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Kevin Porter Jr. claims Cavs want to have a defensive identity

Kevin Porter Jr., Cavs

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kevin Porter Jr. says the Cavs want to be a defensive-minded team moving forward.

Porter says he wants teams to fear the Cavs on the defensive end of the floor:

The Cavs’ young core is headlined by Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr., Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr. and Dante Exum. The Cavs reportedly believe in new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s ability to develop the young talent on the roster.

Porter has appeared in 46 games for the Cavs this season. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 45.2 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from beyond the arc and 71.7 percent from the free-throw line.

The Cavs are only 17-41 on the season. They are in 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings and currently have one of the worst defenses in the NBA. Cleveland is giving up 114.7 points per game, which is 23rd in the league.

It’s safe to say Cavs players are going to play harder for Bickerstaff than they did for John Beilein. Bickerstaff has a lot of experience with NBA players from his time with the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. He’s not going to treat the guys like college players.

The Cavs will likely try to trade All-Star power forward Kevin Love in the summer after failing to move him at the trade deadline. Tristan Thompson becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season ends, and it doesn’t make sense for the team or Thompson to strike a new deal.

New center Andre Drummond, meanwhile, has a player option for 2020-21 that he is expected to pick up. He’s only 26 and puts up great numbers, but he doesn’t really impact winning, so Cleveland could try to flip him in the offseason.

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