How Much Does Kyle Korver Boost Cavs Championship Odds?

kyle-korver-cavsThe Cleveland Cavaliers recently completed a deal with the Atlanta Hawks to get Kyle Korver in exchange for Mike Dunleavy, Mo Williams, and a protected first-round draft pick.

Korver isn’t a superstar, and he’s a couple years removed from his 2014 All-Star appearance. He’s also 35 years old, meaning the 13-year veteran is on the downside of his career.

Still, Korver can shoot the lights out, which begs the question of how much he can help the Cavs in their quest for a second championship. Let’s take a look below at the ways that Korver can help, and come to a final determination on what his impact will be.

Korver’s 3-Pointers Come from the Same Spots Cleveland Shoots Them

Looking at the shot chart below, you can see that Korver’s sweet spots are in the same areas that Cleveland ends up shooting three’s in their sets:

korver-cavs-shooting

We know Korver can shoot the three, given that he’s hitting 41% this season, and he’s a 42.9% career three-point shooter. But this shot chart shows that he won’t have to adjust from his sweet spots on the right and left sides because this is where the highest volume of Cavs’ three’s come from.

Atlanta and Cleveland Run Similar Sets

Additionally, Cleveland runs many similar sets that Korver has run in Atlanta for the past four and a half years. As you can see in the following video from NBC Sports, he’s used to starting in the corner and running off single and double screens to get space.

Here’s a video that shows how Cleveland runs similar plays, with Mike Dunleavy beginning in the corner and Channing Frye providing him with the handoff.

3-Pointers in Transition

While Cleveland’s half-court sets and passing are important, where they really shine is in transition. This means that Korver will cash in on lots of open opportunities when LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are bringing the ball down and drawing attention.

Korver has the stamina to run the floor, get to the corners, and release quick three’s. Here’s an example:

Hitting 3’s off Offensive Rebounds

Cleveland has one of the best offensive rebounders in the league in Tristan Thompson (3.7 per game), while Kevin Love is also good too (2.5 per game). This should mix well with Korver’s ability to hit three’s when his teammates get offensive boards:

Korver has a high basketball IQ, and, as seen above, he quickly runs to the corner as soon as he sees the rebounder turn around.

Giving His Teammates More Driving Room

It’s correct to say that the driving abilities of LeBron and Irving are going to set Korver up for more open three’s than he’s ever had. But it’s also true that Korver will create more driving space for Cleveland’s superstars:

As you can see in this video, Toronto is trying to cover Dunleavy, Frye, and Iman Shumpert around the three-point line.

Terrence Ross tries trailing Dunleavy because he doesn’t want him going over the pick. And this is the same type of situation that Korver is going to benefit from. Given that Pascal Siakam can’t leave Frye, and Shumpert has slipped a screen, Frye eventually gets open.

These favorable scenarios will happen even more with Korver’s three-point shooting acumen.

An Elite 3-Point Shooting Team

Kyle Korver is one of the best shooters in the game, and, even at age 35, he can still play.

Cleveland was already good at shooting three’s before he came over. And they’re going to get better when J.R. Smith comes back from injury in a few months.

Just imagine if they can get Smith healthy and in tune for the playoffs: they’ll have Smith, Irving, Korver, and Frye who can all hit the three with good consistency. Frye and Korver are especially important because they’ll come off the bench to ensure that Cleveland always has three-point threats on the floor.

It’s unclear if this move will ensure that the Cavs can repeat, especially with a loaded Warriors team and solid Spurs club. But what is clear is that Korver makes this a better and more-dangerous team. That said, we like Cleveland’s chances of winning now far more than we did a couple weeks ago.

NBA Power Rankings: Feb 13, 2016

gregg-popovich-lebronWe’ve hit the All-Star break, and there are 30 games left in the season. Golden State has a pretty firm grasp on the league’s top record (48-4), so it won’t be a surprise if they eventually lock up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s also no surprise that they once again top our power rankings just over halfway through the season. See where everybody else ranks below, and here are last week’s power rankings.

1. Golden State Warriors (48-4); same spot – The only question now remains if the Warriors will beat the ’96 Chicago Bulls’ regular season mark of 73-9. Golden State is on pace to accomplish the feat.

