Wednesday 24th July 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Cavaliers Are Worried About Timofey Mozgov

mozgov
Timofey Mozgov is having a season to forget.

Unfortunately for him, the Cleveland Cavaliers do not suffer from short-term memory loss.

After emerging as a key anchor during the Cavaliers’ stretch run last season, Mozgov, who will enter free agency this summer, is struggling mightily on both sides of the floor. His minutes are down, his field-goal percentage has dipped below 45 percent for the first time of his career, the Cavaliers are a defensive disaster with him on the court, per Basketball-Reference, and he’s thus far posting the second-worst box plus/minus score of his career—no easy task considering he plays for the best team in the Eastern Conference.

All of which has the Cleveland organization worried.

From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

1. Timofey Mozgov is done talking about his troublesome right knee. Has been for some time. That’s a bit troublesome to me.

2. Mozgov played nine minutes against the Wizards. Nine. And yet again he didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter. Now a lot of that could be attributed to the Wizards’ small ball lineup. But Mozgov clearly isn’t the same player he was last season when he anchored a revamped Cavs defense.

3. No one within the organization is running into the streets panicking over Mozgov, but there is some concern as there should be. He is not the same defensively. He’s getting pushed around more than he should. He’s not affecting (or blocking) as many shots. He’s also one of the most easygoing guys in the locker room, but he’s tired of talking about his struggles.

4. Asked what isn’t working well for him right now, Mozgov responded “A lot of things.” Asked to name some, he declined. “It’s my things,” he said. “I keep them with me.”

Cryptic answers for the win.

Mozgov would go on to note, per Lloyd, that his surgically repaired knee is still bothering him. And if that’s really the source of his functional woes, both he and Cleveland are best served if he takes some time off.

Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao can hold down the frontcourt in the meantime, and Cleveland isn’t in any imminent danger of falling down the Eastern Conference ladder. It’s more important that they get Mozgov right, both physically and mentally. Not only will they need him come playoff time, but they need him beyond this season. They can’t spend the money they’re allowed to spend on him this summer on anyone else, and they gave up a first-rounder to get him.

Cleveland needs enough reasons to keep him around long term, and Mozgov isn’t giving any right now. Some rest might do him worlds of good.

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