With the NBA draft behind us, we can now turn our focus to free agency. While it’s no secret that the Cavaliers are in the middle of a rebuild, an offensive heavy draft class means the Cavs are in desperate need for some defense. While the current roster is 13 deep (including a JR Smith that may or may not still be on the payroll by the time the season rolls around), space before entering the luxury tax, it is imperative that they sign one or more good “3 and D” options this season, due to the thin 2020 free agent draft class. Here are some of the best potentially affordable options for the Cavaliers to pursue this offseason.
While Dorian’s defensive stats have been lackluster, the fact that he’s been on a subpar Mavericks team that is in the same boat as Cleveland can allow that to be somewhat excusable. At only 26 years old and three seasons into his career, Dorian is an option that is young enough that he could be around for the long haul with the team as well. His shooting has improved steadily over the course of his career thus far. While also super athletic, Finney-Smith has the ability to learn how to work within a better defense, as he showed flashes of it back in college, where he had an average of 4.7 defensive plus-minus while at Florida.
At 6’ 9, Noah is the tallest of the free agents on the list. He has shown spurts of giving high levels of energy on the defensive end throughout the year, most notably in spurts against Giannis two days after Christmas. Vonleh shows moments of having high energy to play hard on defense, and run hard in transition on both sides of the ball. He also has a decent enough post game to play inside when needed.
This is probably the longest stretch for the Cavs to sign due to Bojan having the best season of his career thus far. He averaged a career-best in points (18.0), three-point percentage (42.5) and net rating (2.7) to name a few. Bojan is probably in for a sizeable payday, which is why it may not be economically possible for the Cavaliers to sign Bojan. Regardless, Bojan is exactly the type of “3 and D” player that the team needs. A small lineup of Sexton, Garland, Osman, Bogdanovic and Love would be able to compete with most mid-level teams’ small lineups. In the middle of a rebuild, you cannot ask for much better than that.
All three of these options have the ability to space the floor in order to give the Sexton/Garland back courtroom to operate. Finney-Smith and Vonleh would give the team the best opportunity to get out and run as well. The priority this offseason should most definitely be finding defensive talent that can help space the floor and knock down their open shots. These types of players will be crucial to helping Collin and Darius develop.