The NBA regular season is officially underway, and there are currently seven former Cavaliers on an NBA roster. Three of these players are listed as forwards at the next level. While the guards are, by and large, more established players, the forwards have less NBA experience. However, they could still play a potential role on their teams for their teams in the upcoming season and beyond.
The Washington Wizards’ Anthony Gill will be entering his second season on the team. After going undrafted in 2016, Gill spent some time in Germany and Russia before landing in Washington. Gill has yet to make a serious impact on the Wizards. Last season, he scored 3.1 points per game in his limited 8.4 minutes per game. With the current position of the Wizards, Gill should be able to fight for minutes on the floor. He signed with Washington last December, so hopefully, he will gain the trust of a new coaching staff in his second season.
De’Andre Hunter was forced to sit out most of his sophomore campaign due to a meniscus injury in his right knee. For the early portion of last season, Hunter looked ready to take another step forward as a three-and-D wing for the Atlanta Hawks. Through the first 17 games, Hunter posted 17.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. In the Hawks’ preseason game against the Miami Heat, Hunter scored 19 points and added 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Hunter is a focal point of the Hawk’s young core, along with point guard Trae Young. Hunter missed much of the Hawks’ run to Eastern Conference Finals. With his return and versatility, the Hawks could make their mark on the NBA landscape this upcoming season.
Sam Hauser went undrafted in the 2021 draft, but he was picked up by the Boston Celtics. He ended up signing a two-way contract and will bounce between the Celtic roster and their G-League affiliate, the Maine Celtics. Hauser has shown potential to be a knockdown shooter at the next level, and he has shown promise on pull-up jumpers and shooting off the screen. Sharpshooters are going to find a place at the next level, and Hauser should see opportunities between the NBA and the G-League.
Sam Hauser comes in, Sam Hauser knocks down 3s ?♂️☘️? pic.twitter.com/MlP4TdWNuy
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 16, 2021
Though there are not too many forwards currently on a roster, there are a few free agents. NBA champion Mamadi Diakite, Jay Huff, Justin Anderson, and guard Kyle Guy were all waived, as their teams had to make cuts to reach the maximum roster size. For the three currently on an active roster, they will have chances to play a meaningful role on their teams. The Wizards have a new coaching staff, and Gill could be the type of player they want on their team. Hunter will look to take a step forward after a meniscus injury derailed his second season. The Hawks are a young team on the rise, and Hunter will be a vital part for the foreseeable future. Hauser may not see much time in his rookie season, but with his two-way contract, he has a shot to play in up to 52 games for the Celtics, while also finding playing time for the Maine Celtics.
During the 2010s, UVA began to compete with the ACC blue bloods of North Carolina and Duke. Because of this, the Hoos have more younger players entering the league than ones that are experienced. The Cavaliers will look to continue their success in the regular season and postseason in the upcoming years to become an unquestioned blue blood. When that time arises, there will be additional Hoos entering the NBA who could become impactful players.