Nance Jr. was a good player for the Cavs, especially on the defensive side of the floor. Nance Jr. has battled injuries recently, but when he was on the floor, he was a very good rim protector and was very good in transition defense in getting back quickly to stop opponents from easy buckets.
Markkanen is not considered a strong defender like Nance Jr. was, but he makes up for it with his offensive talents. He has a career points per game average of 15.6, whereas Nance Jr. only averaged 8.3 points. Markkanen is considered a good three-point shooter and he put up the rock more from outside than inside which is unusual for a big man. But the way the game in the NBA is playing out, getting big men to take outside shots and stretching the floor is becoming more commonplace. Markkanen put up on average 6.1 three-point shots. Nance only averaged a little over 1.2 three-point shots a game. That’s a big change and something the Cavs are needing to bolster their offense.
It’ll also be interesting where they play Markkanen in the lineup. I imagine they’ll bring him off the bench because I believe Mobley and Allen will get the start. But bringing him off the bench and giving Mobley and Allen opportunities to be on the floor with him, could give them chances at easy buckets down low.
A bit of a two-man game between bigs is really intriguing to picture. Markkanen’s scoring average could escalate with the Cavs. Having the option to work all three big men in and rotate them in different offensive sets would be very appealing to any basketball coach.
If Markkanen comes off the bench, let’s say with veteran Kevin Love, then the Cavs now have two sharpshooters in the second unit and would continue to put pressure on opposing teams’ defenses.