Why the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyle Korver are a perfect fit
The sharpshooting guard is going to be just fine in Cleveland
Kyle Korver was sad to leave the Atlanta Hawks, but even with the news fresh on Thursday, he told reporters that he knew the Cleveland Cavaliers would be a "great, great fit for me," via ESPN's Marc Stein. Korver has been a Hawk since 2012, and Atlanta is where he has enjoyed the best years of his career, including the magical 2014-15 season where he made the All-Star team, won 60 games and shot 48.7 percent from the field, 49.2 percent from 3-point range and 89.8 percent from the free throw line -- some of the best shooting the league has ever seen.
It's no wonder Korver was a bit emotional. It's equally unsurprising that he said he'd do well in Cleveland. Korver and the Cavs are perfect for each other. Here are four reasons why:
The Cavs desperately need his shooting
Have you watched Cleveland's last few games? DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae have been starting. This isn't the norm -- Kyrie Irving has been out with a hamstring injury -- but it reflects the fact that the Cavs needed more depth on the wing. The Mike Dunleavy experiment didn't work out, and J.R. Smith is out until mid-March because of thumb surgery. The streaky Iman Shumpert started the season hot but has shot 9-for-39 (23.1 percent) in his last 11 games.
If you're building a team around LeBron James, the most important attribute in a complementary player is shooting. James is best when he has space to operate, and Korver's gravity (his ability to pull defenders to him on the perimeter) is as powerful as just about anybody's. I'm still shaking my head at the fact that all Cleveland had to surrender was a first-round pick.
Yet another dangerous weapon
If the Cavs don't run any plays for Korver all season, he'll help just because of his presence. Opposing teams fear him no matter where he is on the court, and that will automatically make his teammates better. He is more than just a superior version of J.R. Smith, though -- under Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, he has done things that even other pure shooters don't do.
Korver is a master at using screens. He can shoot off the dribble and hit floaters in traffic. He's a solid screener, a heady passer and a deadly decoy. He'd be an even better fit in the Golden State Warriors' movement-oriented offense, but Cleveland coach Tyrone Lue will surely find creative ways to use him. Which brings us to...
A different kind of death lineup
It's almost unfair that Lue can roll out a lineup of Irving, Korver, James, Love and Frye. James, Love and Irving are obviously three of the best offensive players on the planet, and Korver was described in a Grantland story by Zach Lowe as "an offense unto himself." ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Thursday that the Cavs tried to get both Korver and Frye to support James all the way back in 2008, and that was before they broke out.
This five-man unit might be challenged defensively, but it should be able to score so easily that it almost never matters. Imagine James grabbing a rebound and pushing the ball with all of those guys sprinting to the 3-point line, or Love firing an outlet pass to Korver, who is always ready to shoot. The defending champs are now even scarier than they were on the way to last year's title.
Korver will shoot better with LeBron
Frye is shooting a career-high 46.5 percent from 3-point range this season, and that's not some kind of crazy coincidence. He found his chemistry with James during the playoffs last year -- he made 56.5 percent of his 3s in the postseason -- and he's been rolling ever since. If anyone can tell Korver about the LeBron effect, it's him.
Much has been made of Korver losing a step over the last couple of seasons. He looks slower, his shooting has regressed from holy s--! to wow! and, well, he's 35 years old. Still, he has a 60.8 percent effective field percentage on catch-and-shoot attempts and is making 49 percent of his wide-open 3-pointers this season, per NBA.com. Translation: you can't leave him open, and James will be constantly looking to set him up for 3-pointers the same way he did with Ray Allen years ago.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Williamson leads his two Duke teammates and Ja Morant with the best odds to go No. 1 this...
The attention drawn from disgruntled players isn't what Silver wants
The Warriors are huge favorites to win their third title in a row, and fourth in five year...
The 68th NBA All-Star Game showed us next-level Giannis, vintage Dirk and one more LeBron-Wade...
Beal says he spoke to a lot of guys, but he won't be naming any names: 'You're not gonna have...
Neither trade rumors nor a bumpy season have shaken Tatum's confidence in the Celtics' ability...