Though both guard and big man positions in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup are solidified, there is still a bit of mystery in regards to the starting small forward position.
Once the team traded for star guard Donovan Mitchell during the offseason, the two players who seemed destined to compete for the starting small forward spot were Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert.
With the start of the 2022-23 regular season just days away, it looks like LeVert has the inside track.
He’s started in both of the team’s preseason games so far. Moreover, he’s apparently been very impressive throughout training camp and been labeled as a “standout.”
”Not only have multiple members of the organization labeled him a camp standout but he has fit well alongside Cleveland’s All-Star backcourt of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the first two preseason games — even if there were preconceptions to the contrary because of his ball-dominant, score-first style,” Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported.
That’s incredibly promising news for Cavs fans. Throughout much of his career, LeVert has been most dangerous as a scorer. While he will certainly be called upon to be just that with the Cavs this season, he is surely going to be an off-ball offensive weapon for the most part.
If he can be an efficient scorer despite not having the ball in his hands a lot, the Cavs will be that much more dangerous as a result.
LeVert was an offensive force with the Indiana Pacers during the first portion of the 2021-22 season. He started in all 39 games he played in with them and averaged 18.7 points and 4.4 assists per game.
When he was traded to the Cavs midseason, his numbers took a step back. He started just 10 of the 19 games he played in for Cleveland and averaged 13.6 points and 3.9 assists per game.
On the other side of the court, LeVert is going to have to prove that he can be a stout defender. Though the Cavs have two monsters in the frontcourt with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, the backcourt defense definitely leaves something to be desired.
If LeVert can be a net positive on that side of the court and operate as solid defensive support, he should be able to confidently lay claim to the starting small forward spot. If he can’t, Okoro and his elite defensive ability may start to threaten for the position.