A new report indicates that before Dylan Windler’s rookie season was wiped out last year by injury, some within the Cleveland Cavaliers organization felt that he was en route to a spot in the team’s starting lineup.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com looked at the Cavaliers’ prospects at the small forward position for the coming season. While noting that Cedi Osman or rookie Isaac Okoro could fill that position, Fedor noted that Windler already has made a positive impression on the team.
“Windler is the other option,” Fedor wrote. “He’s a ball mover, solid rebounder and elite outside shooter. Some members of the organization felt he was destined for the starting lineup around the midway point last season if not for the leg injury. Windler’s shooting would make opponents pay for focusing too much on [Andre] Drummond, [Kevin] Love or [Collin] Sexton. There’s a level of excitement around Windler after how he looked a few months back.”
If Windler does end up starting in that position this season, he’ll have to beat out Osman, while Okoro is something of an unknown quantity as a rookie.
Likely the biggest factor in Windler’s favor is his long-range shooting, which got the Cavaliers’ attention when they selected him in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff offered no hints about who might win the job, but is fully expecting the battle to be something to watch.
“We expect through training camp and the preseason a high level of competition at that spot,” said Bickerstaff. “I’m not going to sit here and say or guarantee this or promise that, I’m going to give the guys an opportunity to duel it out and see who earns that spot.”
Regardless of which player ends up being selected, the Cavaliers are hoping to finally start moving up after consecutive 19-win campaigns.