DeAndre Liggins wasn’t in the NBA at this time a season ago. Thanks to his skillset and performance, he will now be starting at shooting guard over Kyle Korver for the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Liggins was thrust into a starting role with the hand injury to J.R. Smith, and has been a great fit in the starting lineup. For now he’s making enough threes to keep himself on the court, and playing good to very good defense.
He’s been good enough that at least for now, newly acquired Kyle Korver will not slide into J.R. Smith’s starting role. As transcribed and reported by the Akron Beacon-Journal’s Jason Lloyd, here is coach Ty Lue’s rationale:
Once the Korver deal is complete, coach Tyronn Lue said he will come off the bench and DeAndre Liggins will remain a starter because Lue likes the way Liggins defends opposing point guards.
Lue called Korver one of the three best shooters coming off screens, grouping him with the Warriors’ tandem of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
“Especially a guy who can move without the ball the way he moves coming off screens and things like that, there’s no better guy,” Lue said. “You put him on the floor with Channing, RJ, LeBron and the floor will open (up) wide, so now you got to pick your poison when you try to help off Kyrie and LeBron.”
This isn’t a big deal as long as Korver is okay with it, and Korver already moved to the bench this year in Atlanta for the sake of Kent Bazemore’s confidence. Korver is likely to provide 25 minutes of spacing and wing play for the Cavs, and is a tremendous boost to the team’s depth. When the Cavs are healthy, I’m not sure how you guard them.