Photo courtesy of slamonline.com
By Brandon Easler
What seemed to have been a dead, deflated Cavs team just before the trade deadline has found new live in their influx of young talent. The additions of George Hill (3rd in the league in three-point percentage), Rodney Hood (averaging a career high 17.9 PPG on the Jazz), Jordan Clarkson (14.5 PPG off the bench), and Larry Nance Jr. (a hometown favorite and all-around athlete) has given the Cavaliers a new look and fantastic additions to their rotations.
Hill seems to be the perfect point guard to play with LeBron, as he does not need the ball in his hands to still be productive on the court. He is also a much-needed defensive upgrade over the small, defensively challenged Isaiah Thomas (3rd worst defensive rating in the league). Hood can either continue coming off the bench or take J.R.’s starting spot. Clarkson will be a great sixth man and instant offense coming off the bench. Nance Jr. can play the power forward or center positions when the Cavs need to go to a small ball lineup.
These additions have made instant contributions to the team, as they had won just 7 of their last 20 games before the trade deadline. However, the team has won 4 straight after a LeBron buzzer beater over the Timberwolves right before the trade deadline. A depleted Cavs team then beat the Hawks with 10 players (two of which were two-way players), and also included a career high 19 assists from LeBron. The next two wins were the most impressive, as the new guys came in and instantly showed how high this teams’ potential can be. The Cavs beat the Celtics (2nd in the east) and the Thunder (allowed 148 points to them just a few weeks prior).
LeBron seems to be rejuvenated and happy playing basketball again, which is the biggest asset that the Cavs could have gotten from these trades. Koby Altman’s trades seem to be paying big dividends so far, and it will be interesting to see how the rest of this season develops with this revamped roster.
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