The Cleveland Cavaliers added quality and depth to the forward position this offseason in both free agency and via trade. Let’s take a look at the forwards currently on the roster as we head towards training camp.
Lebron is coming off what might have been the best all around regular season of his career. He averaged 26.4 points, 8.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game. James also shot 55% from the field including 36% from three point range which is the third highest percentage of his career. He enters his 15th season as motivated as ever after losing in the finals last season to the Warriors. James may have to pick up some scoring slack early on with the departure of Kyrie Irving until Isaiah Thomas is able to take the court. The King still reigns supreme as the top all around player in the NBA.
Kevin Love is coming off of his best season as a Cavalier in 2016/2017 in which he averaged 19 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He also shot 37% from three point range which tied the 2nd highest percentage of his career and a career high 87% from the free throw line. This will be Love’s 4th season and Cleveland and it could turn out to be his best as he stands to benefit most from the departure of Kyrie Irving. Coach Tyronn Lue has indicated he will look to run the offense through Love a lot more often this season. He will once again start at power forward.
Jae Crowder had the best season of his career last season with the Boston Celtics in which he averaged 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He also shot a career high 46% from the field including 40% from three point range which is also a career high. Crowder is one of the key pieces acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade. He is one of the NBA’s top defensive players and will bring a much needed defensive attitude and toughness to the Cavaliers roster. Crowder can also provide some minutes relief for Lebron James although coach Lue is looking at playing James and Crowder together at times. At $6.8 million Crowder is one of the best bargains in the NBA.
Jeff Green signed a one year veteran’s minimum free agent contract with the Cavaliers this offseason. Green spent last season with the Orlando Magic averaging 9.2 points per game which is the lowest of his 10 year career. Despite his struggles last season Green still remains a very capable scorer and defensive player in the league. He can defend both wing players and big men. Green stands to be the primary backup to Kevin Love but could also see some time at small forward.
Cedi Osman was selected as the 31st pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. His rights were then traded to the Cavaliers that same night. He has spent the last two seasons playing for Anadolu Efes of the Euroleague. Last season Osman averaged 7.1 points per game and shot 34% from three point range. The Cavs decided to bring him to the NBA this season signing him to a three year $8.3 million dollar contract. Osman has an improving offensive game and with his size should be a solid wing defender. He most likely will not see significant playing time this season and could spend some time with the Cavs G-League affiliate Canton Charge.
Channing Frye averaged 9.1 points per game last season with Cleveland and shot 41% from three point range which was the second highest mark of his career. At this point in his career Frye is mainly a spot up shooter. He is a liability defensively and is not known for his rim protection. It is not known if Frye will be on the roster when the season starts as he has been on the trade block this offseason. If he stays he should see some minutes at backup center and power forward.
The 37 year older Jefferson enters his 17th NBA season in 2017/2018. Last season with the Cavs he averaged 5.7 points per game. At this point in his career not much can be expected from Jefferson. He will see some spot minutes at small forward and perhaps power forward with smaller lineups. Jefferson will most likely assume the locker room voice role vacated by the retired James Jones.