4. Cleveland Cavaliers at Phoenix Suns – April 3- ESPN
Dealing with this level of firepower on national TV should be a great test for the Cavs. The Suns don’t have a traditional point guard, but Bradley Beal has played the position before. In 2018, 41 percent of his minutes were recorded at point guard, according to Basketball Reference’s Position Estimates.
When Beal runs plays, it will be difficult to trap him while Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton are on the floor. The Book Man (Booker) and KD are three-level scorers. “DominAyton” is a vertical threat with dependable range a bit past 16 feet from the cup.
These options will likely force the Cavaliers to operate in man-to-man exclusively while those four Suns are on the court. Mobley should tag Durant while Allen deals with Ayton. The Suns can also run an equal-opportunity offense with high ball movement and constant cuts and screens, preventing a player from holding the rock too long. This is some old-school stuff, but it’s the hardest to defend.
On the other end, the Cavaliers will have to deal with a solid defense in this outing. The weakest defender will likely be Beal, but he might get put on Max Strus. Booker uses his body well to cut off avenues and stays with the play on the handler’s back hip. This will matter if he is behind DG or Spida, who are significantly smaller, because it will give him a chance to block from behind if he’s beaten off the dribble.
Durant has the length of a center but the fluidity of a guard. He’s a solid help defender in the paint and in the post. And Ayton is a very good drop big who I’d wager will have his best season of his career on D under Frank Vogel’s instruction. In Indiana, Roy Hibbert thrived as a low protector, as did Anthony Davis in Los Angeles, both under Vogel.
If all the firepower is used correctly, this will probably look like an old ABA game.