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:


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.