Okay, so as all you guys know, the Cleveland Cavaliers have made made a big splash this offseason. We’ve only been talking about it in just about every article we’ve posted recently. What, would you rather have us talk about where Von Wafer is now? Anyway, so with all these acquisitions, some of the incumbent players from last year could see a lot more of the pine with a lot of new pieces being brought in. So I thought it would be cool to see which Cavaliers players will be most affected by the new pieces that have been acquired. And if you don’t think that’s cool, please feel free to post in the comments what you’d like to see me write about next. Hey, I really appreciate that you guys are even reading my article!
Acquisitions: Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev, Carrick Felix
Incumbent: C.J. Miles (21.0 MPG last year)
Jack will presumably see some time at the 2 (As long as Irving stays healthy, the minutes are thin behind him), and for a guy that averageJarrd nearly 30 minutes per game behind Stephen Curry AND Klay Thompson, he should play quite a bit. Karasev is a bit of a tweener between SG and SF, but I expect the Cavs to push him, as well as Felix into a bench role too. This, plus a probable increased role for Dion Waiters (he only averaged 28.8 MPG in his rookie season) spells big trouble for Miles’ role. He’s played admirably, but at 26 years old he probably won’t get much better, and the play time needs to go to the guys that are either being payed a large sum of money (Jack) or are the future (Waiters, Karasev). I expect Miles, barring injury, to play very little this year (less than 10 MPG).
Acquisitions: Earl Clark, Anthony Bennett, Karasev
Incumbent: Alonzo Gee (31.0 MPG last year)
I expect Gee’s play time to be cut in half, and I think I’m being generous in saying that. I believe that both Clark and Bennett are a bit ill-suited for the SF position (they both are a little slow) but realistically, they will both play there (particularly Clark, at least to begin the season). Karasev, as aforementioned, is a bit of a tweener, but may also sap some of the play time at SF. Gee is a good energy guy, but his play time was more a result of the team around him being so lousy than his play. Unlike Miles, I think Gee will still get a little play time, but I would be shocked if Gee’s play time is above 15.5 MPG.
Power Forward/ Center
Acquisitions: Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum
Incumbents: Tristan Thompson (31.3 MPG last year), Tyler Zeller (26.4), Anderson Varejao (36)
Now this is a tricky situation. While the MPG are a bit deceiving due to Varejao’s injuries, the reality of the situation is that if no injuries occur, there will be a major logjam in the front court. Bynum played 35.2 MPG in his 2011-12 season, and the Cavaliers will presumably want to get Bennett as much play time as possible to the #1 overall pick. With only 96 minutes to go around for the front court each game, it will be a battle to retain a position in the rotation, and I believe the first person to have a significant play time cut will be Zeller. Thompson seems to be making big strides in his game, Varejao and Bynum are brilliant when healthy, and Bennett has tremendous upside as a stretch four. Barring an injury (which I feel like is bound to happen) I expect Zeller to become very familiar with the bench. But, as I stated, I don’t think he should worry too much considering his teammates’ injury history.
While I give the Cavs a lot of credit for going out and getting the players that they did, it has created almost an “embarrassment of riches”; particularly in the front court, there are multiple developing pieces that may have to take a play time cut due to the additions made. The one I am particularly worried about is Bennett; if he doesn’t become accustomed to a certain position quickly, I could see him being stuck in limbo between SF and PF, and not get very much play time at either position. I think an injury or two will help to remedy this situation (kinda weird to say, huh?) as it will make it clear-cut who will get a bulk of the play time. And until someone gets hurt, it should be quite interesting to see how play time will be allocated on this team.