In an ongoing series for Right Down Euclid, readers can submit their questions about anything related to Cleveland sports and we’ll answer them to the best of our ability. So, with that said, today Right Down Euclid will answer your questions, and hopefully more, in this edition of the weekly mailbag.
But, before we get started, a quick housekeeping note. I participated in the ninth-ever VeloSano, which is Cleveland Clinic’s premier fundraising initiative in which 100% of every dollar raised supports lifesaving cancer research at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Children’s. Thanks to your support, I was able to shave off nearly 30 minutes from my time last year. But, we’re still a little short of the initial goal overall. Thankfully, you still have until October 1 to donate if you’re able!
Here is a direct link to my fundraiser page. With every dollar donated we may not be able to eradicate cancer tomorrow but, we’ll be one step closer to ending it for good. Thank you for your support!
Also, some of you might think you’re subscribed when in reality, you aren’t! You should do that since for the next several days, one of you will be chosen at random to become a premium subscriber on the house!
Can the Cavs go get a wing before the start of the season to round out their starting five? – Tom Y.
Before the start of the season? No, I don’t think so. Entering training camp, the Cavaliers have to first figure out how to make sure their new offense centered around four All-Stars functions on a night-to-night basis. The same can be said for the defensive side of the ball as well. Cleveland is going to be asking a lot more of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley on the interior to cover for some of the defensive issues the new star tandem of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell possess.
Sure, training camp won’t be enough to figure it all out and it’s going to likely trickle into the early beginnings of the regular season. But, the other primary focus is who will be starting at small forward alongside the star-studded quartet. Right now, multiple sources shared with Right Down Euclid that Caris LeVert is penciled in as the team’s starting small forward. Cleveland likes LeVert’s size and ability to act as a secondary creator alongside Garland and Mitchell as well as an additional passing threat to feed Mobley and Allen on the interior. But, it’s written in pencil not ink and it will likely be an open competition between LeVert and Isaac Okoro during training camp.
Mind you, that competition won’t be settled by the start of the regular season either. It’s going to take time and this is a front office that doesn’t tend to overreact to situations unless completely necessary. If Okoro, LeVert and the healthy competition between them keep the Cavaliers rolling along while their stars shine, there’s no need to really do anything right away.
Ideally, what Cleveland needs is a low-usage wing that is viable on both ends of the court and comfortable with scoring 10 to 15 points a night. They hopefully can get that from Okoro and LeVert as well as Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens as well. But, there is still an issue when it comes to Cleveland’s overall wing depth.
This is where we circle back to your initial question.
If the Cavaliers want to hang with the big dogs of the Eastern Conference, they still need a bigger-bodied wing defender to keep them afloat. There are going to be nights Cleveland struggles to contain Boston’s Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, Miami’s Jimmy Butler, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant as well as either of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton from Milwaukee.
Now, this is where Cleveland may want to comb the market a bit using what trade assets they have left after acquiring Mitchell. The Cavaliers could cobble together a combination of Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, their expiring contracts and future draft picks. Sure, it’s not the most attractive bunch of pieces but, thankfully, there are teams out there that could be interested.
League sources say that the Minnesota Timberwolves were interested in trying to acquire Osman earlier in the offseason. Mind you, this was before the Timberwolves traded for Rudy Gobert but, if the interest is still there, a trade could still be possible. Cleveland could offer Minnesota a combination of Osman and future second-round selections for Taurean Prince, a big-bodied wing defender that is also reliable from three-point range. Prince is a player the Cavaliers are already familiar with and fits the bill for what they’re looking for as well.
But, if the Timberwolves are no longer interested in Osman after landing Gobert, there are still options out there for Cleveland. According to sources, the San Antonio Spurs have two wing players that could be available for the right price in Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. Both could be interesting options and, like Prince, fit the clear needs that the Cavaliers have. There are options out there that will help round out Cleveland’s rotation. But, the best course of action is to be patient and see how everything else is working first.
How much better does this team become if Isaac Okoro really worked on his offense? – @CAVS4MVP, via Twitter
It’s funny you ask – I wrote about it not too long ago! I personally believe Okoro is one of the biggest variables this upcoming season for Cleveland. Read all about it here.
