The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Timofey Mozgov last season to solve one problem, but it’s created another.
Cleveland hoped the Russian center would address its lack of rim protection. While he’s mostly succeeded in improving that area, his inability to defend smaller lineups also has become painfully obvious. That isn’t too surprising given his 7-foot-1, 276-pound build.
The best example was Monday night’s game against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors when Draymond Green dominated at center in the Dubs’ small-ball lineup. The Warriors won 132-98 in LeBron James’ worst ever loss in Cleveland.
There were even instances in last season’s NBA Finals against the Warriors where Mozgov had to sit on the bench because Golden State’s small-ball lineup gave the Cavs too much trouble. Defending big men at the perimeter isn’t Mozgov’s game.
Mozgov again is available on the trade market, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who recently wrote, “The Cavs have started to make calls on the market for Timofey Mozgov, who could appeal to Western Conference contenders.”
Cleveland can shop Mozgov, but it’s hard to come up with a trade package that would give them a realistic chance of beating the Warriors or San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game playoff series. Those teams have too much depth at both ends of the floor.
The Cavs’ bench just isn’t good enough right now, and they have less than 30 days to fix it with the Feb. 18 trade deadline approaching.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images