With so many injuries to so many key players to start the season, it has been hard to gauge where the Cleveland Cavaliers stand in the grand scheme of the NBA. Advanced metrics say the Cavs have the 22nd-best offense in the league per offensive rating, scoring 111.4 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile, they have the 10th-best defense based on defensive rating, allowing an average of 111.9 points per 100 possessions.
Overall, that gives Cleveland a net rating of -0.5, meaning they allow more points than they can currently score. That's well below league average, putting the Cavs in a similar spot to the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings. While that isn't bad company for Cleveland to be rolling with, it's still hard to fully gauge where the Cavs stand because of the injuries they've dealt with to start the year.
Cavs on the mend
Thankfully, after two decisive wins over the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland is finding balance on both ends of the floor as the roster gets healthier. Even more encouraging is that players like Isaac Okoro, who was sidelined for nearly 10 games due to a nagging knee injury, say he feels stronger and doesn't see the injury being an issue.
It's even more encouraging that Cleveland is getting a bit of a breather in the schedule, starting with when they host the Portland Trail Blazers, so a run could be in order. The only players unavailable for the Cavs are Dean Wade, Ty Jerome, Ricky Rubio, Emoni Bates and Isaiah Mobley. Rubio's ongoing absence is expected as the Cavs give the veteran point guard as much time as he needs to prioritize his mental well-being and decide what is best for him. Meanwhile, Bates and Mobley are getting well-deserved rest after playing recently for the Cleveland Charge, the team's NBA G League affiliate, to get the on-court reps they typically won't get with the Cavs.
Wade has been dealing with a sprained ankle and has missed several games. But he was spotted at practice recently going through an extensive shooting drill with coaches. Sources tell ClutchPoints that Wade is on track to be available for Cleveland sooner rather than later, which gives the Cavs another healthy rotation piece available. Getting Wade back would be a massive boost for Cleveland considering how valuable his skill set is as a big man with the ability to hit shots from the perimeter.
Of course, the Cavs won't rush Wade back to the floor, but he'll make a team that's already deep much harder to game plan for a nightly basis. Meanwhile, with Jerome, it's tricky to determine when he'll be back on the floor after head coach J.B. Bickerstaff shared that his recovery hasn't progressed as they had hoped.
“He is recovering,” said Bickerstaff. “They’re doing different steps with him and trying some new things, different things in order to help him. He’s doing another treatment now, and I’ll let the medical staff talk about the timeline when they put all that together. He’s trying something different than just the normal rehab.”
While Craig Porter Jr. has entrenched himself as the defacto backup guard, getting Jerome back would give Cleveland even more three-point shooting threats and another guard to support Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. Thankfully, the Cavs are only two players away from being completely healthy.
Still, as things start rolling against the Blazers, Cleveland is primed to flip the script on what advanced metrics say about them as a unit.