Few teams understand how spacing can transform an offense as the Cleveland Cavaliers do. Their offensive resurgence since Dec. 16 is largely due to embracing the three-ball. Only the Boston Celtics have taken more threes since that date.
“Spacing is key,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said before the Cvas hosted the Sacramento Kings on Monday in Cleveland. “If you give guys the opportunity, with the talent level that we have, to play in that space, we’re going to be difficult to guard. But it’s not one of those things that I want to oversell.”
There’s been a lot of talk about how Evan Mobley fits back into the offense. It’s easy to see how he slots back in on a night like Saturday where he knocks down three triples. But it’s unreasonable to expect that to be the norm considering what we’ve seen from Mobley during his first three seasons.
Bickerstaff believes that how his three-point attempts come should be dependent on the matchup.
“We were a top-ten offense last year,” he said. “We played in small spaces because our guys are talented, our bigs can share the ball and know how to play big-to-big. I think there’s times where you can take advantage of both [their size and Mobley’s shooting].
“If teams decide they want to put two bigger guys out there, then we can space the floor. If teams decide that they want to put a small on one of our bigs, now we can just play in the paint, play big-to-big, and see if we can take advantage of that because we’ll take layups and dunks also.”
The frontcourt has shown throughout the last three seasons that they can punish teams that want to play small. The issue is when opponents through two bigs out there like the New York Knicks did last spring. That’s where Mobley’s willingness and trust in his shot will be tested.
“At the end of the day it comes down to that belief,” Bickerstaff said. “The more confident you are, the more willing you are to take those shots. We’ve watched Evan put in tireless amounts of effort into that shot. He fights for perfection. A lot of times when he steps on the floor he wants to make sure that he can excel at whatever it is that he’s doing.”