Jose Calderon is fitting in well for the Cleveland Cavaliers

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

The absence of Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose has given veteran Jose Calderon significant playing time and a chance to shine. On Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers, he finished with 17 points. Can he keep this up?

Jose Calderon has found the fountain of youth with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He proved it again Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. He was playing tough defense on Lonzo Ball and was shooting 3-pointers at will, going 5-for-8 from 3-point range.

Many NBA fans forget that Calderon had the best 3-point percentage in the league back in 2012 with the Detroit Pistons at 52 percent. He’s currently shooting 48 percent from deep, which is incredible.

Calderon is only averaging 3.6 points per game, but he does so much more on the court than score. He reminds me of a poor man’s Matthew Dellavedova. He doesn’t have the relentless defense that he did, but he defends his man in isos well on a nightly basis.

So what is the key to his success? Two answers: LeBron James and Kevin Love.

I’m not taking anything away from the performance of Calderon, but defenses are so worried about what James and Love are going to do, it opens the floor up and lets him operate.

For once, the team is playing with a point guard who wants to set the offense up and pass first, instead of a player that always wants to score. They’ve never had that on the Cavaliers besides James.

His presence has also improved the overall passing of the team. The ball movement of the Cavs this year has been a sight to watch. It’s something fans aren’t used to seeing. I think it’s helped James become an even better passer himself.

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He knows that guys will be in their spots and in certain positions on the court, and instead of worrying about somebody dominating the ball, he’s able to accurately find the cutter or open player much easier than in years past.

His teammates know that the extra pass will be there for a better shot compared to the ball stopping, and a contested shot or bad layup will be attempted.

It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the Calderon signing. I believed that there were better choices available such as Jameer Nelson, C.J. Watson or Greivis Vasquez.  But he’s proven that he still has plenty of game left at the age of 36.

He’s motivated knowing that he can contend for a championship and play an important role on the team.

Calderon is the ultimate team player. In several of his post-game interviews, he mentions when Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas come back, he’ll go back to the bench and help the team in any way he can.

At the rate he’s going, he won’t start over Thomas, but he might have already won the rotation battle with Rose. He just seems to be the better fit.

Rose has always been a scorer first.

According to and their Real-Plus Minus chart, when Rose was on the floor with the team, the Cavaliers were -3.63. With Calderon, they are -1.47. As for wins, with Rose they acquired 0.06 of them compared to 0.29 with Calderon.

It might not be fair to compare the two due to the small sample size we’ve seen of Rose, but so far Calderon fits the team better.

His teammates might notice it even more than the fans. Chris Fedor of spoke to Love on the impact he’s had for the team this season.

"“He’s an oldie but goodie,” Kevin Love said. “Whether he’s playing five minutes or 35 minutes, he’s going to be Jose and go out there and knock down shots, play with a lot of poise. He’s been great for us. He’s really getting us off to good starts and making big plays, getting us in our sets and being super scrappy, picking up full court on the defensive end. He’s just done a really, really good job for us and he had a great game tonight.”"

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Calderon could turn out to be the biggest steal of the offseason for the Cavaliers, but for right now, he’s playing at a high level and helping the team continue it’s tradition of high level ball.