Cleveland Cavaliers

Final Regular-Season Grades for Every Cleveland Cavaliers Player

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2014

Final Regular-Season Grades for Every Cleveland Cavaliers Player

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    The Cavaliers will now turn their back on the 2013-14 season and look toward improving next year.
    The Cavaliers will now turn their back on the 2013-14 season and look toward improving next year.Darron Cummings

    The 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers finished an adventurous season on a high note, knocking off the Brooklyn Nets by 29 points. Of course, a 33-49 final record wasn't exactly a melodic tune for the Cavs, but it's time for the class to receive their respective grades.

    Behind the core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao, Cleveland acquired Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes in an effort to expedite the rebuilding process.

    However, while the transactions were not quick-fixes, head coach Mike Brown dealt with a slew of injuries to key players, and his team fell short of the eighth seed by five games.

    Plus, the Cavaliers certainly didn't expect Matthew Dellavedova to be the team's best rookie but such was the case during the mediocre season in Cleveland.

     

    Note: Unless otherwise noted, all stats taken from NBA.com and Basketball-Reference. Advanced stats specifically attributed.

Anderson Varejao, Center

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    Anderson Varejao blocks Wayne Ellington of the Dallas Mavericks.
    Anderson Varejao blocks Wayne Ellington of the Dallas Mavericks.Tony Gutierrez

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 8.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks, 17.0 PER

    After appearing in just 81 games over the previous three seasons, Varejao missing only 17 contests was a welcomed sign in Cleveland.

    His scoring output dropped nearly six points per night, but per NBA.com, the Cavaliers boasted a plus-8.2 overall rating with Varejao on the floor. Additionally, his physical presence made a noticeable difference, and the team grabbed 2.9 percent more of available rebounds.

    As Bob Finnan of The Cleveland News-Herald writes, Varejao is excited about a preseason game against the Miami Heat because it will be played in his home country of Brazil.

    And there is nothing wrong with Varejao looking forward to the next season, especially following his healthiest campaign since 2009-10.

    Grade: B

Tristan Thompson, Power Forward

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    Tristan Thompson battles Kelly Olynyk for a rebound.
    Tristan Thompson battles Kelly Olynyk for a rebound.USA TODAY Sports

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks, 14.9 PER

    Tristan Thompson appeared in all 82 games for the second consecutive season, but he was Cleveland's only player to stay healthy for the entirety of 2013-14.

    The 23-year-old shot 47.7 percent from the field, taking 81.3 percent of his attempts from inside of 10 feet.

    However, Thompson left much to be desired on the other end, however, allowing opponents to shoot 59.1 percent at the rim. Overall, per NBA.com, the Cavs' team defensive rating was 107.0 with Thompson on the floor compared to 100.7 when he was on the bench.

    According to HoopsHype, Thompson is under contract for 2014-15 campaign and has a qualifying offer for the following season. But the power forward needs to become a better post defender if he wants to demand $7 million per year after his deal expires.

    Grade: C+

Luol Deng, Small Forward

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    Luol Deng has likely played his last NBA game in a Cleveland jersey.
    Luol Deng has likely played his last NBA game in a Cleveland jersey.Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats (With CLE): 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.1 blocks, 14.0 PER

    In early January, Cleveland acquired the veteran small forward in exchange for a regressing Andrew Bynum and three draft picks.

    Deng played 40 games, tallying the team's second-most minutes (33.8) each night while guarding the best scorer a given opponent had to offer.

    Though the Duke product was the No. 3 scorer with the Cavaliers and netted 14.3 points per outing, he never quite found a role in the offense.

    Of course, Cleveland basically traded for Deng to dump his salary anyway, so it's no surprise he is expected to pursue other options in free agency. Regardless, Deng was a decent contributor during his half-season in the wine and gold.

    Grade: B-

Dion Waiters, Shooting Guard

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    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 15.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks, 14.0 PER

    Waiters played relatively well as a rookie, and the former first-round pick was slightly more efficient during his second NBA season.

    The shooting guard raised his three-point percentage from 31.0 in 2012-13 to 36.8 this year and a better shot selection aided Waiters' FG percentage progression from 45.1 to 47.9.

