With Kyrie Irving resting for tonight’s game against the Orlando Magic, the Cleveland Cavaliers had many options to fill in for him with the starting role. There is Jordan McRae, who was with the team last year and served as the fourth string point guard behind Irving, Matthew Dellavedova and Mo Williams, second round pick Kay Felder and newly signed Toney Douglas. But the Cavs have elected to go with DeAndre Liggins.
Liggins is a two-time D League Defensive Player of the Year and last played in the NBA during the 2013-2014 season with the Miami Heat for a single game. Liggins is 6’6 and is currently signed to a 2-year, partially guaranteed deal with the Cavs. Liggins and the Sioux Falls Skyforce have eliminated the Canton Charge the last three years in the D League playoffs and won a championship in the 2016 season. Cav.com recently did a feature on Liggins as a Charge-killer.
You may recall, when Tyronn Lue discussed how the Cavs would handle the back-up point guard position by committee, Liggins was the first name he brought up:
The signs seem to point towards Liggins having the inside track on making the Cavs opening night roster. If he can make an impact on the defensive end of the floor, it’s not hard to envision him getting minutes on the team. Especially when you look at the absence of an established back-up point guard. In addition to his defensive skill-set, Liggins also shot 43.4 percent from behind the arc last season.
Liggins discussed how he viewed his role on the team after shootaround Wednesday morning:
While Liggins has flown under the radar, his profile may require fans to start viewing him as a legitimate candidate to be the back-up to Kyrie Irving. The signs are all beginning to point to the team viewing him as a piece to this year’s puzzle.