The Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to be one of the worst teams in the National Basketball Association this season, but instead, they took a big step forward by finishing over .500 for the first time since LeBron James left town.
It is time for owner Dan Gilbert and executive Koby Altman to go to work and do what’s needed to get the team into the playoffs next year.
It’s clear that the Cavs need help at the wing position and some added depth in the backcourt, as well as more 3-point shooting.
A few moves should result in Cleveland still taking part in the playoffs in late April of next year.
1. Sign-and-trade Collin Sexton
Sexton has become a good player, and as a free agent, he will likely command top dollar this summer.
Last season he averaged 24.3 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting from the field and 37.1 percent from 3-point range.
He was also expanding his ability as a playmaker by averaging 4.4 assists per game.
This season, a knee injury ended his year in November, but it is unlikely to deter teams from offering him a lucrative contract.
Sexton and Darius Garland have plenty of offensive potential as a starting backcourt, but that tandem could be ineffective defensively, as both are just 6-foot-1.
Ferocious defense by Collin Sexton. pic.twitter.com/cOXQWsCRnH
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 31, 2020
Cleveland did very well on the defensive end this season, finishing seventh in defensive rating and fifth in points allowed, and it would be unwise for it to mess with that formula.
A sign-and-trade involving Sexton could net the Cavs some real value in return that they can use to sport a more well-balanced roster in 2023.
2. Find A Viable Backup Point Guard
Last summer, the Cavs traded for veteran point guard Ricky Rubio in an attempt to beef up their backcourt and get Garland a little bit of help and relief.
But Rubio got injured in December, and Cleveland ended up jettisoning him to the Indiana Pacers for Caris LeVert.
The team acquired Rajon Rondo, another veteran point guard, but at age 35, he is not exactly a long-term or even mid-term solution.
The Cavs need some help at ball-handling guard so that the offense can function well when Garland isn’t on the court.
Someone who is not just a good distributor, but a player who is also a dependable 3-point shooter could prevent opponents from going on runs when Garland is resting.
3. Sign Some Veterans
Phil Jackson, the legendary coach who won 11 championships with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, once said that teams win with men.
It is axiomatic that teams can only do so well with mostly young players leading the way.
The best way to speed up the development process is to bring in veterans who can stabilize the squad and teach the young players how to play right and win.
Ideally, any backup point guard the Cavs acquire should be a veteran who still has plenty left in the tank.
They can keep Rondo around for another season, even if he barely plays, as he is extremely smart and can almost function as an assistant coach.
Rajon Rondo creates this shot for Kuz. He dribbles at Iggy before that pitch out to AD, who now has a small advantage & draws KO's attention.
Then Rondo cuts to the rim as KO moves up, drawing Butler in and creating that open 3 for Kuzma.
These are small smart moves from Rondo pic.twitter.com/K0VPoXf0Uo
— Cranjis McBasketball (@Tim_NBA) October 5, 2020
But other than him, they need someone who can also lead from the front by playing significant minutes and producing at a solid level.
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