INDEPENDENCE (92.3 the Fan) – The Cleveland Cavaliers have asked for time to assimilate their new batch of players into their rotations.
When adding and subtracting such a large group of players to a championship-level team, there will surely be chemistry issues. The burden is also placed on the coaching staff, who must keep things easy for the new players while also winning games.
Head coach Tyronn Lue said Monday that the team used practice and add ‘six or seven’ sets originating at the elbow, something desperately needed with four new players.
“Today was a good day, a good teaching day,” he said. “(We were) able to add some more stuff offensively because with only two or three practices, we’re predictable offensively. Teams are kind of taking advantage of that.”
The Cavaliers have struggled, shooting 23 percent from 3-point range in their two games at home since the All-Star break. Shooting slumps happen often in the NBA, but having a ‘predictable’ offense would only exacerbate the issue.
Lue often preaches pace, saying pre-game Sunday that having four players on the floor that can rebound and push the fastbreak will continue to be key. His assertion was backed up by his team’s 28 fastbreak points on 11-of-14 shooting.
Largely, that mark included his new players, who were brought in to do just that. Now it is about getting George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. acclimated to the half-court.
“I think we’ve got to put in more sets where Jordan can be aggressive because he is a scorer,” Lue said. “Just having him and Rodney in together, just trying to get those two going offensively. It’s been kind of tough because we don’t have a whole lot in offensively right now, but just finding that mix to get both of those guys out there. We’ve got to put them in more pick and rolls and be more aggressive.”
Nance has thrived early in the PnR, leading current Cavaliers with 1.6 points per possession (SAMPLE SIZE ALERT).
Hood acknowledged that the team lacks creativity on the offensive end.
“We just became a little stagnant,” he said. “We’ve got to be more aggressive, just not depending on LeBron to do a lot, especially in transition. We got to be able to make plays. We can, but we’ve just got to be confident enough to make plays while he’s on the court. That’s the biggest thing he stressed to us today.”
While the offense is still a work in progress, some of the new Cavaliers are already making tremendous impact on the defensive side. The team is allowing 15 fewer points per 100 possessions when Nance and Clarkson are on the floor compared to when they are not.