Should the Cavs consider signing Dillon Brooks this offseason? Hey Chris!

CLEVELAND, Ohio — This is the final edition of Hey, Chris!

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Hi Chris: Should the Cavs consider signing Dillon Brooks? –William, Pepper Pike

Hi William: If signing Brooks is the answer after a playoff gentleman’s sweep, then the wrong question is being asked.

It’s not just about his hateful history with the Cavs, especially star guard Donovan Mitchell, who has openly expressed his dislike for the Memphis bad boy. It’s not just about Brooks’ antics – on and off the court. It’s not just about his face. It’s not just about his poor form. It’s not just about him wanting a bigger role with his next team, something the Cavs can’t provide based on their current roster construction. It’s not just about his polarizing style of play, which oscillates between physical, competitive and aggressive and reckless and disruptive.

It is all this side.

There are plenty of places where Brooks makes sense. Despite his limitations on offense — many of which were brought to light in the playoffs against the Lakers — he’s a defensive threat who’s started 244 games over the past four years while helping Memphis change its culture and get back in the game. . Any team in need of a strong, defense-focused wing would be wise to at least consider signing Brooks – if they’re comfortable with that other nonsense.

Does it sound like the Cavs? Is this the best way for them to use their $12.2 mid-tier exception – or a large chunk of it – in free agency?

Given the drastic pack-the-paint defensive strategy New York deployed in the first round, leading to an overcrowded court, the Cavs should focus on becoming a better, more diverse offense. The objective should be to find ground spacers, shooters and bidirectional wings. It’s about adding traits – and skills – that don’t already exist on this list.

For now, the Cavs have options to fill Brooks’ notional role — Isaac Okoro and Lamar Stevens. There are already enough non-shooters like Brooks — his dwindling 3-point accuracy leading the Lakers to ignore him on the perimeter, similar to what the Knicks did with Okoro and Stevens.

Brooks – a career 34.2% 3-point bomber who hit just 32.6% last season and a meager 30.9% the year before – in the starting lineup alongside the paint-stampers Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley? How do the Cavs still perform on offense in the playoffs with this makeup on? How does this setup make things easier for Mitchell and Darius Garland? How is it better than starting Okoro? How does signing Brooks solve Cleveland’s core problem and make them better equipped to win a playoff series?

This is not the case. He is not a good candidate.

The Cavs weren’t roughly kicked out of the playoffs in five games because their defense wasn’t good enough. They held the Knicks to the lowest true shot mark of any team in the first round. Their first-shot defense was spectacular. But New York’s astronomical offensive rebound rate of 34.9% was crippling — and unacceptable for a team that relied on a big two formation for most of the series. Even with that untenable mark, the Cavs finished their shortened playoff series with third-best D.

Defense is not their problem. It’s at the other end of the floor, where Brooks has become a running back.

They better hunt Kelly Oubre Jr., Grant Williams, Donte DiVincenzo, Harrison Barnes Joe Ingles, Max Strus, Gary Trent Jr., Josh Richardson and Torrey Craig – although some of them will probably command more than the average level .

Brooklyn sniper Cam Johnson would be ideal. But he’s a restricted free agent — and a pipe dream.

Hi Chris: Can you explain why Mitchell was so ineffective in the Knicks series? Did we overestimate the extent to which he would be able to lead the Cavs to playoff success? –Steve, Amherst

Hi Steve: Mitchell wasn’t good enough against the Knicks. He averaged 23.2 points on 43.3 percent shooting and 28.9 percent from 3-point range to go with 5.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists against 3.8 turnovers in 41.3 minutes. With him on the field, the Cavs were outscored by nine points. He took the blame after Game 5 – although it wasn’t all on him.

Knicks swingman Josh Hart deserves the credit. His physicality and doggedness played a part in Mitchell’s struggles. At various times, Hart had Mitchell in a figurative torture chamber. Mitchell has also missed shots he can make. It happens from time to time.

But Cleveland’s flawed roster played the biggest role.

Postseason basketball is all about exploiting weaknesses. The Knicks purposely ignored non-threats from Cleveland and designed their strategy to make things tough on Mitchell and Garland. They were successful, crushing the Cleveland star, dispatching several defenders, forcing the ball out of his hands and playing him into a crowd.

Mitchell took 104 shots in five games against New York. Sixty-four of them were classified as highly or very highly contested. Seventy-seven of those attempts were outside nine feet, as the Knicks built an impenetrable wall around the paint that forced Mitchell — and other Cavs players — to repeatedly hoist jumpers .

It’s also fair to wonder if Bickerstaff and his assistants did enough strategy to place these guys in the best position for offensive success.

Hi Chris: If you were responsible and could turn back time, would you do the Mitchell trade again? –David, Boston

Hi David: Yes. Absolutely. I don’t know how much I even need to expand on this answer. But you’re not the only one to have asked for it in recent weeks.

Mitchell finished sixth in MVP voting. He may be the first All-NBA team. He had a career year and rewrote the franchise record books. He is only 26 years old and is still under contract for at least two more seasons. It’s a star league and these players are not easy to find. If that meant sacrificing short-term depth to get that top talent — the kind the Cavs couldn’t find in free agency and were no longer able to draft — then so be it. Depth is easier to add. Additional players can be signed or added via small trades.

A poor playoff run doesn’t change what Mitchell’s arrival meant for the organization — and the impact he can have going forward. There was – and still is – a different, unquantifiable level of belief.

Mitchell helped the Cavs to their best regular season since 2016-17. He played the most important role in them reaching the playoffs without LeBron James for the first time in 25 years. The Cavs were statistically better on offense and defense. He made things easier on Garland. None of this can be ignored. Nor can it be assumed that the same thing would have happened had the exchange not been consummated.

Let that unfold a bit. The deal wasn’t done just for the 2022-23 campaign.

Hi Chris: How likely are the Cavs to trade Isaac Okoro this offseason? –Jacob, Stow

Hi Jacob: The Cavs will explore all avenues of improvement in the offseason — and Okoro is no longer considered a baseline player.

Any of the “consumable” parts could be dealt with in the right deal. That means Okoro, the still-developing 22-year-old swingman who is beloved by his teammates and members of the organization due to his relentless work ethic, team mentality, and low-maintenance attitude. But the Cavs also don’t have that much time to wait for Okoro to develop.

That Bickerstaff was justified in his decision, he felt that removing Okoro from the starting lineup and cutting his minutes was the best option against New York.

On his own, Okoro won’t bring back significant loot. But what if he’s included in a larger package with future second-round picks and the attractive, team-friendly contracts of Cedi Osman and Ricky Rubio?

Does it earn them a wing upgrade? Does it help rebuild the erratic bench?

If that’s the case, Okoro could be moved – and it wouldn’t be considered a “radical change”, which president of basketball operations Koby Altman said the team would avoid.

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