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2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers Player Review: Timofey Mozgov

After helping the Cavaliers go on a dominant run to finish the 2014-15 regular season, Timofey Mozgov's encore performance was less than stellar.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

If I had to sum up Timofey Mozgov's season in a word, it would be disappointing. In 2014-15 he seemed to be the key to unlocking the potential of this Cavaliers team. In 2015-16 he seemed to be the main thing holding them back.

With him on the court this year, the Cavaliers had a 0.0 net rating, scoring exactly the same amount of points as their opponents over 1,401 minutes. With him off the court their net rating was +9.4, an elite number.

It wasn't just who he was playing with. In 876 minutes playing only with guys in the playoff rotation the Cavaliers had a +2.4 net rating, while that same rotation had a +11.0 net rating with him off the court.

While the coaching staff was patient, hoping he would eventually regain his form, eventually they had to cut bait. After playing 76 games in the regular season, he played just 76 minutes in the postseason, sitting out of eight games entirely.

His performance declined in almost every category this year:

Points per 100 possessions

Career: 19.1

2014-15 (with CLE only): 22

2015-16: 18.4

Offensive rebounds per 100 possessions

Career: 4.8

2014-15 (with CLE only): 5.1

2015-16: 4.3

Defensive rebounds per 100 possessions

Career: 9.2

2014-15 (with CLE only): 9.4

2015-16: 8.8

Assists per 100 possessions

Career: 1.5

2014-15 (with CLE onky): 1.8

2015-16: 1.3

Blocks per 100 possessions

Career: 2.5

2014-15 (with CLE only): 2.5

2015-16: 2.2

True shooting percentage

Career: .58

2014-15 (with CLE only): 62.2

2015-16: 59.3

Usage rate

Career: 17.1

2014-15 (with CLE only): 18.1

2015-16: 16.1

Free throw attempt rate

Career: 37.6

2014-15 (with CLE only): 38.9

2015-16: 26.5

He wasn't very good at anything on offense this year. The Cavaliers scored 1.146 points per possession while he was off the court, but just 1.061 points per possession with him on the court. Tristan Thompson was simply better at every role that Mozgov could play offensively. He scored fewer points per possession than Thompson as the roll man (1.22 to 1.29), in the post (0.74 to 0.82), on put-backs (1.02 to 1.04) and in transition (1.21 to 1.42). He was much worse than Tristan on the offensive boards. While it is true that Mozgov has more range than Tristan, the Cavaliers are much better off with Kevin Love or Channing Frye shooting three pointers than with Mozgov launching mid-range shots.

The one statistic that really sticks out to me is his free throw rate. This saw a precipitous decline, easily the lowest of his career. However, this actually gives me hope looking forward. Remember that Kyrie also had the lowest free throw rate of his career this season after going through off-season surgery. That abnormally low free throw rate is a sign that a player isn't fully healthy. Perhaps his conditioning wasn't where it needed to be with his off-season cut short by the deep playoff run then having surgery, or maybe he was shying away from contact because of the injury. Whatever the case might be, he wasn't himself this year.

His time with the Cavaliers in 2014-15 season was the best Mozgov has ever played in his career. While it wouldn't be fair to expect him to get back to that level again, I think a healthy offseason could lead to a much better 2016-17 season for Timofey. For that reason I'd like to see the Cavaliers re-sign him. His time as a starter is probably finished, but he could still be very useful off the bench playing around 15 minutes per game.

We've seen both the best and the worst of Mozgov the past two years. Next year I think we'll see him back to normal.