After offseason moves, Cavs will focus on movement in wide-open offense

Korver, Dekker and Ty Lue are looking for more movement in Post-LeBron offense

Jake Kauffman
September 29, 2018 - 4:35 pm
 Los Angeles Clippers forward Sam Dekker (7) dunks the ball in the first half of the game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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Although the offseason for the Cavaliers has focused on departure, the 2018-19 season will be about those returning.

Kyle Korver returns in the Wine and Gold for his 18th NBA season despite plenty of off-season rumors surrounding potential trades out of Cleveland The veteran shooter knows it's different this season without a certain #23 in Cleveland.

“I think a lot of what we’re going right now is breaking old habits. Before you build new ones, you’ve got to break some old ones and a lot of it is just training your brain….for me, for a lot of the guys.”

The Cavaliers have brought in a lot of new players with their own new habits which should make the transition easier according to Korver.

“Bringing in new personnel, bringing in young energy. The coaching staff has been great, so much teaching, you can tell they put a lot of time into making this team the best that we can be,” says Korver. “They’ve got a lot of new thoughts. Some of it is taking our old stuff and tweaking it, then we have a bunch of new actions that we want to get good at so it’s been a lot of learning, a lot of teaching, a lot of movement but it’s really fun basketball.”

Joining Korver on the wing this season is Sam Dekker who was acquired this off-season from the LA Clippers. Although it's Dekker’s first season with the Cavaliers, the former Badger returns to his Midwestern roots after growing up in Wisconsin.

“I think it’s huge, almost like a breath of fresh air a little bit. I’m a midwest guy back in the midwest. I’m just welcoming it, trying to stay an open mind, keep learning but really trying to be aggressive and show my true game and show who I am,” says Dekker. “If I miss a couple shots, who cares, keep the foot on the gas, that’s my game. I’ve got to keep doing that and when I’ve got that confidence level up, I can do a lot of good things.”

Dekker, standing 6’9" and weighing 230 pounds, will also find himself spelling Kevin Love at the 4 and is looking forward to getting the ball down low.

“Me and Kevin are really the only true 4’s that we have so that opens up some minutes there and opportunity there using my athleticism. When they brought me in they said ‘We just want to let you loose’ and that’s been so awesome and I’ve welcomed that,” says Dekker. “I’m really playing at a high level, playing like me. I got away from that a little last year so to just have the floor open for me, letting me use my dribbling ability and outside shot and just opening the game up for myself and create for others.”

Coach Ty Lue has been impressed with the 3rd year man out of Wisconsin and knows Dekker could thrive in the Cavs offense this season.

“Runs the floor, he’s an excellent cutter, like a great cutter. He reminds me a lot of Avery Bradley with the timing of his cuts. He’s shooting the ball better than I thought he could and he can pass the basketball. His play making ability and ability to see different plays in different situations has surprised me.”

Lue continued to laud his new forward and also sees him being able to play on the outside and inside depending on the matchup to open up the offense.

“We want him to do certain things just to see if he can do it and he’s proven that he can,” says Lue. “I don’t ever want to try and take away from guy’s game to try and make sure it fits our team but he’s been great. Just being able to play the game, push the ball on the break, make plays, shoot his 3. When smaller guys are trying to switch on him, we want to post him because I was guarding him this summer before camp started and he’s a lot stronger than I thought he was and when he’s on the block we definitely want to take advantage of that.”

Despite the praise of Coach Lue, the offense is still a self-described “work in progress” according to Korver but the veteran sharpshooter see plenty of possibilities for the wide-open attack.

“The goal is to make quick decisions, you got something, take it,” says Korver. “If not, next action. A lot of the sets that we’re putting in have 2-3-4 options in them so its just trusting. Not trying to force the first action if it’s not there, make a quick decision and get into the second and same thing, swing it, lots of quick decisions.”

Dekker’s career is somewhat of a work in progress as well now suiting up for his 3rd team in 3 seasons after being taken 18th overall in 2015 but the former Badger thinks he has what it takes to showcase that first round talent in Cleveland.

“There’s been really, really good highs and some times that weren’t as great and that happens over the course of a season, of an NBA career. It’s not like I haven’t been on the court, I’ve played a lot of minutes in this league already. Now it’s just time for me to take that next step and show this is a guy that can be here for a long time, a guy that can last in this league. I truly hope that I can show that and I really anticipate that and the coaching staff has been so good at opening that up to me.”

Speaking of getting open, Korver assures that will still be able to happen this season in the Cavs offense despite LeBron James now playing for the Lakers.

“We’re all gonna be moving a lot more, it’s gonna be harder to guard each of us cause we’re coming off a screen, a dribble hand-off, a pick and roll, we’re swinging the ball so there’s more opportunities for breakdowns on the defense,” says Korver. “Obviously we don’t have LeBron creating breakdowns but we’ll create different breakdowns hopefully with a lot more movement.”

Fans will get their first look at the new wide-open offense Sunday when the Cavaliers travel to Dayton for the Wine and Gold Scrimmage at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.