One of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ major weaknesses in the 2020-21 NBA season has been guard depth. First off, Matthew Dellavadova was going to be a key guard off the bench, but he has missed the entire season with a concussion. In the first half of the NBA season, the Cavs made no roster moves to replace Dellavadova. This led to their star guard Collin Sexton averaging 36 minutes per game, which is the 7th most minutes per game in the NBA. Recently, the Cavaliers finally made some roster moves to address guard depth.
Quinn Cook Signed
Cleveland quickly signed Quinn Cook to a 10-day contract after the guard was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers. Cook has already played in two games for the Cavs after being signed March 10.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 11, 2021
In Cook’s first two games, he has played pretty heavy minutes off the Cleveland bench. Against the New Orleans Pelicans, the former Duke Blue Devil guard had 17 minutes in his Cavalier debut. In 17 minutes, Cook played really well reminding everyone of his capable three-point shooting ability. Shooting 3/4 from three, Cook poured in 13 points off the Cleveland bench. March 14 against the Atlanta Hawks, Cook played substantial minutes again with 18 minutes. However, the Cavalier guard had a rough shooting night making only two shots on eight attempts. So far, Cook is on track to stay in Cleveland for an extended period of time.
Cook is known for being a solid three-point shooter off the bench, he should bring that to Cleveland’s bench. Through his career, Cook shoots 40.9% from three. The situation he was in with the Lakers the past couple of seasons was pretty confusing. Cook was great off the bench for the Golden State Warriors, so getting virtually no playing time in LA was surprising. Cleveland will give Cook plenty of decent minutes off the Cavalier bench.
Brodric Thomas Brought Up
The Cavaliers signed the rookie guard Brodric Thomas to a two-way contract about a month ago. The Cavs brought up Thomas after he performed in the G League. Thomas also made his Cavaliers debut March 10 versus the Pelicans. Against the Pelicans, the rookie guard only played five minutes but was 1/2 with three points. March 14 versus the Hawks, Thomas contributed six points off the Cavs’ bench.
The Cavaliers were not close to winning the last two games. This is the main reason Thomas got any minutes, but if he produces he will begin to get important minutes off the bench. Of course being a rookie, Thomas is a work-in-progress and could become a solid player for Cleveland down the road. Either way, seeing the rookie get a chance off the bench is an encouraging sight.
Ultimately, the entire goal of these roster moves is to alleviate the starting guards. Averaging nearly 33 minutes per game, Darius Garland is seeing heavy minutes this season. Alongside Garland, Sexton is one of the league leaders with 36 minutes per game.
Sexton had his minutes drop since the debuts of Cook and Thomas. The Cavaliers’ leading-scorer played for 31 minutes against the Pelicans and 29 minutes versus the Hawks. Decreasing the star guard’s minutes by 5-7 minutes per game could be huge going forward. With the second half of the NBA season starting, players are at the point where they can start showing fatigue. Sexton is at the young age of 22, so he could probably handle 36 minutes per game. Still, the Cavs should do their best to control his minutes and adding Cook and Thomas off the bench will help in a big way.
All stats courtesy of ESPN and Basketball-Reference.