Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 updated potential starting lineups for 2021-22

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton greets teammates in pregame introductions. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton greets teammates in pregame introductions. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /
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Cade Cunningham, Cleveland Cavaliers
Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham shoots the ball. (Photo by Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports) /

The 2020-21 season is over for the Cleveland Cavaliers, ending the season 22-50. For the Cavaliers, this season has been filled with many ups and downs but in the end, there are a lot of positives to build on for the future.

Tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the fourth-best odds at the first overall pick and having assets that can be flipped for quality players, the Cavs are in a prime position to make some noise next year.

This could very well be looked at as the most important non-LeBron James-related offseason for the Cavaliers since LeBron was drafted and all eyes will be looking at Cavs general manager Koby Altman to make the right moves.

That is if Altman will get the opportunity; it has been recently reported that Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert/the club’s ownership group could be considering front office changes. That could reportedly just result in there being more direct oversight of Altman/more influence around him seemingly, though, so we’ll see.

Either way, one of, if not the biggest question mark of the offseason will be how the starting lineup shapes out for next season.

In an article written by our own Corey Casey last summer, he highlighted three potential starting lineups that we could see next season but since that initial article, there has been a lot of alterations to the roster.

With that being said, here will be examining an updated version of the previous one as we will look at three potential starting lineups for the 2021-22 season for the Cavs.

We’ll get right into that now.

Cavs updated potential starting lineup #1 for 2021-22: Darius Garland-Collin Sexton-Cade Cunningham-Kevin Love-Jarrett Allen

This is a best-case scenario lineup and would happen if the Cavaliers were able to secure the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. This lineup has four of the five players currently projected to start next season with the obvious change being the small forward position.

Cade Cunningham is the clear-cut number one player in this year’s draft with his combination of size, change-of-pace, playmaking and scoring all being major positives for him. Cunningham played point guard in his lone season at Oklahoma State but being 6-foot-8, 220 pounds with a near-7-foot wingspan, he has the ideal build for a modern-day wing.

With NBA spacing and his unique game for a player with his size, the expectations for Cade in his rookie season would be high. With Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, the offensive workload shouldn’t be an issue for Cunningham and as he gets accustomed to the league, his play and workload should continue to rise.

The rest of the suggested starting lineup is acclimated with the four best players currently on the roster. Both Garland and Sexton have made massive strides in their games and if the Cavs can continue to surround them with talent, the future is bright for the young tandem.

Jarrett Allen is the anchor down low and after having a career year this season, he should be in for a nice payday this offseason. Acquired in the James Harden trade from the Brooklyn Nets, Allen’s impact was immediately felt as his paint presence helped Cleveland be competent on defense for much of the season.

Offensively, Allen can be seen as just a lob threat currently but, has attempted mid-range and three-point shots. With more and more reps outside of the paint, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Allen expand his offensive game in the coming years.

The biggest question mark in this lineup is Kevin Love whose future with the team looks to be up in the air.

Over the last couple of seasons, Love’s on-court outbursts have caught the eye of national media and with it brought unnecessary attention. Love is one of just two players (Matthew Dellavedova) on the Cavaliers from their 2016 title run and hasn’t been the biggest fan of Cleveland’s rebuild seemingly.

This wasn’t the best year for Love as injuries, most notably complications involving a right calf injury pre-All-Star, kept him sidelined for the majority of the season. This season for Love shouldn’t discourage the Cavs however and when healthy, Love is still a top 11-13 power forward in the league.

Love’s ability to stretch the floor, rebound and playmake gives the Cavaliers a unique player that not many teams have. There is a strong possibility that winning can fix the outbursts and that it can save a relationship that may have soured.

Plus, on a positive note, Love’s batting of the ball in-game at the Toronto Raptors in late season wasn’t reportedly because of his Cleveland teammates/the team, rather frustration involving the refs in that one.

This lineup along with additions to the bench would make the Cavs a sure-fire bet to make the playoffs if healthy. Seeing as this lineup would be young, they have the ability to be competitive now and for many years to come, too.