Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 6/22/14

Former Cavalier assistant coach Chris Jent may no longer be employed by the Cleveland NBA franchise, but this has not stopped him from helping improve the shot of players who don the Wine and Gold. 

Following in the footsteps of forwards LeBron James and JJ Hickson, 22-year-old power forward Samardo Samuels has reportedly spent time with Jent during the impasse-ridden offseason, hoping to improve his game away from the basket.  Per The Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer, Samuels has been working on his game for the last several months, ranging from private workouts to Impact League basketball out in Las Vegas, teaming up with the likes of New York Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups.

Within the interview with Boyer, Samuels spoke highly of being able to play alongside guys who know how to win basketball games - “Everybody can dunk these days,” the 265-pound bruising big man said, “but you remember wins.”  And while the fun and winning and high-level intramural basketball is all well and good, it is his work with Jent that could help transition Samuels from a player who contributed to a 19-win team to one who could help be a key contributor to an NBA team beyond his early-20s. 

Of Samuels’ 6.5 shot attempts per game in 2010, the rookie power forward converted at a woeful rate of 45.6 percent.  He would seemingly start games off with a flurry of dunks and physical post moves before defenses would force him beyond the block where the bottom would subsequently fall out brick by brick.  At the rim in 2010, Samuels was powerful and effective, hitting 61.1 percent of his field goal attempts, half of which were the product of assists.  Beyond three feet, Samuels’ field goal percentage plummeted to 28.1 percent, making a middle-aged Shaquille O’Neal look like Ray Allen. 

It was working with Jent which turned Hickson into a bit more than a one-trick, highly athletic pony, improving his range and thus the space underneith the basket to help implement Byron Scott’s pass-friendly offense.  The recently-traded power forward saw his field goal percentage between 10-and-15 feet improve from 17.1 percent in 2010 to 30.6 percent, a mark that bettered shooting guard Anthony Parker.  Between 16-and-23 feet from the hoop, Hickson improved his conversion rate from 27 percent to 33 percent; Daniel Gibson shot 39 percent from the same range.

Alas, if there is an NBA season to be had, Samuels will undoubtedly share time in the frontcourt with Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao and rookie Tristan Thompson.  Given the lack of offensive pedigree coming from the latter two players, the team could be counting on the Jamaican big man with the best back-to-the-basket footwork on the team to also  improve his play away from the hoop.  Entering the final season of Jamison’s contract with the team, Samuels certainly has the potential to stick with the Wine and Gold long term.  While going overseas could potentially help improve his play, his willingness to put countless hours in the gym while stateside should do just fine. 

Samuels is certainly surrounding himself with the right people.  Execution, however, is the larger piece of the pie.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Eagles, Jets will make trade for Marcus Mariota

Cam Newton not a person of interest in night club shooting

Should Texans consider moving on from Arian Foster?

Dice-K begins comeback bid, makes first start in Japan

Report: Teams think Suh to Dolphins is ‘done' deal

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Adrian Peterson still has ‘concerns’ about Vikings

LSU S blasts Tigers fans for leaving game early

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

UMass to retire jersey in honor of John Calipari

Houston Texans are moving on from Andre Johnson

Top landing spots for Darrelle Revis

Twelve unlikely players who could be NCAA Tourney heroes

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts after DeAndre Jordan doesn't shoot

WATCH: Ridiculous foul called on Penn State

WATCH: Westbrook throws down huge dunk in return

Cowboys hang out at Duke game, pose with funny poster

Report: Peyton Manning's contract incentives tied to Super Bowl

Bean responds to Murphy's homosexuality comments

Haynesworth to Suh: Skins ‘took my love away from the game’

Five teams that should consider signing JaVale McGee

MLB local streaming is unlikely for Opening Day

Ronaldo sends his hair stylist to check on his wax figure monthly

Arizona Diamondbacks unveil 'The Churro Dog'

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Unlikely NCAA Tourney heroes

Every starting QB ranked by mobility

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts

UFC must make Rousey vs. Cyborg happen

Suh to Dolphins a 'done' deal?

Why haven't brands shown love to James Harden?

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.