The Cleveland Cavaliers have an entirely new look for the team after a wild NBA Trade Deadline. How will it impact the team moving forward?
This is what the rotation currently looks like for the Cavaliers after a wild afternoon, not including players on a two-way contract.
Guards: Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, JR Smith, Jose Calderon
Wings: LeBron James, Rodney Hood, Kyle Korver, Cedi Osman
Bigs: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr., Jeff Green, Ante Zizic
Not only does removing Thomas make Love the clear No. 2 option on offense for Cleveland, but the other players added to the core are generally healthier and younger than the ones who departed.
The team traded a shocking amount of players but received quite a bit of talent back in the deals. It won’t be easy to develop chemistry with so few games left in the season.
This is what each player will bring to the team when they step on the court for the Cavs. Take note of how efficient the new additions are in transition offense.
According to Synergy, Clarkson has typically looked good for the Lakers when the team is winning. He is a scoring sparkplug who was a legitimate candidate for Sixth Man of the Year while with Los Angeles.
He is still under contract for next season in Cleveland but brings solid value to the Cavaliers, who still have an unclear future without a commitment from James.
If the team is unable to persuade James to stay with the franchise, the 25-year-old guard has shown he is capable of leading a team in scoring. This was his role in Los Angeles, especially in their time without Kobe Bryant.
Clarkson ranks No. 5 overall in field goal percentage (49.2 percent) when running an isolation-based offense. He has been above average when scoring off screens and on handoffs in the past as well.
We previously wrote about what kind of impact Hill would have if he were traded to the Cavaliers.
Hill is the most accurate three-point shooter in the league (45.3 percent) among those with as many attempts.
He ranked as the fourth-most efficient players (1.40 points per possession) among those with as many opportunities when running a transition offense last season. Only three teams have run this type of offense more frequently than the Cavaliers (16.9 percent) so far this season.
With a new role, expect him to perform well when scoring off screens and as a spot-up scorer.
Larry Nance Jr.
While it will be awkward for Nance to return to Staples Center for the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend, he is already a well-known player in Cleveland considering his father was an All-Star and Slam Dunk Contest champ with the franchise.
He has shot 20-of-32 (62.5 percent) after passes from Clarkson so far this season.
Kevin Pelton wrote about why the three-year veteran can help the Cavs (via ESPN):
“Nance also figures to be a good fit as a backup center, supplying the lob threat Cleveland really hasn’t had this year with Tristan Thompson no longer looking as spry. Nance’s 59 dunks this season are more than any Cavaliers player has, save James, per Basketball-Reference.com.”
Nance is one of the most fantastic players in the league when running a transition offense, which is integral for Cleveland.
Among those with as many shot attempts, no one has a higher field goal percentage (80.0 percent) in transition than the 25-year-old forward.
He is still on his rookie deal, too, which is fantastic news for the front office. He could also help in the locker room (which is important for Cleveland), as he has a reputation for getting along with all of his teammates and bringing guys together.
Even though Hood is on an expiring contract it’s worth noting that around 20 teams were interested in the 25-year-old and he’s restricted this summer, so Cleveland can match any offer he receives.
The Cavaliers are likely to keep him moving forward if he plays well. It’s certainly possible, considering he is the type of player who provides a serious scoring threat whenever he is on the court. He scored 30 points against the Pelicans earlier this week.
Hood has played extraordinarily well in transition (1.32 PPP) for the Jazz. As mentioned, only three teams have run this type of offense more often than the Cavs.
He also ranks Top 10 in effective field goal percentage (52.1 percent) as the ballhandler in a pick-and-roll offense among players who have had as many opportunities.
Expect him to thrive as a spot-up scorer, too, considering players tend to be more open when playing next to James. Hood and Hill also have established chemistry from Utah; he shot 24-of-50 (48.0 percent) on three-pointers after passes from Hill with the Jazz.