Cleveland Cavaliers figures Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley spoke on Georges Niang’s speech that has seemingly inspired the team’s turnaround. After getting off to a slow start to the 2023-24 regular season, the Cavaliers own an impressive 9-4 record since Niang delivered his speech.
First, Allen said that when Niang speaks, he and his teammates listen.
“It was passionate,” Allen told Cleveland.com “It was endearing. Everybody listens to him. Whether it’s good or bad, we will listen. It’s what we needed to hear at the time. Everybody needs a kick in the butt every now and then. He’s the ultimate glue guy.”
Mobley explained that Niang isn’t usually a very serious person but was serious when he delivered his speech.
“He may come off as goofy but a lot of times he means what he says and can be pretty serious,” Mobley told Cleveland.com. “Didn’t surprise me at all that it came from him. I think it’s always good to have a productive talk between teammates. Coming from a teammate like that, it usually means more, and I feel like everyone got on the same page from that speech.”
Finally, Niang explained why he decided to give his speech when he did.
“I have always spoken my mind,” Niang told Cleveland.com. “If I see something, I’m not going to hold back, just like I’m not going to say something every time. Gotta pick the right spots. I’m one of the older guys on the team so you can’t ever discount experience. We have a talented team and you never want to take these opportunities for granted. That’s what I’ve been trying to reiterate. It’s about continuing to be unselfish and doing things for others. That usually ends up paying off.”
While Niang has proven to be a valuable presence in the Cavaliers’ locker room, he has been productive on the court as well. He has suited up in every one of the Cavaliers’ 21 games so far this season and is averaging 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 42.0 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
Niang signed a three-year, $26 million deal with the team in the offseason after spending the 2022-23 season playing for the Philadephia 76ers franchise.
The Cavaliers have climbed up the Eastern Conference standings over the past few weeks. The team is now firmly in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with a 12-9 record, which is tied with the Miami Heat for the seventh-best record in the conference.
Niang and the Cavaliers picked up one of their most impressive wins of the season against the Orlando Magic — who own the third-best record in the Eastern Conference right now at 14-7 — on Wednesday. In 28 minutes of playing time off the Cleveland bench, Niang dropped 10 points, five rebounds and three assists while shooting 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-5 from 3-point range.
Donovan Mitchell led the team in scoring though, seeing as how he finished with 35 points.
Niang and the Cavaliers will take on Jimmy Butler and the Heat on Dec. 8 with the hope of earning their third win in a row. After playing the Heat, Cleveland will then visit Orlando to play the Magic once again on Dec. 11.