The Cleveland Cavaliers have built on the promise of the 2021-22 season by doing well to start this offseason.
They had a solid draft day, taking athletic 3-and-D wing Ochai Agbaji with the No. 14 pick, and in free agency so far, they brought back a solid veteran point guard in Ricky Rubio while fortifying their frontcourt by adding Robin Lopez.
With Darius Garland agreeing to a massive contract extension, the future is bright in Cleveland.
Cleveland’s Darius Garland lands a super max rookie extension that could become worth $231M with All-NBA escalators. pic.twitter.com/A2SYEOYRRK
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2022
But there is still plenty of work to do if the team is to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
One thing the Cavs haven’t addressed, at least not yet, is their lack of 3-point shooting, as Rubio is poor in that department and Lopez doesn’t have that skill anywhere on his resume.
The Cavs Aren’t Going Anywhere Without More Shooting
This past season, Cleveland made 35.5 percent of its 3-point attempts as a team, which ranked 15th in the league.
On the surface, that doesn’t seem too bad, but it’s a misleading stat.
In reality, only three rotation players shot above 36 percent from beyond the arc: Garland, Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo.
In the light of a recent domestic violence incident that Rondo was allegedly involved in, it seems unlikely the Cavs will bring him back on a new deal.
They are clearly strong in the paint, with reliable finishers such as Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, but without better perimeter shooting, they will be too easy for opponents to defend.
Outside shooting has only gotten more and more important over the years in the NBA, and it is generally believed that a team cannot make the playoffs if it has poor marksmanship from the perimeter.
In addition, the Eastern Conference is only getting stronger.
The Boston Celtics, who are coming off a trip to the NBA Finals, have gotten better by adding Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, and the Milwaukee Bucks, who won it all a year ago, should be the co-favorites to reach the championship series.
Meanwhile, the young Chicago Bulls can only get better, while the Atlanta Hawks could be a dark horse team after trading for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray.
For the Cavs to make the playoffs, they have to be able to connect consistently from downtown.
One Move Could Really Help
The Cavs have yet to make a decision on Collin Sexton, who is a free agent.
They reportedly have every intention of keeping him, although there have been whispers they may elect to move him in a sign-and-trade deal.
Report: Dallas is expected to make a run at Collin Sexton, via @AmicoHoops. pic.twitter.com/xVO1Mw7ybU
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 1, 2022
Sexton missed most of this past season with a meniscus injury, but for his career so far, he has made 37.8 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Simply having him back would help, especially given that he has attempted 3.9 3-point shots per game in his four NBA seasons.
But Sexton won’t be enough.
The Cavs need better 3-point shooting from the wing position and waiting on Agbaji, Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman or Lauri Markkanen to become better-than-average outside shooters may not be a wise bet.
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