One down, 81 to go. This was a fun season opener, all things considered. The Cavs came out with energy, struggled to shoot the ball, fell behind, then rallied and kept things competitive. Let’s take a look at how everyone did.
Cedi Osman: A
Osman’s final mark of a -21 is a bit underwhelming, but you had to love a lot of what you saw in the first game from him. He got out in his transition, did a bit of ballhandling, and got off to a great start defensively on Kawhi Leonard. Could he sustain that defensive success? No. Is that something you worry about long term? No. He made both of his three point attempts and had success from the free throw line, positive indicators moving forward. He also survived 33 minutes while committing just one foul. Not a bad start.
Kevin Love: B
Love’s first game as the unequivocal best player on the team in a few years didn’t go so bad. The Cavs were only outscored by three points in his 34 minutes, and he got to the free throw line 14 times. If he asserts himself like this, he’s going to have a big year scoring the basketball. You’d like to see him get more time with Collin Sexton.
Tristan Thompson: D
Thompson played with energy, but he was out of control for too much of the game. Now would be a good time for him to fulfill some of the defensive promise he’s intermittently shown, but it didn’t happen in this game. He’ll be helped coming off the bench when Larry Nance Jr. returns.
Jordan Clarkson: A
Clarkson wasn’t particularly efficient, and he didn’t record a single assist, but you know what? His energy was contagious, and he was aggressive. His pairing with Collin Sexton probably won’t work long term, but Clarkson’s fourth quarter had the team in the game. He wasn’t a problem.
Rodney Hood: D+
Hood was pretty invisible for a guy who took 13 shots. He wasn’t getting shots to fall, but you need him to stay aggressive. He has time to get comfortable.
Collin Sexton: C-
0 assists and 4 turnovers is a bit problematic, but it’s going to take time to get acclimated to the speed of the NBA. He was able to get to the free throw line, and that will be essential to his evolution into a viable player. His playmaking and getting others involved will be worth tracking and probably worrying about. It’s worth noting he committed four fouls in just 17 minutes. One, that’s a lot of fouls. Two, he needs more minutes. This guy is the future; even if he’s not ready you have to push him.
Kyle Korver: B+
He only played 14 minutes, but the Cavs outscored the Raptors by 13 points in them. The Cavs have some shooters, but play too many lineups without them. Korver needs more opportunity than he received tonight, both to show him off to other teams who might want him, and to give options to players like Sexton and Clarkson, should they choose to look for them.
Ante Zizic: A
Continued his tradition of looking good and competent in spot minutes. He stretched it out to 14 minutes tonight, and he probably deserves a rotation spot. With Thompson and Nance around, though, it’s hard to see where the minutes come from.
George Hill: C
Hill was largely fine, made some nice shots. One of the few playmakers on the team, but it’s hard to feel good about his minutes when Sexton is having trouble getting on the floor.
Sam Dekker: C-
Not a whole lot I liked from Dekker’s game, though he did have a nice steal and dunk. He did rebound, and the second unit will need that, particularly when Tristan Thompson is with the starters. I think Dekker was a nice flier at a position of need. He’s got a long way to go, though.