NBA veteran Mike Dunleavy can fill it up, as anyone who’s been on the opposing side knows. A career 38% shooter from 3, Dunleavy joins the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers this year at age 36. The Cavs already have plenty of offensive firepower — though of course you’ll never meet a basketball coach who says he has too many good shooters. But strangely it’s not just Dunleavy’s range and efficiency the Cavs wanted for their attempt to repeat. It’s his defense.
Surprised? The Cavs will be targets everywhere they go, and they’ll need consistent effort at both ends — high efficiency — to maintain their level. Dunleavy is a long wing who likes to get after it on defense, seems to truly enjoy it. That’s the attitude that prevents letdowns the Cavs will need to avoid as the rest of the NBA takes aim at the champs. At NBA.com David Aldridge attests that Dunleavy’s former coach in Chicago, defensive specialist Tom Thibodeau, “vouched for [Dunleavy’s] defensive bona fides” to Cavs coach Lue before the acquisition.