When Luke Walton Plays More, The Cleveland Cavaliers Play Better

By Nick Claussen
Benny Sieu – USA TODAY Sports

Luke Walton should be receiving more minutes with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Walton is certainly no star and he’s likely not the future for the Cavaliers, but in the present he is helping the team in numerous ways despite his limited time on the floor.

In the Cavaliers win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 22, Walton played 24 minutes and scored 7 points. He also pulled down 6 rebounds and handed out 4 assists.

And in the Cavaliers win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, Walton played 22 minutes and scored 6 points. He also had 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.

Walton is very active on both ends of the floor and does a lot of things that don’t show up in the stat sheet. He plays solid defense, draws charges, sets screens, makes the right passes and plays smart basketball. He has great court vision, championship experience and a good knowledge of what it takes to win in the NBA.

At the same time, of course, he also air-balled a shot from the baseline against the Wizards and he certainly does make mistakes every now and then. He’s not a great scorer and is not someone you will see on the highlights.

But the Cavaliers need more players who play hard and have the knowledge and experience needed to do some of the little things that it takes to win.

“There is a certain way of playing that contributes to winning,” Walton said after the victory over the Wizards. He said that he tries to bring this to the team in practices and in games, and he is happy that he has been playing more minutes recently.

The 6-8 forward out of Arizona has only played in 11 games for the Cavaliers so far this season, and is only scoring 1.5 points per game. In those 11 games, though, the Cavaliers have won 3, which is pretty good when you realize that the team has only won 7 games all year. In addition, the Cavaliers are 3-2 in games where Walton plays more than 10 minutes.

Playing Walton more minutes obviously is not the only key to winning games, but the team does seem to be playing better when he is on the floor for extended minutes.

Health problems may be keeping him out of some games, and Head Coach Byron Scott may be keeping him out of other games because of match-up issues, but so far this season good things have been happening when Walton has played.

The Cavaliers need to find more ways to get him on the floor.


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