2. San Antonio Spurs (45-8); same spot – LeBron James recently said that he wishes he could spend lots of time around Gregg Popovich. It’s little wonder why when you consider how Popovich just seems to win every year.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-14); same spot – OKC may not catch either San Antonio or Golden State before the year is over. But they definitely can’t be overlooked once the postseason starts.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-14); same spotCleveland Cavs trade rumors are a daily story right now. Ben McLemore, Trevor Ariza and Kyle Korver are all reported targets of the Cavaliers.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks5. Toronto Raptors (35-17); same spot – Raptors stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan get to stick around their home city for the All-Star game. Then it’s back to work trying to catch Cleveland in the East.

6. Boston Celtics (32-23); up 2 spots – Boston continues to surge up the standings, with big wins over the Clippers and Cavs. Now rumors have them thinking about Al Horford in the trade market.

7. LA Clippers (35-18); down 1 spot – L.A. still remains in the upper echelon of the league while Blake Griffin sits. Unfortunately, Griffin will sit four games longer after he’s healed due to a suspension.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (31-22); down 1 spot – Memphis has a tough game coming up in Toronto on the 21st of this month.

9. Atlanta Hawks (31-24); up 1 spot – The Hawks may be talking about taking their team apart, but that hasn’t stopped them from winning.

10. Miami Heat (29-24); down 1 spot – Miami goes into the break with a two-game losing streak, but they have a chance to make up for it by playing Atlanta after the break.

11. Dallas Mavericks (29-26); up 1 spot – The Mavericks can boost their record with games against the Magic and 76ers coming out of the break.

12. Indiana Pacers (28-25); up 1 spot – Now a healthy team, perhaps Indiana can climb back up the Eastern Conference standings.

michael-kidd-gilchrist13. Charlotte Hornets (27-26); up 4 spots – The Hornets are playing their best basketball of the season and once again resembling the playoff team they looked like in November and December.

14. Chicago Bulls (27-25); down 3 spots – Chicago is playing worse than any legitimate playoff team right now with four straight losses.

15. Utah Jazz (26-26); up 1 spot – Much like their location, the Utah Jazz aren’t a flashy team. However, they have good chemistry and continue holding down a playoff seed.

16. Portland Trailblazers (25-27); up 3 spots – The Trail Blazers have played a couple more games than most teams, which lightens their load in the second half of the season.

17. Detroit Pistons (27-28); down 3 spots – Detroit definitely has the talent to win, but they haven’t found a way to put together consistent play for long stretches.

18. Houston Rockets (27-28); down 3 spots – Houston is a team at a crossroads between deciding if they want to build around James Harden, or dismantle the team and get draft picks/young players in return.

john-wall-wizards19. Washington Wizards (23-28); down 1 spot – The Wizards have a pretty solid core, but injuries have kept them from putting things together.

20. Orlando Magic (23-29); same spot – Orlando has played solid against the West, but they’re just 13-19 against their own conference.

21. Denver Nuggets (22-32); up 2 spots – Emmanuel Mudiay has gradually gotten better now that he’s healthy.

22. New York Knicks (23-32); down 1 spot – The big rumor now is that Carmelo Anthony could be on his way to Cleveland. But we’ll believe it when we see it.

23. Sacramento Kings (22-31); down 1 spot – Once in the thick of the playoff hunt, Sacramento has gone just 2-8 in their last 10 games.

24. Milwaukee Bucks (22-32); same spot – Milwaukee has a nice young core, but they need veteran role players around this talent.

tyreke-evans-trade25. New Orleans Pelicans (20-33); same spot – The Pelicans got the bad news that Tyreke Evans will miss the rest of the season after knee surgery.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (17-37); same spot – Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine were undoubtedly the stars of the Rising Stars Challenge.

27. Brooklyn Nets (14-40); same spot – Joe Johnson reportedly isn’t interested in a contract buyout, so he’ll likely remain with Brooklyn until his deal ends.

28. Phoenix Suns (14-40); same spot – Phoenix currently owns the league’s longest losing streak at 9.

29. L.A. Lakers (11-44); same spot – Kobe Bryant gets one last chance to be in the All-Star game. Then it’s back to the dismal reality of playing his final season with one of the NBA’s worst team.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (8-45); same spot – The Sixers have a 6-16 record against the West, but they’re just 2-29 against their own conference.