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Cleveland Cavaliers offseason: Mike Brown sheds light on new-look Cavaliers roster to Jason Lloyd of Akron Beacon Journal

Cavaliers fans are going to have a lot of new faces to get used to this fall. For the new head coach, everyone is a new face. He has begun to share some of his initial impressions.


It was just a few short months ago that Mike Brown was introduced as the new Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, again. The coaching "search" was really more of a coronation, as it became pretty clear that owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant had their eyes on Brown all along. Fan reaction was mixed to negative (though I loved it immediately). But it hasn't taken long for most people who follow Cleveland closely to come around on Brown. All three of the Cavaliers free agent acquisitions, Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, and Earl Clark specifically mentioned Mike Brown as being factors in their decision to sign with Cleveland. Cleveland, not known as a hotbed free agent destination, has done quite well for itself this summer. Recently, Brown has begun to give his views on what he thinks of what the Cavs are building.

Per Jason Lloyd, if healthy, Andrew Bynum will be the starting center:

"He’s most likely going to start for us because he’s obviously an All-Star caliber player," Brown said. "But we need to see where his health is as we progress toward training camp, into training camp, preseason and into the regular season. If everything fits right, if he’s completely healthy, no doubt about it, he’s our starter at center."

On who would start next to Bynum in the frontcourt:

As for who will start alongside Bynum, the obvious answer would seem to be Tristan Thompson, but Brown didn’t rule out the possibility of Anderson Varejao starting at power forward, which would send Thompson to the bench.

"[Varejao] can start at the 4, he can start at the 5," Brown said. "I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet with Anderson.

On Dion Waiters:

Dion Waiters’ role will be simplified this season. He’s the shooting guard, with more emphasis on the "guard" than the "shooting."

"I even told Dion, ‘You could go 0-for-20 for all I care. Shoot the ball every time you touch it. Don’t make a shot. I’m not looking at that right now because we’ll correct that part,’ " Brown said. "I just want to see the little things that add up to championship level basketball. Each game I thought he’s gotten a little bit better in those areas."

Brown has repeatedly stressed to Waiters that he will have to defend, even saying he wants him to be an Iman Shumpert level defender. I have said this ad nauseum, but if Waiters accepts this role, he could be one of the best defenders in the league in my opinion. He has the necessary length, athleticism, and strength to guard almost any 2 guard. He just has to buy in. So far, it appears he has.

On building a new defensive culture:

Our first year in Cleveland, we probably spent 95 percent of practice preaching about the defensive end. I wanted to establish a culture and I wanted our guys to understand if we defend, we’ll always give ourselves a chance.

And I always said to my staff, if we have a guy like LeBron, he can create offense for anybody. I always felt he would somehow, some way give us a good enough look at the end of the game as long as we gave ourselves a chance defensively.

The second year it was probably 75 to 80 percent. And after that second year, when there was a belief there and there was that culture, for me it was easy to start transitioning to, "Hey we need to get better on offense so we’re more balanced come playoff time" and our numbers showed it.

Q: That defensive culture is obviously gone. Do you need to approach it that way again?

A: I feel like there’s a culture I do want to establish, and it does start on that end of the floor. Do I feel I need to be that drastic or will I be that drastic? I don’t think so. But I coached the first four practices and we literally scrimmaged for 3½ minutes out of the first four practices. There was a lot of drill work, a lot of teaching on that end of the floor and I can’t see that changing too much. But I don’t know if it will be at a 90 or 95 percent clip.

And while Brown has hinted that Thompson may move to a reserve role behind Anderson Varejao at power forward, that does not mean he isn't high on the third year power forward:

So what do we think Cavaliers fans? I think the most controversial part here would be Varejao moving back to power forward. Everything depends on matchups, but I don't know if it is the ideal place for him to play at this point. Still, he seems optimistic and excited and even the idea that he is planning on Bynum being healthy is probably a good sign.