As things currently stand for the Cavaliers, they have mostly a full roster with the exception of needing to re-sign Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova. The team has brought in Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson to push Dellavedova further down the depth chart and to replace Shawn Marion who pretty much retired mid-season.
The Cavs were a very thin team for the first half of the 2014-2015 campaign. Their lack of flexibility and depth resulted in way too much Joe Harris and games where Shawn Marion started at shooting guard. The trades with the Knicks and Nuggets saved the season and provided the team with the flexibility necessary to contend. Losing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the playoffs ruined that for the team and it showed heavily in the Finals. Having said that, getting the Cavs healthy and bringing in a few pieces will help the team tremendously.
There is a lot of criticism about the Cavs not making a big splash in free agency. People are antsy over the fact that the Cavs did not trade Brendan Haywood for a piece or because they did not re-sign Smith, Thompson and to a lesser extent Dellavedova.
There also appears to be criticism over the Cavs bringing in Richard Jefferson. Shawn Marion was a pretty big disappointment for the Cavs, even though he only made the veteran’s minimum and wasn’t counted on that much after the trades. Marion Averaged 4.8 PPG and 3.5 RPG for the Cavs in his final season. His fit with the team was always dubious at best given the fact that he was never considered much of a shooter. Marion ended up being a 33.1% three point shooter in his career. Considering how much isolation the Cavs play, they need players who can spread the floor and be efficient off of catch-and-shoot opportunities. That is exactly why Dion Waiters never panned out for the Cavs and why J.R. Smith did.
For that reason, Richard Jefferson probably will not be as disappointing as Shawn Marion was for the Cavs. The similarities end with them both being veterans in their mid thirties who played for the Dallas Mavericks last year. Shawn Marion was showing signs of being on the tail end of his career in his last season in Dallas. His field goal percentage dropped from 51.4% in 2012-2103 to 48..2% in the following season. Per 36 minutes, he went from 14.5 PG to 11.8 in that same time span. His RPG dropped from 9.4 to 7.4 per 36 minutes in that same time span.
Richard Jefferson, on the other hand, has not had much of a drop-off in his last two seasons. His field goal percentage has remained similar. In 2013-2014, he shot 45% with the Jazz. With the Mavericks last year, he shot 44.4%. Jefferson actually improved his three point shooting last year. With the Jazz two years ago, he shot 40.9% from deep and he shot 42.6% with the Mavericks.
A side-by-side comparison of Marion and Jefferson’s three point shot charts from NBA.com show that Jefferson is a better fit for the Cavs than Marion was. Both are veteran bargain bin veterans and expecting too much from them will leave fans disappointed. Having said that, Jefferson appears to have more in the tank and is a better fit to begin with for how the Cavs play. Richard Jefferson is a good small forward to backup LeBron James and getting him for the veteran’s minimum is a steal.