Breaking Down Cleveland's Trade Deadline Day Acquisitions
The Cleveland Cavaliers' run in the past few weeks before the trade deadline day - 13 losses in their last 20 games - had been dismal, to say the least. GM Koby Altman admitted that there were serious issues with the team's performance - "we were really worried that what was going on on the floor and our culture in the building, we were marching a slow death."
A key problematic front for the Cavaliers was the lack of young talent - none of their starters were below the age of 25. Add to this a dismal defensive record - Cavs currently have a defensive rating of 109.7 - 3rd worst in the league. It was clear that something drastic was required from the management.
And drastic indeed were the trades made by the Cavs on the mid-season trade deadline day. In what was a surprising and comprehensive roster overhaul involving four teams, the Cavaliers packed off six players and two draft picks and received 4 players in return, while keeping their Brooklyn Nets 2018 first-round draft pick intact.
Let's look at each of the 4 new players and see what they have to offer to the now rejuvenated Cavaliers.
#4 Larry Nance Jr.
The 6-foot-9, 25-year old insanely athletic power-forward Larry Nance Jr. shares his name with his father, who was a Cleveland legend. He was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015 and has mostly had a role off the bench for their young squad. So what does this big-man bring to the Cavs table?
Larry Nance is a versatile player and has the ability to switch between center and power-forward, which will work well with the Cavs system of routinely making defensive switches. Add to this the fact that Kevin Love is injured, Nance brings much-needed size in the paint. He is also a tenacious rebounder - Larry had a team-high 2.6 offensive rebounds per game playing for the Lakers. Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, in comparison, are averaging 2.1 and 1.9 offensive boards respectively this season.
His defensive record during his college years was impressive - he was on the All-Mountain West Conference defensive team as a junior and was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. One major weakness for Nance is his lack of experience in the Playoffs.
But, Nance's biggest strength on the court is his explosive athleticism. A 2018 All-Star Dunk Contest participant, he has posterized people like David West, Brook Lopez, and Kevin Durant over the past couple of years and is known for his athletic put-back dunks. With an excellent passer like LeBron James to assist him, watch out for more highlight-reel dunks from Larry Nance Jr.