The Cleveland Cavaliers have a strong 17-10 record, but few outside of Northeast Ohio consider them true championship contenders at this point.
One thing that needs to happen for them to take the next step is better consistency, both team-wide and individually from certain players.
These two players need to step things up perhaps more than anyone else.
1. Darius Garland
Darius Garland may be averaging 21.6 points and 7.8 assists a game this season, and he may be hitting 39.4 percent of his 3-point shots, but he has been inconsistent overall.
His shooting accuracy has been up and down all season, and he has shot less than 40 percent in eight of his 21 games.
Cleveland’s offensive rating has fallen to 12th, and while it is tops in both defensive rating and points allowed per game, it will need to improve offensively to be taken seriously as a contender.
That starts with Garland, whose shooting percentages from within 10 feet of the basket have fallen from last season’s marks.
Darius Garland FG% against very tight defense (0-2 feet)
FG% taking 3-6 dribbles
FG% taking 7+ dribbles
FG% Touch 6+ seconds:
2022-23: 42.2% pic.twitter.com/Wx91WA5KJQ
— 𝐻 🌪 (@HsgvensSon) December 11, 2022
2. Isaac Okoro
Isaac Okoro showed signs that he could be the Cavs’ solution at the wing last season when he shot 48.0 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from downtown.
But those figures have fallen this season to 40.4 and 25.5 percent, respectively, and he simply hasn’t been the player he was last year, at least offensively.
The wing or small forward spot is by far the Cavs’ weakest, and with starter Caris LeVert also struggling with his shooting, someone needs to pick things up and give Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley support, especially from the outside.