On Monday night Cleveland Cavaliers fans saw a 3 team trade that sent guard Dion Waiters packing and guards J.R.Smith and Iman Shumpert moving in. As of late, theCavaliers ratings have been down as they’ve lost their last 4 of 5 games and have reached a sub-par record as we approach mid-season. Fans and analysts have lent criticism for their lack of defense, rebounding and bench production. Cavaliers have looked to solve these problems starting with trading sixth man Dion Waiters which is sure to boost team ratings for now.
Dion Waiters have been on the trading block for quite some time. His numbers are down from last season, falling from 16 points per game to a measly 10 points per game. The Cavaliers have been very vocal on his lack of consistency and failure to adapt to the team’s new system. Management hoped to acquire big man Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets for Waiters. They also attempted to trade him to the Memphis Grizzles for Center Kosta Koufos and forward Tayshawn Prince. Both trades would have been an upgrade for the Cavaliers since a big man would help with rebounding and rim protection on defense. The Memphis trade would have especially helped with their lack of perimeter defense with the presence of Prince. The Cavaliers were turned down on both offers so
they had to try for something else.
Acquiring guards J.R.Smith and Iman Shumpert were the next best options. Smith is a former sixth man of the year. His career high averages were only 2 seasons ago with 18 points per game, 5 rebounds and 3 assist. Although his numbers this season have decreased to just under 11 points per game, Cavaliers are hoping to redefine Smith into his sixth man role. They need consistent offense off the bench from him as well as some play making to go along with their second unit. Smith is instant offense coming off the bench and can produce quality minutes when being mindful of his shot selection. Analysts say if Smith accepts his role, he can be a great asset to the team. The best part of the two-man deal is guard Iman Shumpert. While Shumpert isn’t big in the scoring department, he brings intensity on the defensive end which the Cavaliers desperately needed. Team Captain and 4 time MVP Lebron James have cited defense as the teams biggest flaw. While James is a great defender, superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love only excel on the offensive end leaving a strain on James and forward Tristan Thompson. Cavaliers allow an abysmal 55 percent shooting from the field and suffer defending against top guards on drives to the basket where they rank sixth worse in the league. Shumpert is a great perimeter defender. While he’s on the floor, opponents score 6 fewer points which would surely help boost Cleveland’s defensive efficiency.
Cavaliers are still in pursuit of a big man who can help with rebounding and rim protection. Their eyes are still on center Timofey Mozgov. They are also pursuing veteran 3-point specialist Ray Allen to help with their bench depth. Cleveland wants a title and are aware they need more assets but acquiring Smith and Shumpert is a great start. With trade deadlines almost near, Cleveland is looking to add more pieces to make a championship run.
Commentary By Medina Parrilla