Predicting the Cavs starting lineup next year
As the Cavs season recently came to an end I am very excited about the future with this team. They have so much young talent that they will be a title contender for many years to come. However, right now the Cavs have a very big problem with arguably their two best players, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. It seems that they are never on the same page, because of that it looks like one of them will have to be traded. Who will be traded all depends on if Kyrie Irving signs his max contract extension. Because of that, I have created 3 scenario’s for possible Cavs starting lineups next year.
Scenario 1: Kyrie Irving signs a 5 year contract extension worth up to 100M dollars.
In this scenario, the Cavaliers trade Dion Waiters and their first round pick for the #2 pick in the draft. The Cavaliers also make a HUGE free agent acquisition in the offseason, which is making the Cavs look like serious playoff contenders this year.
Fresh off his new 5 year contract extension, this is a no-brainer for the Cavs to start Kyrie at PG. He will now be much happier here in Cleveland without Dion Waiters, and will play much better as a result.
This will be the Cavs biggest decision heading into the new season. Jack is the only person who is ready to be introduced into the starting lineup who can play this position. His main job will be to distribute the ball to the other players on the court and stretch out the defense with his great 3-point shooting ability.
Lebron James decides to come back to his home town to have the opportunity to play with Kyrie Irving. During the All-Star Break, Lebron was raving abut the talents of Kyrie Irving, which leads me to believe he would love to play with him. This would immediately put the Cavs as playoff contenders. Unfortunately, signing Lebron means that we will be unable to resign Spencer Hawes, CJ Miles, or Luol Deng.
Another obvious choice to put in the starting lineup. Tristan Thompson is by far the best PF on the Cavs. Thompson can rebound, score in the low block, and play defense very well, which is exactly what the Cavs need out of their big man.
Since the Cavaliers traded up in the draft to number 2, they were able to select the 7 footer out of Kansas. Because we were not able to resign Spencer Hawes due to Lebron coming back to town, we selected Embiid. This is the perfect situation for Embiid because you have a guy like Anderson Varejao being your mentor as soon as you step into the NBA. It also helps when you get to play with guys like Kyrie Irving and Lebron James!
This scenario could be good and bad for the Cavaliers. While they would have one of the best starting lineups in the league their bench would be one of the worst. The players headlining the bench would be Anderson Varejao, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, Matthew Dellavadova, Carrick Felix, Sergey Karasev, Scotty Hopson etc.
Scenario 2: Kyrie Irving decides he will not sign the max contract extension.
In this scenario, the Cavs trade Kyrie Irving straight up for the Los Angeles Lakers 1st round pick which will be number 3 overall. The Cavaliers are able to resign Spencer Hawes and CJ Miles, while Luol Deng walks. The Cavs are able to make a fairly big free agent splash as well.
Kyle Lowry hit the free agent market at the right time, coming off his best season yet as a pro. Lowry will have to try and replace Kyrie Irving, which is no easy task. Kyle Lowry will fit well with Dion Waiters, who likes to have the ball in his hands as much as possible. Lowry is a great passer who can also score very well at times.
Now that Kyrie Irving is gone, Dion Waiters will be the guy the Cavs start to build around. Dion Waiters has that killer instinct and that emotional drive that makes him such a good player. He will be the ball dominant guard, which will allow him to flourish and put up big numbers this season.
Now that Luol Deng has left, the Cavs need a SF. After acquiring the 3rd overall pick from the Lakers, decide to pick Jabari Parker. Parker is a great scorer, which will pair up with Dion and they will be one of the best scoring combination in the years to come.
Again I put Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup due to his great defense and rebounding which is exactly what Mike Brown is looking for out of his big guys.
Spencer Hawes has a very rare talent out of a 7-footer: he can shoot 3-pointers at a 44% rate. This allows the Cavs to spread out the defense allowing for easy drives to the bucket for Waiters, Lowry and Parker.
This scenario allows for the Cavs to take advantage of a weak Eastern Conference and make the playoffs as a 5 or 6 seed. This scenario also allows great room for improvement because of a young core of talented players. The bench would be fairly strong including players such as Jarrett Jack, CJ Miles, rookie Kyle Anderson (who I believe they would draft with their other first round pick), Tyler Zeller, Anderson Varejao, Matthew Dellavadova, Anthony Bennett etc.
Scenario 3: Kyrie Irving signs his max contract extension, and him and Dion Waiters are able to work things out and because of this are on the same page mentally.
In this scenario, the Cavs look like a very well rounded team. They are able to resign CJ Miles and Spencer Hawes, while Luol deng walks.
Now that Kyrie and Dion are on the same page, they play very unselfish basketball, which allows them to flourish not only as players but as a team. They will both then mature as players together and build a great team here in Cleveland.
Now that him and Kyrie are on the same page, Waiters will now become more of a scoring option for the Cavs. He will also become a better passer because of him and Kyrie Irving now playing well together.
The addition to Trevor Ariza will be crucial. He is a great defensive player, which fits in perfectly with Mike Brown’s system. Ariza is a pass first offensive player, which will be to likes of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Tristan Thompson will also be huge for the Cavs this year. They will need him to be a huge rebounder because Spencer Hawes will spend most of his time behind the 3-point line to stretch out opposing defenses. He will have the opportunity to have a lot of offensive rebounds, which will lead to easy 2nd chance points for him. Also his very good defensive play fits in with Mike Brown’s coaching style.
Spencer Hawes has a very rare talent for a big man because he shoots the ball so well. Last year he shot 44% from behind the 3-point line. He will be able to stretch out opposing defenses which will lead to easy layups for Kyrie and Dion.
This scenario allows for the Cavs to build a great young core for the years to come. The strong bench will include Jarrett Jack, CJ Miles, rookie Kyle Anderson (whom they will draft in the first round of the draft), Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, Anderson Varejao, Matthew Dellavadova etc.
I believe scenario 3 is the best route to success because it builds a young core of talented players that have a very strong bench. Also, they know how to play with each other so team chemistry would be very high.
– Jimmy Carcioppolo (find me on twitter @CST_JimmyC)