3 Cavs Players That Need to Start Season Strong

August 26, 2023

Tony Camino

Players That Need To Be Big Contributors Other Than Core 4!

Two months away from the season, we’re relying on videos of the team working out at the University of Miami to satisfy our Cavs fix at the moment. Looking around the rest of the Eastern Conference, the Cavs appear to be better than most teams and have a real shot at a top-three finish this year. To achieve this, they need to start fast and finish strong. Their main core of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen is critical to their success, but the performances of the other role players can make or break the Cavs’ season.

Max Strus

The only likely starter outside the main four, Max Strus, is the most obvious choice for someone who needs to start fast. After signing a 4-year, $63 million contract, expectations are higher than ever for the former undrafted free agent out of DePaul. Strus played a significant role in the recent deep playoff runs of the Miami Heat and was often Erik Spoelstra’s go-to shooter over guys like Duncan Robinson because of slightly better defense.

Strus has been a guy who can shoot a good percentage on a very high volume, and that is exactly what he’s going to be asked to do on this team. Providing a shooter off the ball whom the defense has to account for at all times can really elevate this Cavs’ offense to the next level, but he has to be hitting shots to maintain his off-ball gravity. Shooters are the most common players who go through drastic performance swings, having nights where they barely miss, and other nights where they can’t hit anything. With the pressure of the new contract and expectations of a huge role on a contender, Strus needs a good start to keep his confidence high throughout the season.

Isaac Okoro

The former fifth overall pick from 2020, Isaac Okoro, needs a strong start to the season to avoid being relegated to a defensive specialist role only. When it comes to Okoro, almost everything is there. He’s a strong defender with great athleticism and is also a capable passer on the drive. His athletic ability is occasionally on display with his finishing, but it isn’t consistent.

Most importantly, Okoro has to take the next step as a shooter. While he had his best season percentage-wise and seems to be improving in that department all the time, his lack of volume allows defenses to completely forget about him, making it very hard to maintain proper spacing on offense. He still attempts just 2.3 three-pointers per game and will need to take many more of those somewhat open looks to force the defense out of the paint. This was evident in the Knicks’ series where they chose to let him shoot in order to focus on Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, and it proved effective. A quick start with confident shooting is essential for Okoro to remain a consistent part of the rotation off the bench and prevent him from being pigeonholed into a specialist-only role.

Caris Levert

With the absence of Ricky Rubio and no other veteran point guards available at the moment, Caris LeVert is set to handle most of the ball-handling duties off the bench. This role suits him much better than how the Cavs have used him recently, primarily as a catch-and-shoot off-ball threat. LeVert is very shifty with the ball in his hands, excels at creating mid-range shots off the dribble, and has demonstrated excellent chemistry with Jarrett Allen in the pick-and-roll game. All these attributes point more towards a bench point guard role being more suitable for him than being cast as an off-ball wing.

While there’s still a chance to sign a veteran point guard, LeVert is likely to assume the role of the bench ball handler, especially in playoff situations. Starting off with a strong performance can serve as a reminder of the 20 PPG scorer he used to be, potentially providing the Cavs with a significant X-factor off the bench. LeVert is someone who thrives with the ball in his hands due to his quick twitch moves and ability to make tough shots in the mid-range. His roles in recent years haven’t been ideal for his success, and if he can regain confidence as a scorer, the Cavs’ depth will become a substantial asset.

Okay, We Had to Throw in One of the Core 4!

The most crucial factor for the Cavs to become top contenders this year is the performance of the main core, particularly the advancements made by Evan Mobley.


Nevertheless, no team wins solely with four players, and the contributions of the role players can determine the success or failure of a season. Max Strus, Isaac Okoro, and Caris LeVert need to initiate the season strongly to alleviate the burden on the Cavs’ stars and facilitate a deep playoff run for the team this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you're a fan of Cleveland sports and want to stay up-to-date with the latest news, scores, and insights on your favorite teams, signing up for the Cleveland sports newsletter is a no-brainer.

Copyright © 2024 Believe In The Land

threads icon