“We gotta get a point guard,” James said. “It’s my last time saying it. We need a point guard.”
The Cavs currently have a backup point guard with Kay Felder, but he is too limited by not only his height, but his inability to score against stronger guards or even guards that are average sized, for that matter.
The Cavaliers would absolutely love to have a backup point guard that can come in and relieve the stress off of Kyrie Irving and LeBron when the bench unit has to come in and it has been clear thus far that Felder is not the man for the job. Could he be down the road?
It’s possible, but for this season, Felder is not a viable option for the rotation going into the playoffs.
So if Felder is a no-go, we can take a look at some of the names mentioned earlier. The options are reasonably open in terms of value and talent.
They can add a veteran who has experienced the playoff atmosphere or they could go young and add a talented point guard that could benefit the team more going forward.
Either way, adding that backup guard could propel Cleveland enough to give them a jump over the Golden State Warriors, right?
Well, no. As desperate as the Cavaliers seem to be in terms of snagging a Deron Williams- or Shelvin Mack-type player, none of those guys are going to put the Cavs over the top.
Jan 7, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Utah Jazz guard Shelvin Mack (8) during a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz at Target Center. The Jazz defeated the Timberwolves 94-92. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Obviously, it would benefit the team. It would allow Kyrie more possible rest and give LeBron an extra few minutes of rest per game, knowing that a proven veteran can come out, run the offense and not allow things to derail.
However, it’s hard to realistically believe how adding someone who will likely play 15-20 minutes per game against the reserves can change a game to the point that it wins the Cavs even so much as one game against the juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors, barring an injury.
The Cavs still need a backup point guard, especially to help alleviate the loss of scoring that came with the injury to Kevin Love.
Another scorer can come in and help pick up the slack for the remainder of the regular season, allowing the coaching staff to become more comfortable with the bench unit along and the bench players to become more comfortable playing, knowing that all they are required to do is keep things afloat.
If the Cavs make it to the Finals for the third straight year and meet the Warriors yet again, then the backup point guard position becomes an afterthought for that series.
Kyrie will log most of the minutes at point guard, especially in the Finals, and if the Cavs decide to keep Iman Shumpert instead of trading him, the coaches may feel more comfortable playing him over Shelvin Mack or D.J. Augustin or whoever they might trade for.
A backup point guard would help the Cavs end the regular season and potentially into the first two rounds of the playoffs, but when things get serious and the rotation locks down, a backup point guard isn’t going to be gathering enough playing time to have an effect on the ultimate outcome of the Eastern Conference Finals or the NBA Finals.
That being said, the Cavs should try to bring a younger guard instead of a veteran. The Cavs have plenty of voices inside that locker room, so acquiring a veteran for that purpose seems unnecessary. Gunning for a younger player with potential is a long-term “solution.”
Let’s say the Cavs bring in Shelvin Mack or T.J. McConnell, both excellent young guards on cheap contracts that could be either be re-signed or potentially used as trade chips in the future. The young guys have more value when it comes to thinking long-term.
Bring in a bright young player, let them learn under LeBron and play behind Kyrie, then hope they can pan out to used as fodder for trying to acquire another big name.
Jan 21, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard T.J. McConnell (1) dribbles against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Cavs are the likely candidate to roll through the Eastern Conference playoffs with or without a backup point guard and that player becomes just as irrelevant if they reach the Finals. Make a trade for a young guard, let him develop and work with him for the future.
Some fans seem to bent on creating a team that will be the best RIGHT NOW, but they should be focusing on what lies ahead. It’s one of those little things that could create a better situation once LeBron decides to hang it up.