3 potential starting lineups for the Cavaliers in 2022-23

2021 NBA Draft prospect Cade Cunningham brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
2021 NBA Draft prospect Cade Cunningham brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. (left) and Cleveland guard Collin Sexton celebrate in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Potential starting lineup #2 for the 2022-2023 Cleveland Cavaliers: Garland-Sexton-KPJ-Jalen Johnson-Okongwu

The future of the Garland-Sexton backcourt is certainly a big question mark and it’s fair to question if it’ll work long term. We already know what Sexton, who led the Cavs with 20.8 points per game in 2019-20, is and brings, but Garland out of the current young guys (Sexton, KPJ and Garland) clearly has the most to prove.

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This is a big offseason and year for Garland. I think some of the struggles he had were understandable, considering he only played in five games in college due to a meniscus tear. I still think the upside exists, but nonetheless next year is a prove-it year for Garland.

If Garland can improve, take that next step forward and the Cavs do try to model themselves like the Portland Trail Blazers, they’ll need to construct their roster a certain way.

Even if Garland hits his upside or close to his upside, I don’t think he will ever be a quality defender. When you have two 6-foot-1 guards, it causes defensive problems and you’ll need to put good defensive wings around them to cover up some of those weaknesses.

Porter Jr. is raw but he showed plenty of upside as a rookie. If he hits, he has a chance to be a terrific two-way player. Meanwhile, Jalen Johnson in a number of ways is underrated and is a victim of being in a loaded 2021 NBA Draft class, where he’ll go just outside the top five and likely in the later part of the top 10.

If a few middling teams jump the Cavs and they fell to six or seven in the lottery, Johnson would be a good option. Johnson is a big wing standing at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds (per 247 Sports) that offers All-Star potential.

His outside shot still needs to come along, but he can create his own shot, has excellent court vision and has a chance to be a really, really good defensive wing, which is key if the Cavs were to have a small backcourt.

Okongwu would be vital in this lineup as well. Having a rim protector like him, and who is also very capable in defending out on the perimeter on switches would help cover up defensive issues a backcourt like this would have.

If the Cleveland Cavaliers were to build a team like this having this personnel around them would help them thrive, if the Garland-Sexton backcourt can work long term, which is still a major if.

Lastly, we’ll suggest what could be a third potential starting lineup for the Cavs in 2022-23.