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Cavaliers defeat Wizards 72-59 in Summer League debut

The Cavaliers future shined in the win.

NBAE/Getty Images

The Cavaliers may be without LeBron James, but early returns on their new young core looked promising in a dominant 72-59 Summer League win against the Wizards. It’s important to note that the prior sentence is completely meaningless when it comes to evaluating the Cavaliers future, but hey — it’s more fun to win than to lose, right?

Second-year pros Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic turned in strong efforts for the Cavaliers, and they’ll be asked to grow their roles significantly moving forward.

Osman didn’t have a particularly efficient night, shooting 5-15 from the field, but he managed to fill the stat sheet in a similar way to how he does for the Turkish national team. Osman finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and four steals in the win, while Zizic was an absolute bear around the rim. Zizic scored 16 points on 8-16 shooting from the field while hauling in five of his 10 rebounds on the offensive side of the ball.

Collin Sexton is the other marquee player to keep an eye on, and he delivered mixed results. Sexton didn’t have a particularly efficient game either, shooting 4-12 from the field and dishing zero assists, but he did make good reads when he had the chance and flashed the athleticism that was a major draw for the team drafting him eighth overall in this past NBA Draft. He’ll have to be craftier finishing at the rim as NBA shot blocking will cause him problems as currently constituted.

The rest of the team didn’t have a particularly notable outing. Dakota Mathias chucked threes with glee, shooting just 1-5 from distance, while former prep star Billy Preston looked every bit as raw as expected. Preston shot 2-8 from the field, turned the ball over three times, and committed three fouls as he was consistently bullied at the point of attack. He was signed by the team to a two-way deal on Friday and will certainly be a long-term project if tonight’s results are to be taken seriously.

The Cavaliers will have plenty of development in their future. How they do at it will determine how the long-term outlook of the team will look to their fans.

The Cavaliers play again on Saturday as they square off with the Chicago Bulls.