3 ways the Cleveland Cavaliers bench will be better in 2023-24

Ty Jerome, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Ty Jerome, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Cleveland Cavaliers
Max Strus, Miami Heat and Ricky Rubio, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images /

No. 2: Versatility

One area of the bench play that was a struggle at times last season was how to fit the guys into the rotations. It seemed as if that part of creating consistent rotations never came to be. I still blame coach Bickerstaff for a lot of this issue because I don’t believe he knows players’ strengths and weaknesses.

We saw too much of the starting five, including Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen on the floor far too long, which contributed to the Cavs losing to the New York Knicks in five games in the first round of the playoffs.

With this new group of talent including Strus, Niang, and Jerome, there should be a variety of ways and rotations you could throw these guys into, of which should be much better than a year ago.

Niang could play minutes with either Allen or Mobley or even Jones with his stretch big abilities. Jerome can also play either backcourt position and his off-the-ball play is excellent and can help this new Cavaliers team.

Strus might be in that starting five, but if Bickerstaff decided to play him off the bench you could have a solid bench including Strus, Niang, Jerome, and Dean Wade. Isaac Okoro or Caris LeVert could be the other guard in that rotation.

In these discussions of the play of the bench, many are not talking about Okoro or Wade. Okoro could still have a significant role off the bench this season. His defense is what will help that group even if he’s not shooting the ball lights out. Wade was injured for much of last season and is a good shooter, plus his defense just makes this Cavs team better.