The Cleveland Cavaliers entered Wednesday with three open roster spots (two, if you account for Rodney Hood’s qualifying offer still on the market). With the losses of LeBron James, Jeff Green and Jose Calderon, the team needed help on the perimeter. It appears they’ve found some:
Free agent David Nwaba has come to terms with the Cleveland Cavaliers, league sources tell Yahoo. Both sides are still working on final details of deal.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 1, 2018
Nwaba is no superstar, and at 6’4”, he doesn’t appear to fit the Cavaliers needs for a backup small forward or power forward at first glance. With that said, he’s a physical defender and possesses a seven-foot wingspan that should allow him to hang against most small forwards defensively, even if he’s a little undersized.
Offensively, Nwaba is a total non-shooter at the moment. He hit 35 percent of his attempts from distance, but that was on 0.7 per game. He’ll need to develop that part of his game if he wants to become a high-level role player on a good team.
He has traditionally been a very useful cutter, managing 1.35 points per possession on such plays. On the other hand, Nwaba isn’t a ball-handler in any traditional sense of the word. He only operated as the ball-handler on pick and rolls in 36 possessions last season — it’s just not part of his game.
Defensively is where Nwaba makes his hay, and he’s quite effective on that end. He’s a rugged individual defender and has the athleticism to stick with some of the best on-ball creators in the league, and a perimeter guard grouping of George Hill, Collin Sexton and Nwaba should be able to lead at the point of attack for the Cavaliers.
Ultimately, the Cavaliers should be taking shots at young-ish athletic players who are a piece or two away from being high quality contributors. Nwaba certainly fits that bill, and he should help the Cavaliers retain some guard depth, especially if players like Hill and Smith are shipped away midseason.