Cleveland Cavaliers Need Their Bench Players To Step Up

By Nick Claussen
Jennifer Stewart – US Presswire

The Cleveland Cavaliers right now are like a summer blockbuster movie. They have a few stars, provide plenty of highlights and look really good in the beginning, but they just don’t have any depth.

The Cavs are playing well despite their 2-5 record, and the main problem has been that the second unit is letting the team down. Veteran Daniel “Boobie,” Gibson has been the only reliable player on the second team so far.

Gibson has shot and defended well, and the main question surrounding his play so far has been about his choice of colorful headbands.

Against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, for example, Gibson shot 6 for 12 and scored 16 points off the bench. The rest of the second unit shot a miserable 4 for 18.

“The biggest thing I’m looking for is somebody besides Boobie Gibson to step up off the bench,” Head Coach Byron Scott said in comments posted on the Cavs website. “Boobie’s been great and I know we’re missing Tyler (Zeller). But we need somebody to step up.”

Coming into the season, many Cavs fans hoped that free agent acquisition C.J. Miles would be “somebody,” but so far he has not been, except for times when fans are saying “Please, somebody besides C.J. Miles shoot the ball.”

Now in his eighth NBA season, Miles has averaged 8.3 points per game during his career, and scored 9.1 per game last season with the Utah Jazz. He has shot 41 percent during his career and also averages less than 1 turnover per game.

During the preseason, Miles looked solid, scoring 12 points a game and shooting 41 percent from the field.

But in the regular season, Miles looks like he is forcing shots and is not making a positive difference on offense or defense. During the regular season, he is shooting just 23% from the field and is scoring 4.5 points per game. He’s also only averaging 2 rebounds (he has no offensive rebounds in 6 games) and less than 1 assist per game. He is on the low end of most team statistics, except for turnovers where he is averaging 1.67 per game, the most of anyone on the second unit.

The season is still young and Miles has time to turn things around, but he needs to play much better.

Forward Samardo Samuels has also been somewhat of a disappointment so far. He has had some good games, but has had bad games, too. Scott said after the loss in Oklahoma City that Samuels has just not been consistent enough and that he needs more out of him on both ends of the floor if he is going to keep his spot in the rotation.

Other players such as Donald Sloan and Omri Casspi also have to step up and contribute more during their times on the floor.

One positive for the bench is that the team is coming to the end of a six-game road trip. Reseve players in the NBA generally play better at home than on the road, and playing in Cleveland should help the bench players improve.

If not, the Cavs are going to have to look soon so for some new players to put on the second unit in order to help the team improve its depth and its win total.


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