    But his improvements did not come sans a major disagreement with Irving. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal notes Waiters "grew irritated" at an apparent lack of touches, creating a rift with his point guard.

    Thoughper NBA.com—Waiters had the 116th-most in the league, he may have had a reasonable argument. The Syracuse product trailed each of Irving, Varejao, Thompson and Deng in touches per game.

    Waiters certainly deserves the ball more often next year, even more so if he steadily continues his shooting improvements.

    Grade: B

Kyrie Irving, Point Guard

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    It was that kind of season for Kyrie Irving.
    It was that kind of season for Kyrie Irving.USA TODAY Sports

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 20.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, 20.1 PER

    Jodie Valade of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer notes Irving was disappointed in the team's effort as the season came to a close.

    With that being said, Irving's own performance during his third year in the NBA was far from stellar. The Cavaliers' overall rating was a disappointing minus-4.4 with Irving on the court. What's more, the team's offensive rating surprisingly dropped a mere 0.9 when he took a seat.

    So, what kind of point guard is Irving? Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio wonders if the young gun is an offense-first player similar to Stephon Marbury or if he truly can make teammates better like his "NBA hero" Chris Paul.

    Irving is undeniably a great scorer, but he'll soon be offered a max contract he hasn't necessarily earned yet. Is he worth it? His 2013-14 performance suggests not, but at 22 years old, Irving still has a few seasons before his prime.

    And that's a risk Cleveland will probably be compelled to take.

    Grade: B-

Jarrett Jack, Sixth Man

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    Jarrett Jack has always been a versatile piece off the bench.
    Jarrett Jack has always been a versatile piece off the bench.David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, 11.5 PER

    Following an outstanding season with the Golden State Warriors, Jarrett Jack was able to chase the money and signed with Cleveland.

    Jack provided a veteran presence throughout the 2013-14 campaign, coming off the bench to play multiple positions and guiding the budding backcourt stars. According to Rick Noland of The Chronicle-Telgram, Jack believes the duo of Irving and Waiters can thrive together.

    But the ninth-year pro needs to find his own fit within the offense.

    In practically the same amount of minutes as last year, Jack took 159 fewer shots while making 4.2 percent less. Additionally, after connecting on 44.9 percent of three-point attempts from the right wing, he converted on a dismal 25.0 percent this season.

    Per HoopsHype, Jack is due $6.3 million per year for two more seasons with a team option for a third. His decrease in offensive production was staggering, and Cleveland needs him to improve in a big way throughout 2014-15.

    Grade: C

Tyler Zeller, Center

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    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 5.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, 15.4 PER

    Tyler Zeller was an excellent performer off the bench, though he occupied a lesser role this season because of Varejao's more consistent availability.

    Zeller improved his overall shooting percentage from 43.8 to 53.8, taking more than half of his total attempts within three feet of the rim.

    Additionally, per NBA.com, Cleveland was a much better defensive team with Zeller on the floor, boasting a plus-4.4 difference when the North Carolina product manned the paint.

    Ultimately, Zeller was tasked with defending the rim, and he was much better than Thompson and Varejao.

    Grade: B+

Spencer Hawes, Power Forward

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    Spencer Hawes contributed nearly 14 points per game during his short time in Cleveland.
    Spencer Hawes contributed nearly 14 points per game during his short time in Cleveland.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats (With CLE): 13.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 blocks, 16.6 PER

    As the trade deadline approached, the Cavs added Spencer Hawes in exchange for Earl Clark and a pair of second-round draft picks.

    Granted, Hawes only played 27 games for Cleveland, but he connected on a team-leading 44.8 percent of three-pointers.

    Hawes' contract expired after the season, but Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer notes the 7-footer provides invaluable spacing for Waiters and Irving. The front office must decide if he is worth the healthy payday, but the limited appearances still point toward yes.

    Though he didn't spend the majority of 2013-14 with the Cavaliers, Hawes was easily one of the team's top players.

    Grade: A-

Alonzo Gee, Small Forward

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    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 4.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.2 blocks, 8.6 PER

    Alonzo Gee is known as an effort player, throwing down a few highlight-reel dunks or being a pest on the defensive end of the floor. Backing up Deng, Gee drew the responsibility of guarding the opponent's best offensive player.

    However, the swingman simply was not very good.

