In their efforts to rebuild the team following LeBron’s departure, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Sam Dekker in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dekker, who is just 24 years old, was the 18th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by Houston. The Wisconsin native played only three games in his rookie season, missing time with a back injury. The following season, Dekker played in 77 games for the Rockets. He averaged 6.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and shot 47.3 percent from the field.
That offseason, Dekker was a part of the Chris Paul trade and was dealt to Los Angeles. In his one season with the Clippers, Dekker saw a reduced role as he only played around 12 minutes a night. In turn, Dekker’s numbers also dipped to just 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds. He also shot just 16.7 percent from beyond the arc, which was shocking given that he was a 34 percent long range shooters in his three years at Wisconsin.
Sides are still working through parameters, but it’s essentially Clippers clearing a roster spot and a chance for Dekker to get a better opportunity for minutes with Cavs. https://t.co/aIYRLW2rAo
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 5, 2018
Dekker will have some competition at the forward position (Cedi Osman, Billy Preston), but will likely be given every opportunity to compete for playing time. The forward position was (and still is) the Cavaliers biggest area of concern, so this trade for Dekker makes a lot of sense.
Even with inconsistent playing time, Dekker has shown flashes of the player Cleveland hopes he can be. Even though his outside shot was not falling much last season, Dekker showed he was capable of driving to the hoop and finishing around the rim. At 6’9″ Dekker has the height to shoot over smaller defenders, he will just need to get stronger to be able to go up against the better forwards in the league.
The 16.7 percent clip from beyond the arc last season is alarming, but Dekker has shown he can knock down the long range shots if he is open. In his one full season with the Rockets, Dekker shot just over 32 percent from outside and made almost two three-point shots per game.
While the three-point shot is not Dekker’s game, it is a nice tool to have, especially in an era where the three point shot is such a staple in most teams offensive game plan.
Adding a young, unproven player like Dekker at such a low cost is how the Cavaliers are going to have to operate now. With LeBron gone, there is a team in place that will still be competitive, but will no longer be a staple of the Eastern Conference playoffs every year.
Taking a flier on Dekker is a low-risk move. If he works out, then the Cavaliers got a rotation player for essentially nothing. If Dekker does not improve, the team can cut bait and start fresh.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) August 7, 2018
It is sometimes tough to remember Dekker was a first round pick, who is good at attacking defenses on the drive. He has a solid first step, and can finish around the hoop with good explosiveness. Dekker is also a reliable perimeter defender who plays hard and has a high basketball IQ.
After dealing with injuries and inconsistent play in his first three seasons in the league, a fresh start is just what Sam Dekker needed. Still only 24-years-old, Dekker has the potential to grow into a dependable two-way player for this new-look Cavaliers team.