The Cavaliers at the start of the free agency period had one skill in mind they were searching for, perimeter shooting. It makes sense that the first new two deals that got announced were the acquisitions of Miami’s Max Strus and Philadelphia’s Georges Niang.
Name: Georges Niang
Weight: 230 lb
2022-2023 stats: 78 games, 8.2 ppg (44.2 FG%, 40.1 3PT%), 2.4 rpg and 1 apg
With the acquisition of Niang, the Cavaliers acquire a big who brings a skillset that includes three-point shooting, versatile shooting portfolio and someone who thrives next to ball dominant scorers like James Harden in Philly and Donovan Mitchell in Utah. Niang has also brought with him a track record of being a positive locker room presence.
“There’s going to be ups and downs. Continue to keep it lighthearted but also come in and work too,” Mitchell said when asked about reuniting with Niang. “Those guys have seen it at a high level and also know when to be up, when to be serious, when to be cool and collected. It helps when you have guys from different places who can bring everyone together.”
Niang isn’t, however, known for his defense. Knowing that if he gets beat off the dibble Jarrett Allen or Evan Mobley is behind him certainly should help, but don’t expect him to be a lock down defender. The Cavaliers are making the bet that they a strong enough defensive team to where they can survive a few net negative defenders on the floor, especially those like Niang who bring so much on the other end of the floor.
With the departure of Kevin Love at the deadline, the Cavaliers needed a big who can stretch the floor was an apparent need. Some who can offer some variety of looks in pick and roll situations and can simply catch and shoot off the roll. That’s what Niang is.
Niang has a track record of also being someone who can be on the floor in some of the biggest moments of the game. Niang over the past two seasons has shot under 40% in the playoffs once in the past four seasons (2020-2021). Having someone who can sub in, and you know the level of consistency of shooting you have is an asset to the offense and something the opposing defense must keep in mind.
To build on that, Niang since his first year with Utah in the 2018-2019 season, has only shot under 40% one season (a measly 39% (2019-2020)). Those types of shooters do not grow on trees, the Cavaliers addressed their dire need of this skillset by signing Niang to a three-year deal.
With the volume of looks Niang has seen in the preseason this season, along with the team’s emphasis on shooting more perimeter-oriented shots, one could expect this pairing to be a match made in heaven for both sides.