Saturday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com reported Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue said the
Cavaliers are thinking about starting Kevin Love at center this season and having Tristan Thompson come off the bench. McMenamin also wrote the Cavaliers have been trying Jae Crowder at the 4 alongside LeBron James, and it’s inferred Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose are the two guards with that lineup.
On paper, the Cavaliers’ projected roster would look something like this until Isaiah Thomas returns from injury and until the camp invite players are waived.
But, just how would that starting five look from a spacing perspective? While the games still need to be played, we can at least look at the data from last season to paint a picture of what that might look like. Using the catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage from NBA.com/stats last season, I pulled the data of Rose, Wade, James, Crowder and Love, and compared it to the league average for catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage from last season.
The data shows defenders will most likely respect James, Crowder and Love when they are spacing the floor on the 3-point arc when they don’t have the ball in their hands. However, with Rose and Wade on the floor, they’ll have to find some creative ways to cut or continue moving to try to get open or slip in for offensive rebounds if defenders sag off them when they don’t have the ball in their hands.
The benefit for the Cavaliers in this scenario if this is the starting five is that at least James and Wade have chemistry on the court together from their days in Miami. They both know how to stay impactful on the offensive end when the other has the ball in their hands.
It’ll be interesting to see what types of lineup combination the Cavaliers use without Thomas and then how they’ll incorporate Thomas once he recovers from his injury in January.