The Cleveland Cavaliers wrapped up their five-game road trip with five straight losse and then lost at home Sunday. The Cavs dropped all four games this week, which included losses to the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento King, Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. The Cavs are now 1-14 on Western Conference road games with their only win coming against the Los Angeles Lakers. Here’s what we learned from the final road trip of the season.
The Cavs officially have the best odds of landing the top pick.
Cleveland has secured, at worst, the third spot in the lottery which will give them the best odds at a top-four pick in the lottery. Currently the Cavs and Suns are tied with the second worst record in the league. A tiebreaker would be administered by the NBA if both teams end the season with the same record.
While the second and third spots in the lottery have the same odds at the top four picks it would still benefit the Cavs if they were to beat out the Suns for the second spot. The team in the second spot can have their pick fall as far as sixth instead of seventh. The other difference is that the team in the second slot will have a 27.8% chance at the fifth pick as opposed to the 14.8% chance that the team in the third slot would have.
Tanking seasons are hard are rough on fans. At the very least it’s good to know that the Cavs have secured the top odds at the top pick even if those odds aren’t as high as we would like them to be.
Cedi Osman is ending the season on a high note.
Osman has been up and down for most of the season. He’s looked good for stretches but that has unfortunately been followed up by rough play on both ends of the floor. Inconsistent play is common for young players who are playing in a role above their current skill level.
Fortunately Osman is trending in the right direction to close the season. He put together two solid games against Sacramento and Golden State where he did an excellent job of attacking the basket off the dribble. Osman has now recorded 15 or more points in four of his last seven games.
Consistency on both ends of the floor is the biggest area Osman needs to improve. He might never be consistent on offense unless his jumper becomes more reliable. Osman’s consistency on defense needs to improve if he’s going to be a reliable rotation player. He’s been mostly a disaster on that end of the floor this season as he ranks second to last among all small forwards in defensive RPM. You can live with an inconsistent jumper, but you can’t live with an inconsistent jumper and poor defense.
Collin Sexton continues to be a consistent scorer.
Sexton has now scored 20 or more points in 13 of his last 16 games. He finished the week with solid outings against Sacramento and Golden State. The rookie was lights out in Oakland as he put up 20 points on nine of 13 shooting in just the second half alone.
We are no longer seeing flashes of how good of a scorer Sexton can be. We’re seeing extended stretches of him being a somewhat efficient scorer. There’s still glaring holes in Sexton’s game, but scoring isn’t one of them.
Channing Frye’s retirement tour is coming to an end.
Few Cavaliers have ever endeared themselves to the city the way Frye has the last four years here in Cleveland. Frye quickly became a fan favorite here by the way he embraced the city, this team, and his endearing sense of humor.
Frye’s legacy on the championship team was how he brought the locker room together. That reputation has been reinforced by how his play has dropped off the past two seasons. It’s easy to to forget just how good Frye was during the 2016 playoffs.
Frye was the secret sauce for the Cavs’ bench throughout the 2016 Finals run. The bench unit of Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, LeBron James, and Frye rolled through the Eastern Conference playoffs. That lineup posted a 33.5 net rating and a .667 effective field goal percentage in the 77 minutes they played.
A large part of that bench unit’s success was Frye’s floor spacing. He shot an outrageous 56.5% from three during those playoffs. Frye torched the Hawks in the second round because they sold out to stop LeBron in the paint. As a result, Frye ended that series with a 27 point game and averaged 13.8 points per game with an 88.3% effective field goal percentage.
The Raptors decided they weren’t going to let Frye and the other bench shooters beat them. Their defense stayed home on all shooters which allowed LeBron to get whatever he wanted at the basket. That bench unit ended that series with a net rating of 58 and an 80.6% effective field goal percentage in 33 minutes.
Frye has left his mark on the organization both on and off the court. His impact to this organization will live on in how he’s impacted the young players this season. I can’t wait to see the ovations for him in his final game in Cleveland.