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Free Agent Profile: Jordan Mickey

As the Cleveland Cavaliers roster currently stands they have two roster spots available for the taking. The two major positions of need are at either of the guard positions and in the front court.

In the pursuit of players to fill those roster spots versatility, youth, and defense sit at the top of the check list. Very few players on the market hit all of the boxes but forward Jordan Mickey checks off all three and also can be had at the price that the Cavaliers are currently able to afford.

The third year pro and former Louisiana State Fighting Tiger spent two seasons in the NCAA before heading to the pros. In his extended college basketball career Mickey did nothing but impress.

During Mickey freshman season he played in 34 games putting up a stat line of 12.8 PPG 7.9 RPG 1.1 APG 0.6 SPG and 3.1 BPG in 32.8 minutes a night. During his freshman season Mickey shot 54.3% from the two, he did not make a shot from beyond the arc, and shot 69.5% from the free throw line. He began to rack up accolades right away becoming the first LSU player to record over 100 blocks in a season since NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal did it for the Tigers in each of his three seasons with the team. Mickey also received Second Team All SEC, All SEC Defensive team honors during his freshman season in 2013-2014.

During his second season with the Tigers Mickey took strides in almost every aspect of his game. He improved his stat line to 15.4 PPG 9.9 RPG 1.3 APG 0.9 SPG and 3.6 BPG. His two point and free throw percentages dipped to 51.4% and 64.6% respectively. But he started to get his three point shot down a little more than in his freshman season shooting 11.1% from beyond the arc. Mickey again put up a season of over 100 blocks giving him 2 of 5 such seasons in LSU history. He also received First Team All SEC honors for the first time and for the second year in a row SEC All Defensive Team honors. Following Mickeys sophomore season he declared for the 2015 NBA Draft.

On June 25th, 2015 with the 33rd pick in the NBA Draft forward Jordan Mickey was selected by the Boston Celtics. For the first two and a half months of his rookie season Mickey spent his time with the Maine Red Claws he appeared in 23 games and started all but one of them. In 33.3 minutes per night he averaged 17.4 PPG 10.3 RPG 1.3 APG 0.8 SPG and 4.4 BPG. With shooting percentages of 54.4% from the two, 35.0% from beyond the arc which makes for a huge improvement compared to his ability to shoot long range in his time as a Tiger and 74.5% from the free throw line. He didn’t get many chances to perform on the NBA hardwood and when he did it was in a very limited role. In his 16 games for the Celtics he averaged 3.6 MPG 1.3 PPG 0.8 RPG 0.1 APG 0.0 SPG and 0.7 BPG. His shooting percentages against the pros dipped to 36.4% inside the arc, 50% from the free throw line, and he wasn’t able to make a three point shot in his 58 minutes at the NBA level. But his performances at in the D League did not go unnoticed when he received Player of the Month for December of 2015, and All Star honors for the 2015-2016 season.

In Mickeys sophomore season he was given the opportunity to spend more time in the NBA but still appeared in 12 games and started 12 games for the Red Claws. In his second season with the Red Claws he improved with a stat line of 20.8 PPG 8.8 RPG 1.6 APG 0.8 SPG and 2.8 BPG in 32.6 minutes a night. His shooting percentages from the two and free throw line were 53.0% and 75.0% but the most impressive improvement made was his shooting percentage from long range where he improved to 43.8%.

On the other side of things with the Celtics he was given the opportunity to play in 25 games and started in one. He averaged just 5.6 minutes per game and had stats of 1.5 PPG 1.4 RPG 0.3 APG 0.1 SPG and 0.2 BPG. He shot percentages of 45.5% from inside the arc, still had yet to make a shot from beyond the arc at the pro level, and shot 57.1% from the free throw line.

On July 14th, 2017 Jordan Mickey was waived by the Boston Celtics. Not due to lack of talent, or because they didn’t believe in his potential to develop into a quality NBA player but due to the signing of Gordan Hayward and their need to clear cap space to bring him in. Mickey then cleared waivers after waiting 48 hours and is currently a free agent.

If the Cavaliers decide to pursue a young versatile defender the odds of Jordan Mickey moving to Cleveland should be very high. He was scheduled to make 1.17 million this season for the Celtics but since he is a two year veteran Cleveland could offer him the minimum of 1.47 million which would be a raise from what the young forward was scheduled to receive.

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Mickey could slide in and play any position from the three to the five and defend adequately. He is a decent perimeter defender and an excellent interior defender. He is a decent shooter who every year since his freshman year of college has taken strides to improve. With players like LeBron, Kyrie, and Korver to teach him could make an even larger jump. He would be one of the youngest members of the Cavaliers roster and would slide in right between Kevin Love and Jeff Green as our back up power forward.

Mickey’s first two seasons hasn’t received much playing time, but the same could be said for Golden State’s Draymond Green. The major differences between Mickey and Green at that point in their careers is Mickey is a better rebounder and defender and I don’t believe he can develop into the play maker that Draymond developed into. The way his three shot has developed is very similar to the way that Greens three shot developed early in his career. Putting the expectation of a player who has seen little time on the NBA hardwood at the level of Green may be a bit much he could develop into a high quality role player for the Cavaliers.

A more realistic hope would be for Jordan Mickey to grow into player that can rotate onto Kevin Durant and Draymond Green in a series against Golden State allowing LeBron James and Kevin Love to take an easier defensive match up for stretches of a game. Overall Jordan Mickey is a young defender and provides the Cavaliers at the very least with aspects of the game they don’t already have and has the potential to grow into exactly what the team needs.

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