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Two for one: A bruised and beaten roster shows signs of growth

Ante Zizic and Jordan Clarkson are being asked to do too much, but they delivered on Sunday

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Even the worst NBA teams sometimes win. When you’re tanking and wins are hard to come by, you hope that they come with key contributions of young players who might one day be a part of the plan. On Sunday, the Cavs beat another bad team, albeit one with a much better active roster. They did it with key contributions from Ante Zizic and Cedi Osman. Collin Sexton is still looking to find his way, and couldn’t find his way into the late stages of this game. That’s not great, but luckily it’s an 82 game season.

POSITIVE: Wins are good

It’s important even for tanking teams to win every once in awhile. In terms of coming to work every day, in terms of guys trying to form some camaraderie, in terms of seeing actual development and getting guys to buy into a system, you have to see some positive results. No one wants to show up to the gym just to get their brains beaten in. Many of these players are trying to get a foothold in the league, working towards their next contract, fighting for roles on the team — at least they get to leave the arena happy tonight. There’s not much of an analytical bent to this one, but it should be completely discounted. And hey, maybe an opposing general manager will talk himself into Jordan Clarkson or something.

POSITIVE: Ante and Cedi shine

Ante Zizic played 36 minutes in an NBA win? I like what I’ve seen out of him this year as a 20-minute guy off the bench. The Cavs defense has been pretty decent with him on the court this year. And while no one would consider the Bulls an offensive juggernaut, that was the case again on Sunday. Offensively, it wasn’t a sustainable game for him. He didn’t get to the free throw line once, and he had more shots than points, something that’s generally hard to do for a center. But the Cavs outscored the Bulls by two in his time on the court and he kept himself out of foul trouble.

Cedi Osman, likewise, will probably never play more than 25 minutes a game for a really good NBA team, but his team won today with him getting 39 minutes. He wasn’t particularly efficient either, but he’s taken steps forward over the last couple weeks. As referenced above, you want guys who might be part of the plan moving forward to help you get your wins when you tank. That happened Sunday.

NEGATIVE: Where art thou, Collin?

Collin Sexton wasn’t on the court for any of crunch time, and was outplayed by Matthew Dellavedova. I’m not sure it’s worth pulling our hair out anymore over this stuff. It just sort of is what it is. Hopefully he can get to work over the summer, and better yet, hopefully he can put together a game or two where he really shows he might be able to score or control a game offensively before the end of the year. In the NFL we get excited when players “flash”. It’s pretty silly. Likewise, it’d be pretty silly to put too much stake in one really positive Sexton game. Still, I’d like the option.