The 2014-2015 Cleveland Cavaliers gave us a first glimpse of what is to come on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The inter-squad scrimmage featured a wine team and a white team. The wine squad was made up of what can be surmised as the Cavs starting five, while the white squad presumably made up the Cavs second five among others. It could inferred that if the season were to commence now the Cavs starting lineup would be Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Lebron James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. Throughout the Cavs improbable off season, Waiters has remained vocal through various outlets including Twitter about his desire to be a starter. Waiters has experience being a team’s sixth man at both Syracuse and for spells with the Cavs. Nevertheless, he has held steadfast in his stance that he is a starter.
It became clear to me early on in the assembly of this team that they would be much better off if Waiters would embrace the role of sixth man on this team. With players that dominate the ball like Irving, James, and Love on the floor together, an efficient and aggressive scorer that requires the ball in his hands a great deal like Waiters could be reduced to just a spot up shooter. More important, Waiters could be exactly what the second unit is missing on this team while allowing him to play to his full potential. It is just a better fit for the team as whole. After the scrimmage it appears the second unit will be made up of Matthew Delladova, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, Lou Amundson, and Anderson Varajeo. This is a unit that is missing a player who can break down a defense with penetration and score in isolation situations when an offensive set breaks down. Waiters would be a perfect match.
With Dion Waiters coming off the bench it does leave some questions to be answered. Who would start in his place? Miller could be an effective shooting guard with his marksmanship but could be a liability on defense against some of the quicker shooting guards in the league. The ideal solution would be Ray Allen. Allen could very well decide to join the Cavs after training camp concludes and would a good fit as a guy that doesn’t have to play starter’s minutes but could start and create spacing in the first unit with his presence at the three point arc.
Waiters needs to play starter’s minutes regardless of whether he starts or not. A more likely solution could be that Waiters starts and maybe is the first to sit down in the rotation and then comes back in for minutes with the second unit to provide an offensive lift while giving him the room he needs to operate. Coach David Blatt will certainly incorporate different on floor lineups throughout the course of a game and the season. It will be an interesting process and exhilarating for fans to watch. He should be cognizant of Waiters’ abilities though and be unequivocal in making sure his worth is not suppressed by presence of the big 3.
By: Brad Ward
Follow @CST_BradWard on Twitter