It should be no surprise that Derrick Rose will start the season at point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Isaiah Thomas out until January, Rose gives the team its most proven option at the point guard position. In addition, his play to this point in the preseason has been impressive, as he has shown consistent explosiveness and efficiency while surrounded by the Cavs shooters.
On Monday, news came down that Dwyane Wade would be starting at shooting guard for the foreseeable future. Meaning J.R. Smith would come off the bench. Along with that news, Tyronn Lue also named Rose the team’s starting point guard via Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon:
Derrick Rose will start at PG but will leave Q1 early to run second unit— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) October 9, 2017
The unfortunate aspect of this is that Smith is a better player than Wade, and fits the Cavs needs better. However if Wade and Rose do have to start together, this is likely the best case scenario.
With Rose subbing out early, the team likely will have a significant amount of minutes with both Wade and Smith with the other starters. This will allow Rose to become accustomed to running the bench units. Plus with Kevin Love at center, some of the concerns about having two non-shooters in the starting lineup can be negated.
Ego management is an important factor when it comes to teams like the one the Cavs have put together. Rose signed with the intention of being a backup point guard, but with Thomas out and strong play in the preseason, it would likely be a tough pill to swallow to have him come off the bench. Plus with Wade being reportedly told he would start in the recruiting pitch, this situation became inevitable to some degree.
As long as the minutes Wade and Rose play together are limited, it doesn’t really matter who’s names get called at the start of games. The more important thing will be how the rotation is managed from that point on.