The Cavs need Dylan Windler to play and play well.
The Cavs have not been the most well-put-together team in the NBA. While some will cite the struggles of the team being nothing more than the “growing pains” of a rebuilding club, we’ve seen teams turn around their fortunes far faster than the Cavaliers have. Now in year four of the rebuild, the Cavaliers are a shallow team, built around Collin Sexton’s one-dimensional offense and Jarrett Allen’s semi-above-par defense. The team can’t get free agents, the rookies they’ve drafted have upside, but also have glaring issues and the team has no real depth. Enter Dylan Windler.
Windler hasn’t really played since being drafted in 2019. From a draft that saw the Cavaliers acquire Darius Garland and Kevin Porter, Windler was supposed to be the next shooter for the team. A guy who could be a Kyle Korver type, but Windler has only proven to be too injured to play.
Cleveland is taking notice of this. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, two sources within the Cavaliers are marking 2021-2022 as Windler’s last chance to make it with the team.
One source is quoted as saying;
"….(I) Have no idea if he can play. We haven’t seen anything from him yet. Kid’s got to be available first. Bottom line."
With a coach even saying the same thing.
"At some point, he’s got to produce. He needs to stay healthy and become a consistent 3-point threat. If he can do those two things then I think he has a chance."
The Cavaliers need Dylan Windler to be healthy and produce
The Cavs don’t have a choice, they need Dylan Windler. There’s no guarantee that he’ll ever turn into anything, but the Cavaliers have thrown themselves into this pit of dread where they need every single draft pick to produce. An unrealistic expectation knowing how many draft picks end up being busts in the league, but the Cavaliers just have no other choices.
They can’t acquire talent in trades that actually make an impact, and instead of getting the most out of them or finding a way to maintain them long-term, the team trades them away for second-round picks. This has depleted the team of viable, valuable talent that would’ve made a huge difference if the Cavs had kept them.
Sure, things are looking better, with the Cavs landing Ricky Rubio and Evan Mobley in the offseason, but Rubio is going to come off the bench, minimizing his impact and Mobley was horrid shooting the ball in the Summer League. Then the one guy they thought was a steal, who could probably make the team, Chandler Vaudrin, tears his ACL in the Summer League. One of the best collegiate triple-double players, just done.
Now the Cavs may have some good young pieces, but the depth is as shallow as a puddle when it comes to good bench talent. The team is hoping for rebound seasons from Cedi Osman and Kevin Love while hoping Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens can really cement their place on the team.
If Windler can’t stay healthy, this team will have an even harder time stretching the court this year than last.