting is nice, but sadly not typical. I looked all the way back to 2004, and there is no consistency for Marion in any of his shooting zones in that time. He's pretty average across the board in most of them, and other seasons he just doesn't shoot threes at all. So far in the preseason with the Cavs jacking up threes at a breakneck pace, Marion has taken only two. This may be another on of those years that Marion just doesn't shoot them often. For example, Marion took 246 threes from 2008 to 2013, hitting 24 percent of them. Last year he took 162, hitting close to 36 percent. Predicting any kind of trend with him is difficult.
One thing that should carry over though is his work in space, which the Cavs will have plenty of. Projecting Marion's specific role is hard because the Cavs personnel has fluctuated each game. Except for his start against the Bucks, Marion has been mostly a ball mover, taking a couple of open shots, or getting the ball on the way to the rim. The fact that he has't shot well at all is somewhat concerning, because his offense is so unpredictable, but his main job on offense is just to be smart, so you live with it. His usage looks like it will be even lower than last years 15.8 percent.
Marion isn't going to be a flashy player for the Cavs this season, but he'll be valuable. Getting him at the twilight of his career isn't as fun as it could've been, but maybe that is fine, did you really want to see a ton of this?