Since joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in January, Timofey Mozgov has become an invaluable member of the rotation, viewed as the final piece in the puzzle that turned them into serious title contenders.
It was almost a foregone conclusion the Cavs would pick up Mozgov’s team option for the 2015-16 season, and that’s exactly what the franchise did Tuesday, per Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (via Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com).
The 28-year-old Russian came to Cleveland with little fanfare. He was a very good rim protector for the Denver Nuggets, but many NBA fans still remembered him most for being on the receiving end of a Blake Griffinposter dunk.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin had no shortage of skeptics wondering if he paid too high of a price—two protected first-round draft picks—to acquire Mozgov. However, Griffin’s gambit paid off in spades, as the 7-footer’s presence inside helped turn the Cavs into a fantastic defensive unit.
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Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group highlighted what made Mozgov so valuable to the Cavs:
His production was one of the main reasons why the team ended the year with the best record in the NBA since the mid-January point. He provided that rim protector the franchise desperately needed, and the defense hit its stride immediately upon his arrival.
LeBron James didn’t underplay how he felt about the Russian big man – get the rest of the storyHERE.
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