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Cup of Cavs: Cleveland Cavaliers news and links for Wednesday January 19

A boat’s a boat. But the mystery box could be anything. It could even be a boat!

Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Mornings are good when you know the Cavs are playing later that night. They’re even better when the Cavs are on a 6 game winning streak and could be within a half game of the top spot in the conference with a win.

The first sip

Fake trades are fun. They’re easy to entertain because they have no risk of failing. They’ll never happen. You don’t need to worry about the downside of fake things.

Koby Altman could be making some real trades soon. He does have to think about the downside of what happens if his trades don’t work or if they ruin the incredible chemistry we’re currently seeing in Cleveland.

It’s easy to say the Cavs need to upgrade at shooting guard and small forward after looking at their per game stats. Isaac Okoro is averaging just 9.1 points per game while providing little secondary playmaking and little outside shooting. Lauri Markannen was brought over to be the shooter this team was missing but he’s shooting just 32.5% from deep while averaging 13.3 points per game.

Those poor per game numbers don’t account for fit with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. This five man starting lineup has registered an outrageous 111.7 offensive rating and 98.8 defensive rating. That starting lineup is outscoring opponents by 12.9 points per 100 possessions. The team is also 11-3 in games that unit takes the floor.

You can argue that unit’s success is mostly contributed to the play of Garland, Mobley and Allen and you’re probably right. But, are you willing to take the bet that replacing Markkanen or Okoro with a more efficient scorer or better playmaker will make the unit better overall? I’m not sure if I’m entirely ready to make that bet. At least not at the moment.

The Cavs need more help on the perimeter with Ricky Rubio being out of the lineup. But, I’d think long and hard about making a trade that could potentially break up this successful five man unit.

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Becky Hammon: It was easy decision to leave NBA, return to WNBA

Links of the day

The unbridled joy of the Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Why Evan Mobley is still No. 1, Cade Cunningham’s progression, surprise second-rounders and more (behind ESPN+ paywall)

Bulls vs. Grizzlies final score: Chicago blown out again on national TV

Results were mixed, but Cavs’ Isaac Okoro has been aggressive in return