Kyle Korver is not the same player that he used to be. That’s the case for most 35-year-old athletes playing in the NBA. The 6’7 swingman has lost a half-step in terms of explosiveness, isn’t shooting the ball at quite the same level that he was in his absolute prime and has never been a threat to create off the dribble for himself or others. Why, then, are the Cleveland Cavaliers investing a first round pick from a near-depleted stockpile of draft assets in order to secure his services? Well, that’s simple.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are now, officially, unguardable.
Make no mistake, the presence of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love is the primary reason that the Cavs are so potent on the offensive end. The defending champs already possess one of the two most explosive offensive trios in the NBA (hello, Golden State) and, with LeBron in the mix, everything is ratcheted up in terms of both execution and intensity. Cleveland is scoring at a rate of more than 110 points per 100 possessions this season. Even in a league that is scoring at an historic pace thus far, that is good for a top-five mark and also includes a few outings in which the Cavs have “punted” by leaving their stars in street clothes for the proceedings.
Still, Cleveland does have some “holes” (albeit small ones when compared to other squads) with their roster and one comes in the form of dead-eye shooting. J.R. Smith has capably served as the gunner on the wing for the Cavs in recent years, but the talented and mercurial swingman is on the shelf for a multi-month absence as a result of a broken thumb. Even before that, the champs were likely one shooter short of an ideal set-up, and that prompted the acquisition of Mike Dunleavy Jr. to fill that presumed role alongside Smith, Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson.