Report: R.J. Nembhard spent the offseason expanding his game as a point guard

R.J. Nembhard

Though the Cleveland Cavaliers had to give up rookie Ochai Agbaji as part of the deal to land star guard Donovan Mitchell earlier this offseason, there are still several talented and unproven youngsters worth getting excited about on the Cavs roster.

Guard R.J. Nembhard is one such youngster, and he is on the cusp of starting his second season in the NBA. He was on a two-way contract last season with the Cavs and showed some major potential during his G League games. He’s on another two-way deal with the team now and will have to prove that he belongs if he wants to continue his NBA career.

He appears intent on doing just that, and he has reportedly spent much of the offseason working on expanding his game to be more of a floor general.

“Nembhard spent the offseason working on expanding his game as a point guard and being a floor general,” Kelsey Russo of The Athletic wrote. “He focused on his ballhandling, building the consistency of his shooting and conditioning. At Las Vegas Summer League, Nembhard had an opportunity to showcase that work and lead the Cavs’ offense. As a point guard, he knows the importance of setting the tone defensively and making plays for his teammates and himself on the offensive end. He also could be an option at shooting guard.”

When it comes to what Nembhard is working on to improve, it seems that he is interested in playing the long game in terms of his NBA career. After all, Ricky Rubio stands to get the majority of the backup minutes at point guard behind All-Star Darius Garland in the 2022-23 season once he returns to action.

Still, Rubio is 31 years old and coming back from an ACL injury that he suffered last season. That could open a path for Nembhard to get some significant playing time this season.

As for last season, he impressed when playing with the Cavs’ G League affiliate. He averaged 24.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest. Though G League success doesn’t always predict NBA success, those numbers are undoubtedly exciting.

He dropped 42 points and added 12 rebounds in a dominant affair versus the Motor City Cruise last season.

He did suit up for 14 games with the Cavs last season but only averaged 4.5 minutes per game.

So, what can Cavs fans expect from Nembhard this season? It’s hard to tell at the moment, and fans will likely have to wait and see until preseason games get underway. However, it is fantastic to hear that the second-year player is taking his development seriously.

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