Report: Multiple NBA sources feel Cavs still have ‘major problem’ when it comes to 3-point shooting

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be fielding a scary lineup this season. The addition of three-time NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell should give the squad a boost as it aims to return to the playoffs.

However, there are still holes on the roster that the team may need to eventually address one way or another. For one, the undersized starting backcourt of Mitchell and Darius Garland might be vulnerable on defense.

Another area where the Cavs have room for growth is in the 3-point shooting department.

“Two NBA sources said the Cavs still have ‘a major problem’ when it comes to 3-point shooting,” Terry Pluto of wrote. “They wonder about [Caris] LeVert or Isaac Okoro as small forwards – neither shoot well from the outside. That is something they’ll need face this season. Mitchell is a career 36% shooter from 3-point range. That’s respectable, not elite.”

Last season, the Cavs were pedestrian at best when it came to 3-point shooting. They finished tied for 20th in the league in 3-pointers converted per contest, recording just 11.6 makes per game from beyond the arc. The team shot 35.5 percent from deep, which was good for 15th among all 30 teams.

Of the team’s rotation players, midseason acquisition Rajon Rondo was the most efficient at 39.7 percent from deep, though it was a small sample (21 games). Right behind him were players like Kevin Love, who shot 39.2 percent from deep, and Garland at 38.3 percent.

It remains to be seen if the loss of Lauri Markkanen will negatively impact Cleveland’s 3-point shooting. Markkanen was part of the trade package that brought Mitchell to the Cavs. The Finnish forward made 2.2 3-pointers per game on a 35.8 percent shooting clip from deep last season.

Mitchell may help the team in the 3-point shooting department. But as Pluto mentioned in his piece, the shooting guard is a career 36.1 percent shooter from 3-point range.

It should be noted, however, that Mitchell is set to play with an elite playmaker who has yet to reach his prime, which is something that should help elevate the newcomer’s game.

After all, Garland is coming off of an All-Star season where he averaged 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per contest. It will be interesting to see if playing with someone of Garland’s caliber gives Mitchell a boost from an efficiency standpoint.

On the other hand, the presence of Mitchell may also provide the guard’s new teammates with breathing room on the perimeter, as he demands a lot of attention from opposing defenses. The organization is likely hoping that Mitchell’s ability to draw defenders will help the team in the 3-point shooting department.

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Orel is a freelance writer who is passionate about the NBA. He has followed the league since the late '90s and found increased interest in it in 2003 – when an 18-year-old prodigy from Akron, Ohio took the league by storm.