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How Good Is the 2020-21 Cleveland Cavaliers Roster?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a rough go of it whenever LeBron James wasn’t part of the franchise. They struggled before he arrived, and in both instances where he departed, they understandably regressed sharply.
There may finally be signs of this franchise truly starting to mend, however.
The playoffs are probably still a ways off, but Cleveland has some solid talent in place, and by all accounts, they have the coach in place in J.B. Bickerstaff to get back that winning culture.
Can you confidently bet on them, though? Probably not, but it may be worth it to break down the 2020-21 Cleveland Cavaliers roster, just so you are familiar with the team.
Cleveland Cavaliers Roster in 2020-21
- Key Additions: Thon Maker, Damyean Dotson
- Key Losses: Tristan Thompson
- PG: Darius Garland
- SG: Collin Sexton
- SF: Cedi Osman
- PF: Kevin Love
- C: Andre Drummond
The Cavaliers won’t look too different from the team that struggled to 19 wins a season ago. Cleveland brought in some rookie talent and will be asking some young players to step up, while big man Andre Drummond opted into his player option.
That wasn’t that shocking based on the money he was getting. But the hope is that Drummond’s defensive upside helps transform Cleveland on that end of the floor.
Prove Coach Bickerstaff right by dominating on defense, Andre Drummond ? pic.twitter.com/thLWNyAM7y— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationCP) December 2, 2020
Getting Drummond back is good for Cleveland’s interior scoring and rebounding, while the veteran presence of Kevin Love also assists on the boards and aids Cleveland’s outside shooting.
Of course, this team will only go as far as their guard play will allow it to. Darius Garland must take the next step in his development as the team’s franchise point guard, while Collin Sexton has to prove he can exit next to Garland as a long-term two guard.
Rookie Isaac Okoro’s defense and work ethic may push Cedi Osman out of the starting five, but it remains to be seen just how quickly that could happen.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Bench
- Dante Exum
- Matthew Dellavedova
- Kevin Porter Jr.
- Damyean Dotson
- Isaac Okoro
- Dylan Windler
- Lamar Stevens
- Larry Nance
- Dean Wade
- JaVale McGee
- Thon Maker
Cleveland’s bench isn’t very impressive. The Cavs did bolster their presence in the paint by adding McGee to a pretty big lineup, while the team still hopes to get production out of youngsters like Kevin Porter Jr. and Dyland Windler.
Matthew Dellavedova also returns as a scrappy reserve, but the bench as a whole is full of a lot of unreliable bodies.
If Cleveland’s starting unit can’t find success early in games, it’s easy to see this team could struggle based on their pedestrian reinforcements on the sidelines.
Cavaliers’ Best Player – Andre Drummond
The Cavs don’t have a superstar anymore. They did when LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were in town, but they’re both gone now.
Kevin Love is still a fine star, but the best guy they’ve got at this point is Andre Drummond. He’s never fully put his game together, but he’s easily their most dominant presence in the paint, and he can impact games as an interior scorer, shot-blocker, and rebounder.
He displayed a little bit of all of that in his first game with the Cavs last season.
Drummond has too much talent to not be better than he is, but he’s still a monster double-double waiting to happen. When he’s clicking, he can be a terror inside, and nobody wants to fight him on the glass.
Unfortunately, as Pistons fans know all too well, Cleveland fans will realize that Andre Drummond being your top player probably won’t cut it.
Cleveland’s X-Factor – Kevin Porter Jr.
I view NBA x-factors as players you’re not really fully anticipating making a huge impact, but may be needed for teams to realize their potential.
Insert KPJ, who flashed brilliance as a scorer during his rookie season last year. His youth has already threatened his career, of course, as some off the court problems could trip up his 2020-21 role.
The good news is head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has to this point stood by his pupil.
Two things of importance from #Cavs first media day today, up on The Athletic’s briefs: Andre Drummond on his decision to opt into his player option and J.B. Bickerstaff on supporting Kevin Porter Jr. pic.twitter.com/Ltse0iTENk— Kelsey Russo (@kelseyyrusso) December 1, 2020
Porter Jr. is going to make mistakes on and off the floor, but he has the scoring prowess (15.4 points per game Per 36 last year) and outside stroke to be a real problem for opposing defenses.
If he can master things from a mental and maturity perspective, he has the talent and upside to take over the small forward gig full-time, or potentially push a guard to the bench.
Cleveland needs a young player to blossom into a star. Maybe that’s Isaac Okoro or Darius Garland, but Porter has the ability to develop into an elite shot-maker. If he does that in 2020-21, Cleveland may just be cooking with gas.
Final Assessment of the Cleveland Cavaliers Roster
The Cavs remain in pretty bad shape. Andre Drummond is a double-double machine and Kevin Love can still play, but these aren’t superstar players that can carry a team to the playoffs.
Both big men can fill their roles well, but the Cavaliers are asking a lot out of perimeter players that have fatal flaws. Darius Garland hasn’t found his niche yet, Osman isn’t consistent, Sexton is an isolation scorer and little else, and Okoro is a rookie nobody can trust yet.
Cleveland has some talent to work with as they build toward the future, but they’d be much better off dangling Love and Drummond in trades.
They won’t be going anywhere this season, and any betting affiliated with the Cavs should be geared toward the Under when it comes to NBA wins total betting.
Want more NBA roster analysis? Take a look at some other breakdowns for NBA teams going into 2020-21.