The Cleveland Cavaliers kicked off the season on the road against the Toronto Raptors. There’s a lot to be learned for the team this season, here’s five things I learned.
- Kevin Love has to learn to be the number 1 option again.
When the offense ran through Love tonight they struggled. He isn’t seeing the space he has seen the past four years and is having to take heavily contested shots. It doesn’t help much that last time he was the first option on a team he had more weight and could use it to back down the defender to get a closer shot. As the season goes on the team will have to work on working through Love and not working around.
2. Cedi Osman should’ve played more last year
It was clear from the tip that Cedi came to play. His high energy and fast pace hustle are key to the team this year as they try to be more of a fast break team. His ability to go coast to coast and finish at the rim is his best attribute. The Cavs will be looking his way on fast breaks all season and Cedi could prove to be the most exciting player on the team.
3. Jordan Clarkson needs to let the game come to him
Clarkson takes a lot of bad shots. He did it last year and it’s already clear this year that nothing has changed. When he gets the ball he is only looking to score. When he’s playing off the ball in a catch and shoot situation he is at his best. At this point he’s a worse version of a young JR Smith. Though he can get hot at any point, it’s more likely that he is better off playing off the ball.
4. Collin Sexton isn’t quite ready to play big minutes
His hustle is great, but it led to him getting in foul trouble early. I know it’s his first game and he probably was a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect right away, but still he was out of control. He showed glimpses of what he will be in the future. He got to the basket a few times and once he gets adjusted to NBA contact it’s likely he will be converting a lot of three point plays. I liked the glimpses he showed but ultimately he has a ways to go before he is a key impact player.
5. Getting Larry Nance Jr back will be electric in the fast break
An athlete like Larry doesn’t come around every day and the Cavs know that as they just inked him to a 4 year $45mil extension. He can run the floor like a guard and finish way above the rim. The Cedi and Nance combo on a fast break is what will make this team good again. Look for a ton of highlight plays from Larry on the fast break this year. Side note: Getting Larry back will be great for Kevin Love. Playing opposite of Larry will create more space because of the fear of a backside cut.
Another side note: Rodney Hood looks more comfortable this year. He’s a lot better player when he has the ball in his hands and can drive to the basket.
Well, it could be a long season and we shouldn’t get our hopes up for this year, but the future looks very bright. There’s a ton of young talent on this team. This teams hustle will keep them in games, but the lack of a true number one option will limit their ability to win said close games. So just sit back and enjoy watching this fun team get out and run this year.