Who will start in the Cavs' frontcourt remains a mystery. And that's a good thing.
By SAM AMICO FS Ohio
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- When it comes to the
Cleveland Cavaliers’ backcourt, things are pretty well set.
Kyrie Irving will start at point guard, Dion Waiters at shooting guard and Jarrett Jack will come off the bench. A few others will figure in there, but you get the idea.
The frontcourt is a different matter.
Oh, we know the names -- from
Anderson Varejao to Andrew Bynum to
Tristan Thompson to Tyler Zeller and rookie Anthony Bennett. Those are just the center and power forward spots.
Meanwhile, small forward is an even greater mystery. Earl Clark, Alonzo Gee and C.J. Miles are all vying for one spot, according to
Cavs coach Mike Brown.
Clark is new to the team, having played five games under Brown last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Gee started for the Cavs last year, and Miles came off the bench, usually at guard but also at small forward.
“Nobody’s gonna be favored,” Brown said. “Nobody’s gonna be the frontrunner or anything like that. Right now, those three guys are competing for the (starting) small forward spot.”
That’s not exactly a surprise. Brown has conducted just four days of practice. No one has officially been named a starter anywhere.
“It makes practice even more tough … because guys are competing,” Thompson said. “But in order to be a playoff team, you've got to have versatility and you've got to have depth.”
And not knowing isn’t such a bad thing. Just the opposite, actually. It creates intrigue, and mostly, the type of competitive camp environment Brown covets.
As for the biggest of the bigs, any number of scenarios could play out, according to Brown.
Again, this is a good thing.
With Bynum hurt, Varejao (center) and Thompson (power forward) are the top options. But things will change when Bynum steps on the floor.
Brown could shift Varejao to power forward and bring Thompson off the bench -- or go with Thompson and return Varejao to the sixth-man role he held for the majority of Brown’s first stretch in Cleveland.
“I can go with Tristan as a starter, I can go with Andy as a starter, next to Bynum when (Bynum) gets back,” Brown said Friday from the team’s practice facility.
“Or, I’m sure if I went with somebody else, they’d be a little upset. But I think at the end of the day, they’ll go along with whatever helps this team.”
So there you have it. A frontcourt that’s still up for grabs. Quite honestly, that’s what you want at this stage of camp. You want talent, you want options.
In that sense, Brown and the Cavs are in a good place.
• The Cavaliers’ Wine & Gold scrimmage will be held Saturday at Baldwin-Wallace University at 1 p.m. It is open only to members of the military and their families. Other fans can watch a live stream on cavs.com.
• Brown said not to read anything into how the teams are divided for the scrimmage. “It's another practice for us and you hope nobody gets hurt,” he said.
• The Denver Nuggets may reach out to former Cavs guard Daniel Gibson, league sources told FOX Sports Ohio. Gibson spent his entire career (seven years) in Cleveland, but was not re-signed this summer.