Cedi Osman isn’t the problem on the court for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a lot of issues as of late, especially on the perimeter defensively. We know this, we all know this and we all know which two players are most at fault, Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. Offensively, they’re dynamic, defensively they struggle. We have proof to back up this claim.
The Cavs’ three best defensive players are Jarrett Allen, Isaac Okoro, and Evan Mobley. Yet, they’re involved in the team’s most-used, third-worst defensive lineup going. Why is that? Because the other two players in that five-person lineup are Garland and Mitchell. They as a unit are given a defensive rating of 121.5. Now, you may think that’s good but for defense, lower is better. For offense, higher is better.
So seeing the three best defensive players get dragged down by Garland and Mitchell should be appalling. Who’s involved in the second-most used, second-worst defensive lineup? Glad you asked; Mitchell, Garland, Mobley, Lamar Stevens, and Caris LeVert.
Despite clearly seeing that Garland and Mitchell are the defensive issues, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff punishes Cedi Osman, a decidedly better defensive player than those two. And yes, we do have the evidence to back that up with.
Cedi Osman is getting scapegoated by JB Bickerstaff
Of all lineups that have at least 20 minutes or more of court time together, Osman is involved in the highest-rated offensively (139.0) and the highest-rated defensively (76.3); and they’re the same lineup. According to NBA.com, the lineup of Osman, LeVert, Garland, Okoro, and Mobley is the top lineup for the Cleveland Cavaliers in terms of offensive and defensive rating.
“Ok”, you say, “but that’s only one lineup.”
Sure, but Osman is also involved in the second-highest offensively rated lineup (125.3), which includes LeVert, Allen, Mitchell, and Kevin Love, as well as the second-highest rated defensive lineup (82.4) that involves Mitchell, Garland, Allen, and Mobley.
The Cavs have a lot of issues, and they’re not on Osman. Especially on defense. His defensive box plus-minus score is +0.4 and he has a defensive RAPTOR score of +1.0. Osman isn’t the issue. He may have been a streaky shooter at times (34% from three) but he’s a good defender who can body guys on the perimeter, while also playmaking on offense.
He’s a tremendous passer and if moved into the starting lineup, a lot of the team’s issues would be solved. At least in theory.
Hopefully, Bickerstaff gives Osman more opportunities.