Just ahead of preseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers will not have Jarrett Allen in action. That’s tough news for him, and by the looks of it, Allen might not be on the floor on the 2023-24 opener for the Cavaliers.
According to Cavaliers team statement, Allen suffered a bone bruise in his ankle, and he’s set to be re-evaluated in two weeks as of Saturday. Per a report from Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Allen has been dealing with the injury and it had been “building,” said J.B. Bickerstaff. For preventative measures, Cleveland chose to shut him down to some degree in training camp.
It’s uncertain if Allen will be available for Cleveland against the Brooklyn Nets to open the regular season in Brooklyn on Oct 25.
For now, in the mean time, it should be intriguing to see what Cleveland does in the preseason with Allen’s absence and/or if he misses beginning of regular season time.
Maybe Evan Mobley plays more at the 5, and plays starting minutes there. Cleveland could potentially have a glimpse of running more offense Mobley then, which the team is reportedly striving to do this coming season. Or at minimum, having some more Georges Niang-Mobley lineups could allow for four-out lineups, which could give the Cavaliers offense added juice.
But at least for preseason, with Allen sidelined, that can be some time for the Cavs to see what they have in offseason signing Tristan Thompson and offseason trade acquisition Damian Jones. Both should feasibly have meaningful time in preseason, particulary with Allen’s absence.
Both Thompson and Jones are not going to have key roles this season for the Cavs.
With Thompson, he should aid in the development of Evan Mobley behind the scenes, be a more than capable screener and defensive communicator on the inside and rebound well. His role should at least be as a significant locker room presence.
Jones could factor into the Cleveland rotation some as a backup big, and can offer some rim protection for spurts. Jones is a physical, 6-foot-11 player who the Cavs can utilize at points in the preseason as a roller as well, and at this stage, is more of a vertical threat in pick-and-roll than Thompson.
So, while the Cavaliers could seemingly roll with Mobley for at least a couple of games starting out in preseason at the 5, and that would not be surprising, generally, Thompson and Jones it’d appear should have meaningful minutes.
This isn’t to diminish how Mobley should have his opportunities with more looks at the 5, especially given how Cleveland is trying to use him as more of a playmaking hub. But sans Allen, it’d behoove the Wine and Gold to have further evaluation of Thomspon and Jones before the season starts, too.
Thompson, who’s one of the non-guaranteed guys for Cleveland going into the year, is not set for a sizeable role, and Jones could be a player that’s expendable at some point, given his offensive limitations and fouling issues. With those reasons, two-way player Isaiah Mobley could possibly end up being a more viable option for spurts than Jones.
However, even with those caveats for Thompson and Jones in this case, it’d still be sensible for the Cavs to see what they have in both and also potentially in early-regular season action for spurts, provided Allen is still sidelined then.