With the Cleveland Cavaliers struggling lately, LeBron James has been looking for a solution through signing a backup point guard. Whether it be Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, Jordan Farmar, or even Lance Stephenson, James is exhausting all options with the goal of finding a viable playmaker. The question remains though, which of these players, if any, can help the Cavs return to winning ways? Let’s take a look at which of these four point guards would best help the Cavaliers.
The Many Cavaliers Point Guard Options
After a breakout 2013-14 season with the Indiana Pacers, the Charlotte Hornets rewarded Stephenson with a 3-year, $27 million deal. Stephenson struggled mightily in his lone season with Charlotte, shooting an abysmal 17.6% from three-point range. His underwhelming production forced the Hornets to cut ties with him. Since then, Stephenson has bounced around on a few NBA teams, still looking to regain his mojo from the 2013-14 season.
Stephenson has averaged three assists over his career. That forces the Cavaliers to ask themselves whether he’s the best playmaking option available. Also, Stephenson’s Eastern Conference Finals antics could harm his chance at making the team, especially if bad blood still exists with James.
After playing last season with the Atlanta Hawks, Hinrich finds himself in unfamiliar territory as an NBA free agent. At 36 years old, with 14 years of NBA experience under his belt, Hinrich will need to prove to the Cavaliers he still has enough in the tank for a lengthy playoff run. If he made the team, Hinrich would likely be relegated to moving off the ball and knocking down spot-up three-point shots, given he’s a career 37.5% three-point marksman. It’s unclear as to whether Hinrich fills the playmaking void the Cavs need filled. Since averaging 5.2 assists per game in 2012-13, Hinrich’s numbers dipped to 3.9, 2.2, and 1.6 over the next three seasons. Given this, Cleveland likely will look for someone younger to be its backup floor general.
Farmar, 30, can still provide a team above-average perimeter shooting. Over his decade-long NBA career, Farmar has shot a respectable 42% and 37% on field goals and three-point field goals, respectively.
Aside from a consistent shooting touch, Farmar likely doesn’t fit the Cavaliers playmaking needs to their liking; he’s only averaged 2.9 assists per game during his career.
Chalmers, currently a free agent, last played with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2015-16 season. His season was cut short after tearing his achilles. While it may take a few weeks to get up to game speed, Chalmers has proven that when on his game, he can provide reliable long range shooting. Questions remain though as to whether Chalmers still possesses the same shooting touch he had during the Miami Heat’s back-to-back title runs. After averaging a respectable 38.5% on threes during the 2013-14 season, Chalmers shot fell off a cliff; the 30-year old shot 29% and 30% on threes each of the next two seasons.
Aside from his shooting, Chalmers has proven he can adjust to a playmaking role. The 8-year veteran averages a modest 3.8 assists per game for his career. Chalmers’ passing ability may not jump off the page, but he could provide the necessary playmaking the Cavaliers have been lacking of late.
Something also worth noting: Chalmers has four years of experience playing alongside King James. Of the four backup point guard candidates, Chalmers’ experience with James could separate him from the pack.
After looking at the skills each of the four point guards offer the Cavaliers, the best signing choice for Cleveland has to be Chalmers. He’s the youngest, most versatile player of the free agent four-pack. His experience with James would allow Chalmers to seamlessly integrate into Cleveland’s offense, as both a shooter and playmaker. If Chalmers bounces back from his achilles injury, look for him to be playing alongside James in the playoffs once again.
MIAMI, FL – MAY 30: Mario Chalmers #15 of the Miami Heat looks on prior to Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)