With training camp about two months away, the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ roster seems just about set in stone.
There is the matter of Collin Sexton’s contract to figure out, but other than that, any changes of note seem extremely unlikely.
Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen will certainly be starters, and although the starting 3 spot may be up for grabs a little bit, Lauri Markkanen may claim it again.
But who will be the starting shooting guard this coming season?
According to at least one report, as of now, it will be Caris LeVert.
“With that said, heading into training camp this fall is a new opportunity for LeVert to show the Cavaliers why they traded for him in the first place,” wrote Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid. “He’s had this offseason to get fully healthy and can now utilize the precious practice with his teammates to find the familiarity he struggled to obtain last season. Sources say that, for now, LeVert is penciled in as the starting shooting guard next to [Darius] Garland in the backcourt. Cleveland likes his ability as a bigger guard to relieve defensive attention off of guard as well as his ability to create individually on the offensive side of the ball as well.”
LeVert came to the Cavs this past season in the trade that sent the injured Ricky Rubio to the Indiana Pacers.
He is certainly not a bad player, but he is not who the team needs to man the wing spot, especially given its needs going into the 2022-23 campaign.
LeVert Is Not Exactly The Type Of Wing Cleveland Needs
A few years ago, as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, LeVert was starting to show some promise.
During the 2019-20 season, he established career-highs in scoring (18.7 points a game), assists (4.4 a game) and 3-point shooting accuracy (36.4 percent), and he was part of a young and energetic core the Nets were building.
After bringing in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they traded for James Harden early the next season, and LeVert was sent out in order to assemble their so-called superteam.
But as a member of the Pacers, LeVert’s efficiency dropped, as he made just 32.6 percent of his treys that year.
This past season, that figure dropped to 32.0 percent.
The Cavs need more 3-point snipers, as only three of their rotation players shot at least 36.0 percent from downtown during the 2021-22 season.
They can ill-afford another starter who keeps throwing up bricks from that distance on a regular basis.
LeVert is also a weak defensive player, and a look under the hood reveals the extent of his issues on that end of the floor.
“In the 567 minutes that LeVert played in Cleveland the defense gave up an extra 7.5 points per 100 possessions,” wrote Josh Cornelissen of King James Gospel. “For reference, that was the difference between the No. 1-ranked defense (the Boston Celtics) and the 25th (Washington Wizards) this season. That insanely negative impact by LeVert ranked in the fifth percentile of all players; that is, only four percent of players were less damaging on that end than LeVert.”
For a team such as the Cavs that expects to make the playoffs for years to come, a starting wing should be above-average in at least one aspect of basketball.
It is hard to find such an aspect in LeVert’s game.
Who Should Start At The 2?
Right now, Isaac Okoro seems like a better candidate to be Cleveland’s starting two-guard.
He may have been somewhat disappointing in his two NBA seasons, but he seems to have more potential to be a good fit for the team.
Isaac Okoro dropped 16 in the fourth quarter to lead a Cavs comeback win 🔥 pic.twitter.com/c2V4olT8d8
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 13, 2020
This past season, Okoro averaged 8.8 points in 29.6 minutes a game, and he shot 48.0 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from 3-point land.
Starting on December 1, he actually shot 51.5 percent overall and 40.4 percent from beyond the arc the rest of the way.
Okoro may not have the playmaking ability that LeVert has, but he is a better outside shooter, and he is also more athletic.
MY GOODNESS, ISAAC OKORO! pic.twitter.com/I0d6ZpgInv
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) November 30, 2021
He is also likely a better defender than LeVert, although he isn’t exactly a defensive stopper either.
At the end of the day, the Cavs’ ideal starting 2 may be rookie Ochai Agbaji, but it is unknown how long it will take him to develop into someone who is worthy of that role.