Timofey Mozgov Making the Difference for the Cavs

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nba.com
nba.com

At the beginning of the season the Cavaliers knew that they had three looming problems that could be an issue down the line: lack of good perimeter defense, lack of bench scoring, and not having a rim protector in the middle. Over the past month the Cavaliers have made trades to satisfy all three of those needs by trading for J.R Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov. Of the new players, Mozgov has made the greatest impact.

In desperate need of a big man, the Cavaliers on January 7th acquired Timofey Mozgov from the Denver Nuggets for two future first round picks. After acquiring Mozgov the Cavs decided, against the Warriors, to throw Mozgov right into the starting lineup. He has been phenomenal ever since.

Once Mozgov joined the Cavaliers he felt right at home because of his familiarity with Cavs head coach David Blatt. Mozgov played for Blatt on the Russian national team in 2009, 2010, and 2012. So for Mozgov there was instant trust heading to a new organization which has led to his early success with the Cavs.

Since joining the Cavs, Mozgov has created a large defensive presence in the low post and has taken pressure off Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. At 7′ 1”, Mozgov adds shot blocking ability and length at the defensive end for the Cavaliers which has forced opposing offenses to compensate with different offensive sets. Mozgov is averaging 1.1 blocks per game this season, which leads the team. Mozgov’s high effort mentality and size have truly strengthened the Cavs defense since the team acquired him 2 weeks ago.

On the offensive end Mozgov creates space by being able to hit a 15-footer on a pick-and-pop as well as finish around the basket off of a pick-and-roll, giving the Cavs more offensive versatility. Mozgov also has a decent post up game as well, using a quality baby hook shot around the rim, and is comfortable with his back to the basket.

If Mozgov doesn’t have the ball in his hand he is creating havoc by being a monster on the glass. In just 6 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers Mozgov has generated 20 offensive rebounds which is about 3.5 per game. Those offensive boards have been huge for the Cavaliers offense because they have generated second chances for an out of sync and developing Cavs offense.

Mozgov has shown improvement in each game he has played for the Cavs, but his best performance came the against the Chcago Bulls. Against the oversized Chicago Bulls, Mozgov had 15 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks in a 108-94 victory Monday night. His presence down low greatly affected the Bulls offense and limited their points in the paint. This performance by Mozgov showed all of the home fans why the Cavs payed such a steep price for him and why we needed a big presence in the middle.

Here are the highlights:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDqDfms86Lc

Since being acquired from the Denver nuggets Mozgov has made a huge impact and has played a huge role in righting the ship for Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

 

By Gabe Cohn

Follow me on twitter: @CSTGabe

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