When he was hired as Cavaliers’ GM, David Griffin said the team needed to improve its basketball IQ, and get some players who can make shots.
So far, Griffin is a man true to his word.
Of course, it helps a great deal when the best player in the league decides he wants to come home and play for your team.
LeBron James was the smartest basketball player on the court when he was here previously, and with even more experience, it is doubtful he has lost his ability to play the game the correct way.
James took a lot of heat early in his career so making the right basketball play, that is to say, he hit the open man rather than force up a bad shot.
We can remember times when James wasn’t in the game where the Cavaliers took poor shots when the team needed a basket. We said at that time the rest of the Cavs could have learned from watching the younger LeBron play basketball.
His younger teammates should be in learning mode, and when the teacher happens to be a four-time league MVP, if they aren’t willing to gain knowledge from James on how to play the right way, they likely will not be in the wine and gold for long.
Griffin’s other two free agent signings help with the shooting problem the team had last season.
Last year, Cleveland didn’t have a lot of consistent shooters from the perimeter. Yes, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters had their moments from outside, but their strength is more taking the ball to the basket.
Signing Mike Miller and James Jones as free agents addresses the need for players who can put the ball through the hoop from outside.
And they should get plenty of open looks with the way James, Irving, Waiters, and rookie Andrew Wiggins can go to the basket.
Miller, now 34 years old, enjoyed a bit of a career renaissance this year, playing his most minutes since 2009-10. He’s a lifetime 46% shooter from the floor, including 41% from beyond the three-point circle.
Last season with Memphis, he shot 46% on three pointers.
Jones is more of a three-point specialist, with more than half of his shots in his career coming from behind the arc.
He will be 34 years before the season starts and he’s made 40% of his threes over his career.
Neither Miller nor Jones will be starters.
Miller will probably be a rotation player, backing up at both the off guard and the small forward spots.
Jones only played in 20 games for the Heat last season, so he will probably be used as a specialist, playing in situation where three-point shooting is needed, maybe for plays at the end of a quarter.
The point is, both of these signings are minor in terms of neither player will be getting 30 minutes per night, but they are bringing a skill set needed on the wine and gold, and also another veteran presence for a team that doesn’t have many experienced players.
They will help James get the message to the young players and relate what is needed to win an NBA title.
Neither player is killing the Cavs in terms of salary cap space.
So far, Griffin is keeping his word in terms of rebuilding this franchise. It helped immensely that James returned to the franchise, but getting shooters, something lacking for Cleveland, is a great help too.