With Media Day wrapped up across the NBA and practices starting, the 2023-24 season is officially here. With that in mind, fans have a little more insight on what’s to come for their favorite teams around the league. In particular, we gained a better understanding of the lineups the Cavs intend to run this year.
Last year Cleveland’s starting group was made up of the star backcourt duo featuring Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, with the two big men in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen filling in the frontcourt. But the small forward position had been consistently inconsistent, with almost every wing on the roster taking a turn in the starting spot.
Isaac Okoro started in 46 out of the 82 regular season games, with Caris LeVert not far behind at 30 starts. Dean Wade, Cedi Osman, and Lamar Stevens all had opportunities to start as well. While the starting small forward spot has been a constant question for this team, those questions might have finally been answered recently.
During one of the initial questions, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was asked if newly acquired Max Strus would be the starting small forward. Bickerstaff responded in jest – “do you really think I would tell you that?” but we can assume Strus was brought in to take over at the three spot with the other starters.
In his interview with the press at Media Day, Strus himself mentioned how Cleveland was “the best situation” for himself to be in, and that he was “brought in to space the floor for Darius and Donovan.” Most fans probably suspected Strus was acquired by the Cavs to be a starter, but this all but confirms those assumptions.
Although Jarrett Allen recently suffered a bone bruise in his left ankle during practice, reports say he will need roughly two to three weeks to recover. So while he might not be available initially, all things considered, he will be the starting center in Cleveland for the majority of the season.
So, it looks like the starting lineup for the Cavs going into 2023-24 will be Garland and Mitchell in the backcourt, with Mobley and Allen handling opponents down front, while Max Strus fills in at the wing.
Strus’ career 37 percent three-point shooting average will fit nicely with the core four. Cleveland’s new starting lineup could really pack a punch against opposing teams this season,
While that starting lineup was pretty much expected, the Cavs did bring in some other intriguing pieces to build some unique lineups with. Throughout this piece, we will break down three experimental lineups Cleveland can run with this new roster.