The NBA’s annual Summer League kicks off in Las Vegas this Sunday. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, there are five potential players that could be on the upcoming season’s roster, making it an important tournament. The Summer League will be the first opportunity for players to claim a roster spot. Alongside potential reserves, past lottery picks will have a great chance to develop.
Young Talent Leads the Way
On August 2, the Cavaliers revealed their Summer League roster.
The roster includes the emerging forward Isaac Okoro along with the third pick in the 2021 NBA Draft Evan Mobley. Both should be the best players on the team by a wide margin. On the roster, Okoro was interestingly listed as a guard rather than a forward. Don’t look into this too much, Okoro’s role on the summer roster should be similar to his usual role. Cavs’ assistant and the Summer League team’s Head Coach, J.J. Outlaw, discussed Okoro’s position,
I don’t see him at a position I see him as a ballplayer to be honest with you. We played him at the three and sometimes as a two and he did what we asked of him.
This will of course be Mobley’s first chance to showcase his skills for the Cavaliers. Okoro and Mobley will be the main reason to tune into Cleveland’s Summer League games.
Players Competing for Roster Spots
In addition, this will be an important opportunity for players like Mfiondu Kabengele, Brodric Thomas, Lamar Stevens and Chandler Vaudrin. Both Kabengele and Thomas were mid-season acquisitions for the Cavs last season. In the 2020-21 season, Kabengele played in 16 games for the Cavs averaging 11.6 minutes per game and 4.3 points while shooting 42.1%. Thomas appeared in 28 games averaging 13.4 minutes and 4.1 points while shooting 36.6%.
After going undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft, Stevens was a pleasant surprise playing in 40 games while averaging 12.5 minutes, 2.4 rebounds and 4.1 points while shooting 45.6%. The Cavaliers signed another undrafted free agent in this year’s draft, the former Winthrop forward Chandler Vaudrin. Vaudrin brings some point forward attributes with triple-double potential. Last season. Vaudrin averaged 12 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists and shot 46.7% from the field and 37.5% from three.
Kabengele, Thomas, Stevens and Vaudrin will all be fighting to make the Cavs’ roster or to snag a reserve spot. Any of these players could be key bench players for the Cavaliers in the upcoming season, so it is worth keeping an eye on.
Cleveland’s first Summer League contest is at 6:30 PM on Sunday, August 8th against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets’ should have an entertaining Summer League roster. Also, seeing Mobley compete against Houston’s 2nd overall pick Jalen Green will be intriguing.
After Houston, the Cavs will have three more Summer League games in the upcoming week. On either August 16 or 17, Cleveland will get at least one more game depending on their record.
Compared to other Summer League rosters like the Pistons, Rockets or Warriors, the Cavs’ roster simply doesn’t stack up. For the most part, the Cavaliers have players that are NBA reserves or bench players at best. Winning doesn’t matter too much in the Summer League, rather it’s about developing your young assets.
If Okoro and Mobley have good showings, then the Summer League was a success. Riding his late-season momentum, Okoro has the chance to dominate opposing competition. Meanwhile, Mobley’s supreme talent could shine. Check out the Cavs’ Summer League team starting this Sunday.
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