Firstly, players who aren’t listed were deemed as having not done enough to warrant a grade and will be given an “incomplete”. Secondly, the scale won’t be about talent but expectations measured against execution. If an undrafted rookie is playing well, they might get a “B”, while a top-10 pick who’s scoring a lot may get a “C”. It’s all about the scale.
The “A” Players
The only two players who are exceeding expectations at a pace that seems sustainable are Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. They’re both seen as long-term pieces and they both have huge impacts on both sides of the court. That’s what you need to get an A-grade, be really dang good on both sides of the court. Nance won’t out-score you, but he does enough of everything to be a problem, and both men could easily compete with one another for an actual NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
The “B” Players
Collin Sexton isn’t playing badly at all, despite what some may think of this honest critique. There’s a lot he doesn’t do well, pass, play defense, shoot-threes. Yet, he does score inside the arc as good as, if not better, than any other guard in the league. While it may be a bit perplexing but I gotta put JaVale McGee as a “B” as well. He was signed to be a bench guy and wasn’t expected to be anyone of value on this team. Yet, he’s really shown up as an energy and effort guy this year. He went from someone who settled at signing with Cleveland to now being a nice trade asset. He’s not a top-five player on the team, but he’s exceeded expectations.
The “C” Players
He’s proven to be far too similar to Sexton, but Darius Garland has played far better this year than he did as a rookie, but his defensive issues will keep him from ever ascending past Sexton. Who would’ve thought that Lamar Stevens would have become a nice little player off the bench for the Cavs. His energy is needed and could develop into an everyday rotation player. Same for Dean Wade, who’s shown to be a less imposing version of Kevin Love. Dylan Windler isn’t wrecking the league but he is playing pretty well for a guy who missed all of last year.
The “D” Players
I wanna like Cedi Osman but his inconsistency shooting three’s is killing this team. Granted, when Kevin Love was out, he was the only one trying, so at least there’s that. He’s a really good playmaker, a solid defender, and a good passer, but his three-point shooting is what the Cavs need of him and he isn’t delivering. At least he’s not a $20+ million player like Andre Drummond, who was as bad offensively as anyone. At least four or five times a game Drummond would take the ball up the court himself like he was Nikola Jokic. Very rarely did something other than a turnover happen. He did lead the Cavs in turnovers per game for a reason. It was unclear what Taurean Prince was expected to do in Cleveland after the trade but shooting 36% from the floor wasn’t it.
The “F” Players
It might be unfair to throw Damyean Dotson here, but he’s shooting 39% from the floor, 27% from three, and only 71% from the free-throw line. He’s a liability defensively and he’s being outplayed by two undrafted forwards. He’s the worst player on the team in 2020-2021, however, Isaac Okoro comes in a close second. Okoro may develop into a star, it’s only his rookie year, but he can’t score. At all. He’s averaging 40% from the floor, mostly because he 1) doesn’t shoot that much and 2) scores a lot in transition. If he has to shoot from three, or anywhere outside of the paint, watch out. Okoro can get better, this isn’t a final evaluation of him as a player, just an evaluation of him as a player through 36 games.