A Three Guard Lineup?

Since the NBA Draft, Cleveland Cavalier fans have been a little stumped when it comes to how the team is going to manage the sea of guards on the roster. While most would think that someone will be traded to declutter the crowded backcourt, that may not be the case. Point guard Matthew Dellavedova is a fan favorite and provides the kind of leadership this young team will need. Shooting guard Jordan Clarkson lacks consistency, and to some degree growth, nevertheless, he’s still a valuable part of the team and he could thrive as a sixth-man within the right system. The player whose name has come up the most since the draft would be Collin Sexton. Yes, he had an up and down season, but it ended on a high note and while the Cavaliers did draft two more guards this year, that doesn’t automatically make him the odd man out and here’s why: the Houston Rockets. 

During the 2018-19 season, the Houston Rockets ran a lineup that included three guards: James Harden, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon. The game has changed and it continues to do so every season. While small-ball is merely a means to shake things up during games for some teams, the Houston Rockets have completely bought in on the unorthodox system and to a degree, it’s worked.

The Cavaliers have a chance to perfect what the Rockets are trying to do. With a lineup that includes three guards, being able to score is imperative because of the potential defensive liability. All three Cavalier guards are capable shooters and drivers, meaning offense won’t be a problem for them. 

To state the obvious, don’t expect anyone to put up “James Harden numbers,” but with this particular coaching staff in place, the Cavaliers have the potential to score efficiently, which would be a change from last season. If Coach Beilein chooses to go with the three-guard system, I would expect the young guards’ numbers to be somewhat similar to Chris Paul’s and Eric Gordon’s. Through the 2018-19 season, Chris Paul averaged 15.6 points per game and 8.2 assists while Eric Gordon averaged 16.2 points per game and 1.9 assists. All while shooting 35% and 36% from the field. Having three guards that can score from anywhere and bigs that can score in the paint and from behind the arc should lead anyone to believe that whoever is playing point guard should at least see five to six assists per night, but that’s only if they buy into the system.

If the naysayers are right and there’s just not enough ball to go around then some decisions on who should start at the point guard position will need to be made, but given how much the league continues to get smaller and smaller, I believe that soon enough teams will start emulating how the Rockets play, the same way teams attempted to emulate how the Golden State Warriors shoot. The Cavaliers have the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the league and create a trio that will rival the young teams that have emerged in the East.

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