    Offensively, the Cavaliers suffered with Gee in the game (98.7 O-rating), and his defensive prowess did not overpower opposing teams (106.6 D-rating), per NBA.com.

    According to HoopsHype, Cleveland holds a team option for next season, but Gee is not worth the $3.25 million payout.

    Grade: D

C.J. Miles, Shooting Guard

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    C.J. Miles finished seven points shy of averaging 10.0 per game.
    C.J. Miles finished seven points shy of averaging 10.0 per game.Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 9.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, 16.0 PER

    C.J. Miles was one of the more under-appreciated role players in the league last season.

    Save for two minutes against the Miami Heat in mid-March, Miles missed the final 26 games due to an ankle injury, and he was sorely missed.

    Per NBA.com, Miles scored 0.40 points per touch, which was actually the 10th-best mark in the entire league for players accumulating at least 1,000 touches.

    According to HoopsHype, Miles is an unrestricted free agent. If he demands too much money, Cleveland can let Miles walk, but the Cavaliers must at least pursue re-signing the lefty.

    Grade: B+

Matthew Dellavedova, Shooting Guard

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    Matthew Dellavedeova appeared in the third-most games on the team this season.
    Matthew Dellavedeova appeared in the third-most games on the team this season.USA TODAY Sports

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.1 blocks, 10.7 PER

    An undrafted rookie out of St. Mary's, Matthew Dellavedova was known as an excellent passer and decent shooter in college.

    Cleveland took a low-risk chance on Dellavedova, signing the guard to a partially guaranteed deal, and he did not disappoint. The 6'4" guard shot 41.6 percent from the field, knocking down 36.8 percent from behind the arc.

    Matthew Florjancic of WKYC.com wrote that "Delly" earned the respect of his team. "We know hard he works," Waiters said. "We see it every day. He's one of the first guys in...we notice it."

    Overall, per NBA.com, the Cavaliers' on-court rating was a surprising plus-10.7 with Dellavedova in the game.

    Grade: B

Anthony Bennett, Small Forward

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    Anthony Bennett's rookie campaign was a rough one.
    Anthony Bennett's rookie campaign was a rough one.USA TODAY Sports

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 4.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, 6.9 PER

    Anthony Bennett had a forgettable year, starting with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft's inaugural appearances in the league. Bennett only managed to connect on four of his first 37 field-goal attempts, and it hardly improved.

    Midseason rumors of the rookie being sent down to the D-League ran rampant but a strained left knee in early March basically ended Bennett's disastrous rookie campaign...until the final game against Brooklyn.

    Bennett played 15 minutes, scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds, which was actually one of his more efficient nights all season.

    Like the Chicago Cubs say, there's always next year.

    Grade: F

Sergey Karasev, Small Forward

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    Sergey Karasev couldn't quite handle the adjustment to the NBA.
    Sergey Karasev couldn't quite handle the adjustment to the NBA.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 1.7 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.1 steals, 0.0 blocks, 2.3 PER

    The Cavaliers selected Sergey Karasev with the 19th overall pick of the most recent draft, but he didn't have much success as a rookie, either.

    Karasev served multiple stints with the Canton Charge in the D-League, averaging 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steal. But that's not the big league, where Karasev played 7.1 minutes per outing and had minimal production.

    Between right knee tendinitis in March and a healthy amount of "DNP-Coach's Decision" tags, Karasev appeared in just eight games during the 2014 calendar year.

    Of course, the Russian prospect is a mere 20 years old, so he has plenty of time to develop into an NBA swingman.

    Grade: D

Carrick Felix, Shooting Guard

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    Carrick Felix's rookie flight never made it off the ground due to injury.
    Carrick Felix's rookie flight never made it off the ground due to injury.USA TODAY Sports

    Final 2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 2.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, 13.3 PER

    Carrick Felix was drafted 33rd overall last year, but his first NBA campaign was hardly all that.

    Felix played in just six games and 26 total minutes before missing 46 straight contests, mostly because of a stress fracture in his left knee.

    But that didn't stop Felix from returning for a seventh game during the season finale against Brooklyn, where he scored 10 points and dished three assists in a career-best performance.

    It's now how you start, it's how you finish, right?

    Grade: Incomplete

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