Position Breakdown: Shooting Guard

There is quite a contrast when one goes from looking at the logjam at point guard to the absolute dearth of talent at shooting guard on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. With Anthony Parker presumably leaving the team, the Cavs are left with a lot of random options to play the 2-guard. Quite frankly, none of them are very good. Parker started 65 games at SG for Cleveland last year. Meanwhile, a combination of  Alonzo Gee, Daniel Gibson, Manny Harris, and Christian Eyenga filled in the rest of the playing time. Now, try to hold back your excitement when you read that list of names. This is not a star-studded crew to say the least, but the fact of the matter is that someone has to play the position when the season finally starts. Admittedly, that player may not yet be on the roster, but I cannot speculate about what possible moves the front office will make, so we'll work with what we have now. 

Are you serious? These guys are potential starters in the NBA??:

Daniel Gibson: 

I don't think many people around the league consider Daniel Gibson to be a starter in the NBA, but he does have some value to a team. He is really more of a back-up point guard than a shooting guard, but has been known to play a little of both. Boobie is undersized at 6'2", yet has been known to fill it up from time to time. Minor rumors had be tossed around about the Cavaliers trying to trade him to a contender at the trade deadline last season. Truthfully, he'd probably be a pretty decent piece as a spark plug off the bench for a team that needed some offense and shooting. He's a career 41.8% shooter from downtown and teams always need shooters. I do not anticipate the Cavs attempting to roll Gibson out there as the starting shooting guard on opening night, but I don't think they are in any hurry to trade the guy. He's a good shooter and a veteran on this Cavs team. Gibson took over and started 15 games last season while Parker was hurt, but let's hope that he does not start that many again in this upcoming campaign. 

Manny Harris

Manny Harris is yet another young guy on this team that is not quite ready to be a starting shooting guard in this league. Harris' first season out of Michigan did not come with very high expectations and rightfully so. The 6'5" guard averaged 17.3 minutes per game and put up some pretty pedestrian numbers. 6 points per game on 37.4% shooting is not exactly what you want from your 2-guard. Despite Harris' underwhelming play in his rookie season, he may actually be a candidate for the starting job come opening night. Harris started 15 games in 2010-11 while Parker and others were injured and the Cavaliers are in no position to be picky. At only 22 years of age, Manny has plenty of time to get better and although he should probably never be a starting shooting guard in this league, he has the potential to be a useful piece in someone's rotation. 

Christian Eyenga:

"Skyenga" is another potential candidate for the shooting guard position on the Cavaliers. While he may have spent more time playing SF than the 2-guard, he does have the potential to get some minutes. Similar to Manny, Christian put up some pretty boring numbers in his rookie season, yet his FG% was significantly better. Seven points per game at 42.5% shooting is not impressive by any means, but he did show signs of improvement as the season went along. Furthermore, Eyenga's greatest assets are his length and his athleticism. Many scouts see Eyenga as someone who could become an elite defender in the NBA at some point in his career. He is still adjusting to the NBA-style of play and needs to learn his role. His biggest advantages come when he drives and attacks the basket. Too often does Eyenga settle for a long jump shot. He needs to get away from settling and learn to embrace his role as a slasher and defender. I don't think anybody is suggesting that Christian should start for this team. However, when you look around at the options Coach Scott has to choose from you realize that somebody needs to start. Eyenga isn't an ideal shooting guard because he can't, well, um..shoot? But he does bring some positive things to the table. So there's that. 

The Likely Starter, I guess?: 

Alonzo Gee

At 6 foot-6 inches, Alonzo Gee may be more of a SF than a SG, but he has the ability to do both. Gee spent time with both the Sacramento Kings and the Washington Wizards in 2010-11 before coming over to Cleveland where he started 29 games for the Cavaliers. While with the Cavaliers he recorded a TS% of 55.2 and a PER of 11.1. Now obviously, that's not very good. However, Gee is an exceptional athlete and is at least serviceable (maybe). I would not be surprised to see Alonzo suit up and start on opening night at the 2-guard for the Cavs. There is no need to get excited about seeing a guy like Gee start for your basketball team. Actually, you should get quite depressed, if anything.

The Cavaliers cited shooting guard as one of their biggest positions of need going into this offseason, but their slots in the draft did not lend themselves to taking any of the available SGs. Selecting someone like Klay Thompson or Alec Burks with the 4th overall pick would have been foolish. It was wise for a team so desperate for talent to take the best player available, rather than pick based on positional needs. I maintain that the starting 2-guard for Cleveland is not yet on this roster. I expect Chris Grant and the rest of the front office to address the issue once the lockout is lifted and find someone else to play SG. Next year's draft class also boasts some exciting SGs that the Cavaliers will undoubtedly have interested in selecting. For now, however, the Cavs will have to make due with what they have, no matter how bad they may be. 

 

Feel free to email me at ConradFTS@Gmail.com and follow me on Twitter at @ConradKaczmarek

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