There is plenty of time in this off season for this to change and hopefully G.M. David Griffin will make it happen, because in order to be a playoff team, moves need to be made to the Cavs roster. And we’re talking significant ones! A lot of teams in the Eastern Conference are already better than the Cavaliers and others are making moves to surpass them as we speak. But for right now, in my opinion, here’s what David Blatt’s starting line up would look like if no major moves were made to enhance the roster.
POINT GUARD – KYRIE IRVING
While his scoring average (20.8ppg) and shooting percentage (43%) went down last year, he did set a career high in assists with 6.1 per game and made the all-star game for the second straight year and won the MVP. So not a bad year for “Uncle Drew”. However his offensive production and efficiency did decline and some people feel it was because of Mike Brown’s system. I don’t buy it. I think Kyrie just missed open shots and continued to dribble the air out of the ball at times allowing the defense to get set and be in better position to guard him. Move the ball more via the pass and not the dribble, and make your open shots and the offensive numbers and efficiency should increase. Also if he wants to go from all-star status to being mentioned as a superstar in this league, he needs to get better on the defensive end of the ball. Max contract or not, that is still the major weakness in his game and it needs to be addressed by the new coaching staff, and more importantly, by Kyrie himself.
SHOOTING GUARD – DION WAITERS
For now it’s Waiters by default. I like Dion off the bench best because I don’t think he’s a true 2-guard. To me he’s closer to a point guard or as I like to call him, a “ball guard”. He needs the ball in his hands to be effective. He doesn’t come off screens well, nor does he move well without the ball. Also, we haven’t seen any compelling evidence that he and Kyrie play well together when they’re on the floor at the same time. Could that change? Sure, but that’s on Dion realizing when he and Kyrie are out there together, he’s got to learn to play without the ball. Another area of his game that has to improve is on defense. He needs to understand defense better in the NBA so when he is on the floor he’s not a major liability to the Cavs on “D”. It’s great if he scores 20 points, but he has to realize it’s not great if he lets his guy score 23. Plus G.M. David Griffin got my attention on draft night when he said this about number one pick Andrew Wiggins, “If Andrew finds greatness in this league, it’s going to be as a very big 2-guard.” That tells me the Cavs are hoping to find a small forward, preferably a 6’8 – 260 pound 4-time MVP to play the 3, so they can slide Wiggins to the 2 and use Dion off the bench, or maybe even involve him in a trade. But because there’s nobody else on the roster right now with enough experience to play the 2, Dion Waiters is your starting shooting guard.
SMALL FORWARD – ANDREW WIGGINS
I have always looked at Wiggins as a 3. His size, length and athleticism, to go along with his inconsistent jump shot from long range at this time make him a small forward in my eyes. Obviously the Cavs front office feels he will eventually improve that jumper to where he can start at the 2. But for right now, until they sign a free agent or trade for someone, Wiggins is your starting small forward. You don’t draft a player with his talents on both offense and defense first overall and sit him. He may the lack the physical maturity right now to guard some of the more powerful small forwards in this league, but based on your roster as it’s constructed today, he’s the best option you have at the 3. Again that could change if the Cavs make a significant move in free agency or via a trade.
POWER FORWARD – TRISTAN THOMPSON
Normally when you draft a player number one overall like the Cavs did last year with Anthony Bennett you expect him to start if not in his rookie year, at least in year number two. I can’t see that happening at this point with Bennett. He had one of the worst rookie campaigns ever for a first overall pick (4.2ppg and 3rpg). He couldn’t shoot (35%fg), play defense or rebound consistently. While Tristan Thompson in my opinion is more suited to be a back-up 4 in the NBA, on this team right now, he’s your starting power forward. He did average 11.7ppg and 9.2rpg last year, so he doesn’t hurt you a ton at that position, but again I expected more from a player when you selected him fourth overall in a draft as the Cavs did with Thompson in 2011.
CENTER – ANDERSON VAREJAO
Varejao is one of the hardest workers not only on the team, but in the entire NBA. Andy gives you everything he has, night in and night out and unfortunately that comes back to haunt him because it’s led to so many injuries throughout his career. Two years ago he was a 14 point/14 rebound a night guy, but he only played 25 games. Last year his game total went up to 65, but his numbers declined to just 8.4ppg and 9.7rpg. Again, he’s another guy on this team who would be better suited coming off the bench, but because you don’t have anyone else on the roster who is a starting caliber center, Varejao gets the nod. Like small forward, this is an area that David Griffin and the Cavs could address this off season in free agency or via a trade.