Cavaliers Remain Odds Favorite as Signings Continue

David Lawrence

Monday, August 18, 2014 10:12 PM UTC

Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 10:12 PM UTC

The LeBron James magnet effect just keeps being confirmed and developed in Cleveland. Shawn Marion is the latest well-known name to make the hop to LeBron’s old-new team in the Eastern Conference. How will this affect the Cavaliers and the rest of the East, not to mention the Dallas Mavericks, who will lose Marion in all this? Let’s see what can be gleaned from this story at first glance.

What This Means For The Cleveland Cavaliers

In the short term, Cleveland is getting a reasonably competent glue-guy small forward, presumably as a bench player, to stitch together the team during the regular season while providing leadership and mentoring for other, younger players on the team. Marion averaged 10.4 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 0.5 block per outing last season. If it is assumed that the Kevin Love deal for Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins, and a first-round pick does go through later this month, Marion would join Mike Miller, Erik Murphy, Malcolm Thomas, Tristan Thompson, and Dwight Powell as Cleveland’s forwards. There’s a lot of dead weight in that group, with Murphy and Thomas barely making any noticeable statistical contribution to the Cavs.

Miller is a role player meant for perimeter shooting, probably a guy who will be on the floor at the same time as LeBron. Thompson is Cleveland’s best power forward, with Powell being a rookie who has an NBA-ready body and could help the Cavs with rebounding and defense this season. Marion’s place in the rotation is probably going to be next in line after Miller and Thompson, ahead of Powell, Murphy and Thomas. Marion’s three-point shot is decent, at 35.8 percent last season, but it’s not the weapon it used to be in his days with the Phoenix Suns. Marion averaged 10.4 points per game last season, but that was for Dallas in a more fast-paced Western Conference. The Mavs had to try to keep pace with the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Eastern Conference ball is more of a grind, and so one should expect Marion’s numbers to go slightly down. Cleveland should be happy if it gets quality defense from Marion whenever he’s on the floor. Offense would be a bonus. 

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What This Means For The Dallas Mavericks
In the bigger picture, this is not a bad thing for Dallas. The Mavericks snagged Tyson Chandler as their rim protector in the offseason. They also swiped Chandler Parsons from Houston and Jameer Nelson from Orlando. Dallas has added a lot of length and speed to a lineup that already included Monta Ellis and Devin Harris. It’s not that illogical at all to conclude that Marion might have slowed down the Mavericks. He never scored more than nine points in any of the last five games of the team’s seven-game first round playoff series against San Antonio. He averaged 6.5 rebounds a game – his best contribution – but he was a bit player and not a central part of what the Mavericks were doing. Dallas reduces the clutter on its roster and probably becomes faster in the end. The Mavs were 19th in the NBA in fast-break points (12.2 per game) but this should help.

Cleveland’s offensive lineup won’t have Marion on the court. The Cavaliers and head coach David Blatt will want to run a lot with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving surrounding LeBron, probably with Mike Miller also in the fold. Marion will be in the Cavs’ more defensive lineups. The Mavericks? Their acquisition of Chandler in particular minimizes the sting of losing Marion’s defense. They’ll probably be okay without him.


How To Bet The News
This rates as a not-very-significant transaction. It’s newsworthy, because it gives Cleveland some veteran experience that the younger players can benefit from, but that’s the kind of thing which is meant to show up in the postseason, not so much in the first few months of the regular season. Though NBA odds may see a slight adjustment, there’s just not anything really concrete or juicy in this story to change a betting play or a betting perspective in the first two or three months of the coming NBA season. 

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