One of the more impressive aspects of David Griffin’s tenure with the team has been his ability to find ways to surround the talented core with role players that can make a difference. While the team has been in cap hell since the big three era started, through the use of creative trades and trade exceptions the Cavs have managed to avoid a lot of the roster construction issues that plagued LeBron James’ later years with the Miami Heat.
While Matthew Dellavedova was found while Chris Grant was general manager, Griffin was an important member of the front office at that time as well. Delly was a prime example of the Cavs finding a diamond in the rough that the team managed to transform into a functioning role player. The Cavs are now hoping that D-League standout Jordan McRae and/or second round pick Kay Felder can blossom in a sheltered role and fill in the gap left by Dellavedova.
At this point the Cavs appear to be entering the 2016-2017 season without a proven back-up to Kyrie Irving. As Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported, Tyronn Lue has stated that the position will have to be handled “by committee”:
I thought (DeAndre) Liggins looked really good today. Did a great job. Kay (Felder). I think we can play Jordan (McRae) a little backup point, we've got Shump (Iman Shumpert) who can play a little backup point and having LeBron on the floor with him will help him out. We just have to do it by committee until we figure it out.
The top priority for the Cavaliers is going into the playoffs healthy and well rested. While it would be easy to simply stagger LeBron’s minutes in games that matter to help bolster the bench, it’s not a strategy that should be employed for the full regular season.
The question of whether or not to bring back Dellavedova centered around how many games does his absence honestly cost you? Most of his minutes came alongside LeBron and the second unit. It’s yet to be determined how much of a drop-off McRae, Felder or Shumpert (with Mike Dunleavy occupying a wing spot) will have on the Cavs.
We’ve seen the team not put too much stock in the regular season. If the team loses 2-3 games more than they would if they brought back Dellavedova in the name of keeping the minutes of the big three down, that won’t have much long-term impact. There is of course the possibility that the Cavs managed to replace his production by committee, or that one of the players previously named step up to fill that role. Either way, the back-up point guard situation provides the Cavs with some intrigue heading into the preseason.