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Best case, worst case: Dylan Windler

What do the best and worst cases look like for the Cavs’ rookie wing?

2019 Salt Lake City Summer League - San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Starting this week at Fear the Sword, we’re kicking off a best case/worst case scenario series where three FTS staffers — Chris Manning, Justin Rowan and David Zavac — offer their take at what the best and worst cases scenarios look like for every player.

Up first: Cavs rookie wing Dylan Windler and, later today, Kevin Porter Jr. Look for the full series to roll out between today and Sep. 12.

Best Case

Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): Windler, as an older rookie with a clear skill set, gets a chance to play right way off the bench and has success as a floor spacer with some secondary creation that standout and see him thrive in John Beilein’s offense. While there are some defensive concerns, Windler looks like an NBA player after year one and a versatile fit around whatever it is that the Cavs are building going forward.

Justin Rowan (@cavsanada): As Chris mentioned, Windler as an older rookie comes with an expectation that he’ll be more ready to contribute than your typical 19-year-old rookie. The best case scenario is that the Cavs found their own Kevin Huerter, someone that immediately proves his value as a rotation piece. Windler is bigger than Huerter at 6’8”, 200 pound and a 6’11” wingspan. Assuming his shooting translates and his positional defense isn’t terrible for a rookie, he can establish himself as a borderline starter/ among the first to come off the bench for the next few years.

David Zavac (@DavidZavac): He demonstrates enough know-how and quickness to find a foothold in the league. At Belmont, he was able to create separation to get his shot off, and he’s big enough to shoot over the top of a lot of smaller guards. If the game isn’t too fast for him and he can ease his way into the rotation he might have a fun year. But remember Joe Harris? Even older college players with developed shots can take time.

Worst Case

CM: While Windler shoots well and looks like a nice offensive fit in the NBA, he looks like a clear negative on the defensive end of the floor who can’t defend up positions due to a lack of strength. When this happens, he gets pigeonholed as a two/three and is lumped into the same positional group as Cedi Osman and Kevin Porter Jr. This limits his minutes, and overall outlook into 2020.

JR: That despite his wingspan and athleticism, he looks lost on defense. Offensively he struggles to fit into the offense, holding on to the ball for a little too long and is indecisive with and without the ball. While his destiny in the NBA is to be a role player, he still will need to adjust to fewer touches after having a 25.7 usage rate in college last year. That transition may make it difficult to find his rhythm offensively in year one.

DZ: We don’t know exactly how John Beilein will coach a team that doesn’t win often. There are a lot of vets on the team, still, and the new coach might lean on him. It wouldn’t surprise me if Windler spent stretches of the season out of the rotation. If he spends time in Canton, a worst-case scenario might involve him struggling to stand out against competition that’s a step up from what he saw in college, but not as much of a step up as the NBA. On the other hand, it might be frustrating if he’s lighting it up in the G-League, but can’t get real NBA minutes.