Giles never got a chance to waste his time playing high school basketball in the 2015-16 season

As I saw him from the stands that day, I laughed and remarked to a friend (and media colleague) that Giles would be wasting his time playing high school basketball over the course of the next year. He was that ready to come in and dominate the college game, just weeks after dominating the U19 World Championships in a similar manner. It was just a matter of time until Giles got to the NBA and had a chance to impose his impressive tools on the game as a top draft selection.

Unfortunately, Giles never got a chance to waste his time playing high school basketball in the 2015-16 season. He tore the ACL in his right knee in November 2015, just two years after tearing the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in 2013. Giles then had arthroscopic surgery on the left knee in the fall of 2016, cutting his preseason short and putting the freshman behind. By season’s end at Duke, the formerly presumptive top-five pick (Giles fell all the way to No. 19 in my mid-March prospect rankings) had only put up 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in a sample of just 300 minutes played.

Michael Bennett Limited Jersey That’s the thing. The Cavaliers are a terrible defensive team when it comes to guarding transition, allowing 1.19 points per possession, worst in the league. But they’re pretty good at guarding most of the typical halfcourt stuff, which gets more important as the game slows down in the playoffs: fifth in stopping isolation plays, eighth in guarding spot-up shooters, 14th against post-ups, first against cutters.
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The pick-and-roll, though, is the staple of playoff basketball. And with Kyrie Irving heading up the team’s PNR defense, the Cavs have been awful when it comes to coping with the play all year. Cleveland allows 0.91 points per possession in PNR plays finished by the ballhandler, which is third-worst in the league. They’re fourth-worst (1.09 ppp) when it comes to stopping the roll man on the play.

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