What is your pick to win the world series? AL MVP? NL MVP? Cy Young awards? – Joseph, via Twitter
I know this question was from an older mailbag but I forgot to answer it. Here are my picks:
- AL MVP – Aaron Judge, New York Yankees,
- NL MVP – Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
- AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
- NL Cy Young – Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers
- World Series – Los Angeles Dodgers over Houston Astros
What’s your prediction for the Browns’ home opener? – Josiah R.
To be frank, the New York Jets are very young and also still learning how to win. They still have a ways to go but will give Cleveland a good fight. But, in the end, I think the Browns win this one 26-17 and Jacoby Brissett looks a bit more comfortable in the offense.
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Do you think LeBron re-signing with the Lakers made the Cavs shift to get Mitchell? – Chris P.
No, I don’t. I’m sure the Cavaliers had re-signing LeBron James as a future off-season plan. It would be remiss of them not to. But, teams also can never be static when it comes to team building and waiting for players down the line. Dynamic opportunities like the Mitchell trade are their own entity and run parallel to possibilities like re-signing the kid from Akron.
It’s like a multiverse of free agency madness. This is the one where the Cavaliers got Donovan Mitchell.
What’s with Collin Sexton fans being so intense about him? He isn’t as good as people think he is! – Dean G.
So, this was from a prior mailbag and I promised I’d answer it in the future. The Donovan Mitchell trade made me delay it but, without further ado…
When Collin Sexton first came to Cleveland, he was the draft pick the Cavaliers refused to trade to appease LeBron James. He also was the draft pick from the Kyrie Irving trade as well. While the Cavaliers were going to try and compete for the playoffs without James, once Kevin Love suffered an injury a full-scale teardown and rebuild had begun.
That’s where Sexton truly came into play. Literally. Sexton finally got his chance to shine and showcase that he truly was an elite, three-level scoring talent and gave fans something to latch onto as the team moved on from the second LeBron era. As the rebuild continued, more young faces appeared like Garland and Okoro. Those two needed time to develop and grow as NBA players but Sexton, meanwhile, remained consistent as he was when he was a rookie.
That’s what made him so endearing to some. The more they watched Sexton, the more they fell in love with his game and believed he could become the star the Cavaliers so desperately needed. Sure, Sexton had serious defensive issues and frustrated his teammates and onlookers with his inability to move the rock. But, to his diehard fans, he was the best player on the team and should be a core piece going forward.
But, that was never the case.
Eventually, the tides and expectations began to change as the younger players Cleveland drafted and traded for eventually developed and surpassed Sexton. It put Sexton, to an extent, on the back burner in the grand scheme of things as the team shifted toward the better players on the roster. Instead of accepting the new status quo, his fans just doubled and eventually tripled down on how their guy was the best player on the roster.
That’s where you see a lot of the toxicity and discourse surrounding a very polarizing player online come from. The Sextonistas as I like to call them started grasping at straws and refused to see the forest for the trees. But, at the end of the day, fandom is a helluva drug as well and it’s not my job to say who you should and shouldn’t root for. Sure I’ll never fully understand the North Korean cult of personality surrounding him but if you’re a member and it makes you happy – rock on! Just please don’t threaten my friends or send death threats my way over him.
Eventually, those diehard fans will move on and root for Sexton and the Jazz, his new team. Some will also linger and continue to argue that Cleveland made a mistake. In the end, it’s a little less stressful on my end but, I will admit as someone who watches this team every single night, it is tough to see Sexton in a different uniform. He surpassed the odds stacked against him and became a very good NBA player along the way. The media was harsh and unfair to him at times, myself included, but he never commented on it and just kept playing basketball.
Ultimately, Collin Sexton’s time with the Cleveland Cavaliers was the perfect embodiment of the era he played in. He was a transition from one star-studded roster to another. He kept the fandom engaged while the Cavaliers sorted out things after LeBron James left for a second time. And now that Cleveland is ready to contend again, it was time for Sexton to move with a purpose as well.
Featured image credit: Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at [email protected] Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!