Having agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire superstar forward Kevin Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in a great position. With a trio of Love, LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs will be one of the best teams in the league behind a high-powered offense. Unfortunately, offense is only half of the game.
With the current roster build, none of the Cavs three bigs (Love, Varejao, Thompson) are good rim defenders. This issue has forced the Cavaliers to look around the league for a starting center that can better the defense, offering a first-round pick as bait. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov is one of the centers they’ve looked to acquire via trade.
Woj states that Cavs made a run at Timofey Mozgov (offering a 1st round pick) in hopes adding a big center and rim protection
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) August 7, 2014
Last season, Mozgov was one of the best rim protectors in the NBA. Per NBA Stat’s Player Tracking System, Mozgov forced opponents to shoot 46.9% at the rim. In comparison, the league best at rim protection per SportsVU was Indiana’s Roy Hibbert at 41.4%.
He’s exactly what the Cavaliers need at the center position behind James, Irving, and Love. Along with rim protection, he’s a solid rebounder and can work in the pick-and-roll with James and Irving. Most importantly, Mozgov’s presence would allow the Cavaliers to play Anderson Varejao less minutes per game, preserving his healthy for playoff basketball.
Woj didn’t make it clear how close or far away the Cavaliers were in their pursuit for Mozgov, but if they find a way to acquire the center, they’ll become the clear frontrunners to win the Eastern Conference.