The Cavs play their 6th game of the season Saturday against the 2-3 Pelicans in New Orleans. After a painful and embarrassing loss to the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night, the Cavs look to bounce back against a team who might be without their best player, Anthony Davis. But we have learned that no team is a guaranteed win for the Cavs as they seem to play worse when the competition is weaker on paper. Win or lose, here are some things to look out for during Saturday’s contest:
#1: Another New Starting Five
Against the Nets, the Cavs had a starting five of LeBron James, J.R. Smith, Jae Crowder, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. But with a possible Derrick Rose return against the Pelicans, Crowder is expected to slide down to the bench. At this point early in the season, switching out starting lineups isn’t a bad thing, especially when the Cavs have such a deep roster. When this new lineup hits the floor, it should look very similar to last year’s lineup but with Kyrie swapped to Rose. Rose and LeBron will control the offense, Love will get some early touches and Smith and Thompson will continue to be valuable off screens. The Cavs could now bring Dwyane Wade, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, Channing Frye and Crowder off the bench assuming this game remains close. This is an ideal rotation of players off the bench with two dead-eye shooters in Korver and Frye, two “3 and D” men in Green and Crowder and two ball-handling guards in Wade and Shumpert. I have high hopes for this new lineup and I think it will be the most effective one until Isaiah Thomas returns from injury.
#2: Preview of our new center?
I am still very much on board with the idea of the Demarcus Cousins being traded to the Cavs and here is a great opportunity to see why he needs to be in a Cavaliers uniform. He just came off a 41 point, 23 rebound game against his former team, the Kings, and arguably is the best center in the league right now. If Cousins can have a performance close to what he had last game, then I would imagine the Cavs’ front office is intrigued in trading for him. Thompson will likely guard him and while Thompson is a quality defender, I think Cousins may be one of the only players in the league that can out-bully Thompson offensively. Even if you don’t want Cousins here, the Pelicans will be an interesting team to watch Saturday, especially if Davis can’t suit up. Expect Cousins to keep New Orleans in this game at all costs.
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