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Best case, worst case: Cedi Osman

It’s an important year for the Cavs’ likely starting small forward.

Turkey v Montenegro: Group O - FIBA World Cup 2019 Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images

Best Case

Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): This is the most unpredictable bit of the Cavs’ season to me. This is year three for Cedi and probably his make it or break it year. If it works out, it means he thrives in John Beilein’s system as a passer and the rest of his offensive game settles in around that. Defensively, he’s good enough to defend twos and threes — and doesn’t have to defend fours — and ends up being better than the numbers indicate he was last year. Basically, the best case is that Osman finally looks like the player he’s hinted at being in the NBA and when he’s played with the Turkish national team.

Justin Rowan (@cavsanada): Here is our true wild card. Unless the best case scenario for Dylan Windler pans out to a degree I didn’t even anticipate, Osman is our best option at the small forward position. After dealing with back issues to start last season, Osman averaged 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists per 36 minutes from January 1st on. All while shooting 45.2% from the floor and 38.4% from deep (5.8 attempts!). For Osman to produce at around that rate for 82 games instead of 41, it would truly solidify him as a valuable rotation player in the NBA.

The other hope would be that playing more at the small forward position and defending wings instead of guards and bigs would help him find some consistency on the defensive end. If we can get that same offensive production with improved defense it’ll set the Cavs up well for the future.

David Zavac (@DavidZavac): He spends the season without having to play power forward, and he gets the chance to create on the wing a bit. The Cavs have a lot of guys who like to dribble and that makes it hard for Osman unless he runs with it in transition. Under John Beilein, perhaps he’ll be in an offensive system that allows him more freedom while reigning in some of the bad habits that Cavs point guards played with a year ago. If he can shoot 36% from three, this really could be the first year he’s a genuinely valuable player in this league.

Worst Case

CM: For one, his defensive issues remain, particularly because the Cavs can’t avoid having to use him defend fours and players that are too big/too good for him to hang with. He is pushed aside with everything else the Cavs are doing and the little flaws in his game — the inconsistent shot, bad finishing at the rim, etc. — don’t improve and makes the contract he’s due next summer a tricky deal to figure out as the Cavs plot their future.

JR: The outside shooting regresses and Osman gets lost in the shuffle as the team tries to integrate so many new pieces. While Osman was good down the stretch last season, there were times where he was passive and forgotten about with more mouths to feed.

For Osman to stagnate or even regress offensively while fading into the background would make the Cavs far less likely to retain his services beyond this season.

DZ: He’s had a lot of trouble playing banged up, so health is obviously a top priority. If he can’t make a jump defensively and supercharge his skills in transition, you wonder what his ultimate NBA role is. He has a lot of money riding on this season, and while I know Koby Altman loves him it’s getting close to put up or shut up time. He hasn’t been able to sustain spots of good play, so I think the worst case scenario is a sort of status quo where he still just isn’t consistently putting things together.