The game before the addition. Kyle Korver’s presence should help the Cavs out in ways big and small, but he’s not playing for the Cavs just yet. There’s no such thing as too much shooting in today’s NBA, and few have ever done it better than Korver. The Cavs have been starved for depth for much of the season. Mike Dunleavy wasn’t the addition everyone hoped for, Channing Frye can’t quite defend for long stretches, and Kay Felder and Jordan McRae have turned out to be young players who go through ups and downs like most young players.
In the absence of depth, the Cavs have been top-heavy, in perhaps the best possible way. LeBron James has played like a top 3 or 4 player in the world even while playing long stretches in chill mode, and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have each taken turns taking on a heavy workload. The hope is that Kyle Korver can makes things a bit easier on everyone. The Cavs have an elite record, and it’s even better if you just look at the games James has played. What isn’t elite, though, is their net rating. They’re outscoring opponents by just 5.5 points per 100 possessions per nba.com/stats, and have often failed to put teams away. It’s understandable for a team without a lot to prove in the regular season. We’ll see if continued additions of depth lead to any improvement there.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Phoenix Suns
When: 8:30 p.m. EST
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy Blog: Bright Side of the Sun
The Suns are a team that gets a big percentage of their scoring from their backcourt. Brandon Knight is perennially on the trading block, and will come off the bench tonight. Counting stats have traditionally been kinder to Knight than any of the advanced metrics, so years after the debate about whether or not the Cavs should invest their first pick in Kyrie Irving and take Knight with the fourth pick, his abilities are still in question. Of course, people have made similar comments about Irving.
Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker, then, will start together and put pressure on Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Liggins. Booker has an advanced offensive skillset uncommon in 20 year olds, and is one of my favorite young players to watch. He gets some abuse for his poor defense, but I’m not aware of many 20 year olds that defend in the NBA. In the meantime, the kid can score.
The Suns are 24th in offensive efficiency, and 24th in defensive efficiency. The lack athleticism in the frontcourt. The Cavs should win, handily, but it should be fun.