Season-in-Review: Spencer Hawes

Spencer Hawes #32 shoots a layup against Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

Season Overview: It didn’t take Spencer Hawes long to get acclimated with the Cavaliers after being acquired from the Sixers on February 20. Two games after the trade, he was in the starting lineup. One game after the deal, he scored in double-figures and repeated that feat for the next dozen contests.

In all, Hawes played in 27 contests with Cleveland, with the Wine and Gold going 11-16 upon his arrival. The seven-year veteran – who came to the Cavs in exchange for Earl Clark, Henry Sims and two future second-round picks – flourished down the stretch, averaging 13.5 ppg with the Cavs, almost four points higher than his career average. Hawes also notched six double-doubles with the Wine and Gold.

But what makes Hawes unique is his ability to stretch the floor as a center. He was easily Cleveland’s leading three-point shooter – going .448 from beyond the arc in his 27-game run. He finished the season as the only seven-footer among the NBA’s Top 10 leaders in three-point percentage.

Hawes long-distance marksmanship helped the Cavaliers space the floor and provided plenty of room for cutters like Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters to slash to the hoop or drive and kick to others. And Hawes takes an opponent’s big man out where he doesn’t want to go.

But Hawes is also good around the basket – finishing as the club’s third-leading rebounder (8.3 rpg) behind Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson. The Cavs were the only team in the East with three players in the Conference’s top 15 in rebounding.

Lastly, Hawes is also an accurate and willing passer and he and Kyrie worked well together, especially on the back-door cut. Hawes averaged 3.0 assists per game with Cleveland – trailing only Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Memphis’ Marc Gasol.

Highlight: Hawes’ opening run with the Cavaliers was a mid-season epiphany. After netting seven points in his first game, Hawes ran off a career-best 13 straight games with double-digit scoring, averaging 16.6 points and 8.6 boards per contest over that span. He doubled-up five times in that stretch – shooting .482 from the floor, .429 from beyond the arc and .794 from the stripe.

Lowlight: Oddly enough, Hawes probably had his worst four-game stretch with the Cavaliers while the team was a three-game win streak. During that run, Hawes averaged just over six points per contest, canning just two treys and making only three combined trips to the stripe. Cleveland’s starting center bounced right back, however, netting double-figures in his next four games – including a double-double against Atlanta, a game in which he and Kyrie Irving tallied six steals apiece.

Odds and Ends: Hawes comes from good basketball bloodlines. He, his father (Jeff) and his uncle (Steve) all played for the University of Washington. Steve Hawes – who was actually drafted by the Cavaliers with the 24th overall pick in 1972 – spent 10 seasons in the NBA with the Rockets, Blazers, Hawks and Sonics.

By the Numbers: 7.7, .448 … Spencer Hawes’ rebounding average and three-point percentage with Cleveland, making him just the third Cavalier in team history (joining Lamond Murray and Craig Ehlo) to average at least 5.0 boards and shoot .400 from long-distance. Hawes was also the only player in the NBA this season with at least 80 blocked shots and 80 made three-pointers.

Looking Forward: Like veterans Luol Deng and C.J. Miles, Hawes will be a restricted free agent this offseason. He had a great run in Cleveland – starting the last 25 games of the campaign. Combined with Varejao and Tyler Zeller, Hawes would provide the Cavaliers with a unique trio of centers. But his return is a decision that’ll be made by both parties a little later this summer.

Quotable: Hawes on his ability to hit the ground running with the Wine and Gold …

“I knew coming into this situation, coming in at the deadline, there was no time to waste. We’ve kind of continued to emphasize that since I’ve been here. There’s no time to waste trying to get acclimated and get comfortable. You kind of jump right in and see what you can get out of it. The guys have been great. They’ve really helped me out, on and off the court, welcoming me here and getting me adjusted.”

Fan Question: In which area did Spencer Hawes impact the Cavaliers the most? Discuss

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