The Cleveland Cavaliers have an interesting mix of youthful players, average veterans, and two key players from their Finals victory a few years back. This will likely be another year of development for the team as their 1-3 positions are all filled with younger players looking to make a name for themselves. Among those are projected starters Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman. Veterans Jordan Clarkson, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson round out the rest of the lineup.
|Point Guard PG|
|Shooting Guard SG|
|Small Forward SF|
|Power Forward PF|
Perhaps the likeliest starter is power forward Kevin Love. If wanted anyone to be called a star on this team, it would be Love. He was clearly their #1 option on offense and averaged a double-double despite missing out on the All Star Game. He’s got the best moves down the post and has the ability to essentially score whenever the team needs. While he’s not the best defender by any means, Love is someone the Cavs need on the court simply for his scoring prowess. It remains to see whether Love remains on the team at season’s end or becomes a trade candidate.
Tristan Thompson is the other remnant of the Cavaliers’ Finals run a few years ago and looks primed to be the opening night starter once again. Though he only played 43 games, Thompson averaged a double-double and remains their most established center. If Cleveland chooses to go with more youth, Larry Nance Jr. could be the play as he averaged 9.4 points and 8.2 rebounds last year. He’ll give the Cavs a much more athletic center who can even be the stretch 4 at times. Lastly, Ante Zizic is another option at center though he’s the least experienced of the bunch. He won’t command a lot of playing time and is by far, the 3rd ranked center on the depth chart.
Jordan Clarkson figures to get most of the playing time at the shooting guard spot though he’s by no means great. While he did average 16.8 points last year, he did that while exclusively coming off the bench. Stepping into the starting role, Clarkson should be able to replicate similar numbers though he remains a largely one dimensional player. Kevin Porter is slated to be #2 on the depth chart though he’s a rookie without any experience. He had decent numbers at USC though doesn’t warrant a starting role until later in the year if at all.
The small forward position will have virtually no competition as Cedi Osman will be the starter once again. He looks to build off a 13 point per game average while also seeing a drop in shooting percentages. He took nearly 8 more shots than his rookie season and saw his field goal rate drop from 48.4% to 42.7%. Point guard will be the position to watch out for with Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and Brandon Knight all vying for playing time.
Knight is the most experienced though on a growing team, likely won’t be the first pick for playing time. Sexton received 72 starts at the point guard position in his rookie season and there’s no reason to expect that to change in year 2. He should be more experienced and a better all around player this time around. Rookie Darius Garland will hope to follow in Sexton’s footsteps after being drafted with the #5 overall pick in the draft. If Cleveland hopes to deploy both these players in the starting rotation, Clarkson could find himself as the 6th man instead of starting at the shooting guard position. Garland is a great shooting guard despite seeing his collegiate career cut short by injury and will be one of the top scoring rookies if gets a starting lineup spot.